Military mama: Pageantry can also apply to military wives

I had the opportunity to judge a beauty pageant last week. It was a fun way to spend the day. As the contest progressed I found my cheeks hurting from so much grinning. In a short amount of time it was possible to learn about each girl’s personality, without them ever having to say a word.

I began drawing parallels from pageant girls to military wives, and I realized we’re not so different.

There are the young ones that are awestruck by the lights and music and they find themselves overwhelmed without much direction.

There are those that no doubt feel forced into the situation. They begrudgingly traipse from mark to mark on the stage with a scowl.

The middle ground contestants are the ones that enjoy most of the experience but are a little hesitant to be out on stage on their own, constantly looking to parents and friends for support and guidance along their paths.

Then there are those that have learned all of the tips and tricks to perform on demand to the point of being robotic, but of course they look good while they work their way through choreography.

And finally there are the ones that could not be happier to be on stage. The genuine sincerity of their smiles and giggles make everyone around them thrilled to be in their presence. Through slipups, trips or missed cues, the grins keep us rooting for them.

I know that our days are not often filled with glitz, glam and tiaras. However, I have realized that pretty much every military spouse I know falls into one of the aforementioned categories. We represent a niche that is set aside from the general public, often with pats of support or words of encouragement because it is well known that our role is not an easy one.

I learned a lot from those girls, even though I am fairly reserved by nature. It takes a while for me to warm up to new situations. It doesn’t take much to swing from a middle-of-the-road gal to becoming one of the cheerleaders, helping the new wives adjust to a new experience. I don’t know everything but I can most certainly share what I have learned. Now, I’m not saying we all need to don formal wear and crowns, but we can emulate their spirit, offering support to those that just need a little encouragement. I’m going to put forth a conscious effort to don the miss congeniality crown whenever I see someone hanging on the sidelines, because honestly we’re all winners here, some just don’t know it yet.