An Unexpected Email

This is a little article I wrote recently about one of my most embarrassing moments as a military spouse.  Enjoy.

The blood had drained out of my face. I could hardly catch my breath as I kept staring at my phone thinking “This has GOT to be wrong.  There is no way this can be right!”

My mother was visiting me, my husband was deployed and I had just given birth to my sixth child.  Mom and I were at a coffee shop waiting for the barista to prepare my 4,000 calorie caffeine fix, so I decided to check my phone for email messages.

I refreshed my yahoo account and found an unexpected message in my inbox.  It was from General’s wife whom I knew, but not very well.  It was an “Re:“ message.  Funny.  I didn’t remember emailing her recently.

I opened the email and the body of the message said:

“This was very cute.  Thanks for sharing!  Hope you all are doing well.”

What on earth was she talking about?  What was “cute”?

I scrolled a bit farther down the screen and there it was.  A YouTube link to a cartoon entitled “Jingle Farts.”

My mother tells me this is when I turned completely white and she says my eyes were like saucers.  I clicked on the YouTube link and, to my horror, a video began playing that depicted cartoon elves with green clouds around them with the sound effects of someone “passing gas” to the tune and rhythm of “Jingle Bells”.

My breath caught in my throat.  All I could manage to stammer was “Wha- wha- what??”  I looked at the date of the original email and it dawned on me that a few days prior, my kids, while playing with my phone, somehow had pulled up YouTube and had found this video.  The younger kids had found it hilarious (well let’s be honest…the big kids did too), and kept replaying it over and over.  In the midst of going back and forth between “educational games and apps”, the children had managed to pull up my contact list, inadvertently select the General’s wife’s email and share said video with her.

I was horrified.  What would this woman think of me?  What kind of weirdo sends that kind of email to the wife of a two-star General Officer?  And, oh my word!  What was I going to tell my husband?  Would he hear it from his command before hearing it from me?

I paid the barista for my drink and sucked it down in 30 seconds, flat.  I drove home as quickly as possible, and as soon as we walked in the door, I sent a return email, apologizing and explaining, just praying that Mrs. General would understand how it happened.  ‘Of course she would,’ I reasoned.  ‘She is a mother, even if her kids are grown and gone.’  But still, I couldn’t rid myself of the sick feeling in my stomach.

Within a day, she had emailed me back begging me not to worry and letting me know that she had found it very funny and had, in fact forwarded it on to some of her friends!

I think I felt a sense of relief.  I was definitely surprised.  Before that, I had wanted to crawl under a rock and not come out until we moved away from that duty station.  But this lady’s easy-going manner and understanding attitude made all the difference and made me realize that, while embarrassing, this little incident was truly no big deal.  And now, I don’t see her just as “Mrs. General.”  She is a friend.

Embarrassing moments happen to all of us.  Some are greater than others, and some are more serious than others.  The important thing that I have learned is that we cannot allow these moments to define us or keep us from diving right back in and engaging in life.  Eventually, we can learn to laugh at ourselves and hopefully by sharing these moments with others, we can put each other at ease and allow these moments to bring us closer as military spouses.

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