Trailing Spouse

Working at NIKE can, at times, kick your ass. It’s competitive, stressful, and full of pressure. After all, the statement “There Is No Finish Line” has been our mantra forever. But so has “Just Do It.” So if you’re energized by delivering results when someone says you can’t, thriving on challenges as opportunities and winning, then NIKE is the perfect place to work.

NIKE is not for everyone but it works for me. It works for me because for the 28 years I’ve been an employee I’ve had a very supportive spouse. Greg has been by my side through all of it – together.

I tried to think of a sports term that might best describe the Greg and Rosemary partnership but that only led me down the path of a few infamous examples like the George Hincapie to Lance Armstrong, the Jeff Gilloly to Tanya Harding or most recently, the Patriots Equipment Manager to Tom Brady. That’s not us, although I think Greg would have liked to have gone “Gilloly” a couple of times on a few folks over the years.

The term I really don’t care for is the term used and given to spouses of expat employees traveling overseas. The term “trailing spouse” is terrible. No one likes to think of themselves as “trailing.”

No, for us, I had to look to the military for the right term. Wingman. Greg is my wingman.

A wingman as defined by the military is the role of protecting the lead pilot by watching out for his or her back. Critical to the mission, they are there to add an element of support. The presence of the wingman makes the mission both offensively and defensively more capable by increasing firepower. They provide situational awareness as well as increasing the ability to employ more dynamic tactics. Perfect.

During our time in China, Greg has been the perfect wingman. Accompany me on critical missions, adding support, providing the right level of advice and when needed, a voice of reason. All in an effort to employ more dynamic tactics to succeed.

You might not be aware of this, but I’m not the easiest person to live with. I know, shocking.

I was something when we lived and worked out of Portland, but you add the additional stress of a foreign country, big city living, my germ issues, loss of control, living in a small apartment. the fact that I make everything about me and well, this personality, well, it gets elevated. Greg, my wingman, has been solid through the entire venture. Steady and calm.

Pretending to sleep to avoid my complaining about the flight delay.

Pretending to sleep to avoid my complaining about another flight delay.

As our adventure in China comes to a close, (yes, it’s been 2 years) and we look to transition back to the U.S.of A. this summer, I give a shout out to my wingman and I ask each of you, when you see Greg, shake his hand, give him a pat on the back, maybe a hug depending on who you are, and for sure buy him a drink, because that guy has been the success behind me and this critical mission.

13 thoughts on “Trailing Spouse

  1. Lori says:

    A great tribute to a great guy- you’re truly amazing Greg!

  2. Liz Dolan says:

    I love this. Fake sleeping is a fantastic coping mechanism I may adopt at work. Thank you, Greg. Meanwhile, happy to have both of you home for the 4th of July in C.O.!

  3. kated2 says:

    Amen sister! And, congrats to you both on making it through the big adventure AND on the amazing partnership. (almost) welcome home!

  4. Karen L Brock says:

    That was probably the nicest, most honest and loving tribute I’ve read. You two are a great team because you’re partners. You balance each other and work together for common goals. It’s clear you two work because you are successful, but most importantly you both raised an amazing family in the midst of everything. Welcome home!

  5. sara paul says:

    I will miss your insightful view of the world. What an adventure for you both. Welcome back!

  6. KLawrence says:

    Amazing tribute and so true! Here’s to you Greg, here’s to you Rosemary and here’to amazing spouses everywhere- (I am fortunate to be married to one as well!)

  7. Tom says:

    Life and love require commitment and balance, how eloquently and beautifully you have shared your formula with us. Greg is a lucky man! Can’t wait to have you both back in Portland for the morning runs.

  8. Jan says:

    Congratulations on two years! That was fast and it was so amazing to track Ur adventures on the blog.
    The funny thing is I too was asked by a woman of a certain age here in the south if David was a trailing spouse! I had to (made her) repeat the question three times – not because I didn’t hear or understand but because I wanted her to hear her own voice bounce off the walls. I explained (with a sugar sweet, southern smile) that my amazing husband, retired commander of coast guard and search and rescue pilot, and current aviation leader , might be very taken back by that phrase. That there probably isn’t a partner alive who wants to be called trailing and in fact no one could do any role on well without any support. Hats off to u and to Greg. I would prefer not to use the brady example in this moment, but to rather reference any successful leader who absolutely has a loving husband, wife, partner or family/friend standing right beside them.
    Take care and keep posting!! Xo

    • Rachel says:

      Greg truly is the perfect example of a wingman! You two are such a great team and so happy you will soon be back home!

  9. Scott Henson says:

    Great post, and looking forward to seeing you (both) around here later this summer.

  10. Scott, Dee says:

    How fitting…..
    You are so awesome (and so is your Hubby), but I can’t believe it’s been 2 years already! It will be good to see your smiling face back on campus! I’ll look forward to that day. Dee

  11. Margo says:

    What a moving tribute. It takes a wingman and pilot to complete a successful mission. I am in tears. You two are a perfect couple. Cheers

  12. Habib, Reham says:

    This is such a great post. Hope all is well with you and best of luck to you in whatever is up next for you! It was nice to work with you directly while in China. Take care, Reham

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