Today is Military Spouse Appreciation day. I’ve been seeing posts all over Facebook about this today, mostly shared by military spouses themselves. We do all appreciate one another, I mean really, there is no one who understands what it’s like better than another military spouse.
The struggles of military spouses are very real. We are often single parents very much of the time, living far from family, often not knowing anyone (though I’ve found that with the dawn of social media that’s not as true anymore), in a place we never thought we wanted to be.
We adapt, we make due. We learn how to get out of our comfort zone. We do things we never dreamed of doing. Nothing really prepares you for this life, except for maybe if you grew up in a military family and watched your parent do it … maybe.
I remember when my son was very little, my husband was often away at schools or field exercises for weeks or months at a time, often with just a few days or weeks in between. So there were things I got to teach my son early on that is usually the Daddy’s job… how to pee standing up, playing with cars (knowing more than just “this one is purple”). As he got older it was going to cub scouts and doing all that kind of stuff… derby cars, how to safely use a pocket knife (I ended up in the ER having cut my finger down to the bone, those things are SHARP!) Eventually even when to start shaving or how to tie a tie for a school dance (thank goodness for friends and Youtube!)
For my daughter… it was explaing why Daddy was never at two birthdays in a row. He has missed every other birthday for most of her life! Maybe home for two in a row twice in her almost 20 years. Daddy not being there for recitals and other performances for both kids. Her never getting to go to the Daddy Daughter teas or dances because her daddy was never home when they happened. Even putting off her confirmation several months and not doing it with her friends when they finished the class so that Daddy would be there with us to stand up with her and lay his hands with ours on her shoulder as she confessed her faith.
And for me… the trips to the emergency room alone when there was a severe allergic reaction, or the weekly visits to the Doctor because of seasonal allergies that we couldn’t get under control and the constant ear infections that went with them or the many tornados we sat out in the bathroom or basement (depending on where we lived) praying it would pass over us again this time.
The fear and worry over whether he’d come home. Hearing the sirens go off where he was while we were on the phone and him having to end the call to put on his mask and take cover. Holding my breath until he was able to call again.
Holding down the homefront, taking care of it all so that he didn’t have to worry about us and could focus on his job so that he would come home safe to us. We were lucky. He came home every time but we have friends who weren’t so lucky who we still grieve over.
Being a military spouse isn’t easy but most of us, we wouldn’t trade it. We love our spouses and would do anything for them. We love our families and the military family. We are lucky to be apart of this great big family – the military family because we can find connection almost anywhere we go. We take care of each other. It’s really true, “the military takes care of it’s own.”
There are probably military spouses you know, you may not even know you know them. See, once a military spouse, always a military spouse. There are Vietnam vet military spouses. Some of them married to them after the war but they still live the life of a military spouse dealing with PTSD and other health issues from their spouse’s service. We are every where! So if you happen to know one, or just see one out in public somewhere, or even on social media, take a moment to show them some appreciation. They deserve it. They are some pretty amazing people.
So, to all my military spouse sisters and brothers out there … Thank you! Thank you for your service to our country. Thank you for your service to our military. Thank you for your service to our soldiers, and especially thank your for your service to the next generation! You are amazing. You are appreciated!