To The Other Half
It always makes me smile when God puts something on my heart in such a timely fashion as he did yesterday just in time for me to write it before Veterans Day.
June and I met Grammy and Grandpa for some shopping and Spin pizza, and while we were enjoying the delicious that is Spin, we ran into a friend of mine from Warrensburg. (For the record, every time I’m at Spin in Lee’s Summit, I run into someone from The Burg, and I find that as a clear indicator we need one here.)
My friend, Dani, came over to say hello to us– who am I kidding– she came over to see June! Hahaha, no, but we visited a bit and had the pleasure of seeing her adorable sons, and as she and her family were leaving, she said something that really stuck with me.
With such sincerity in her voice and eyes, she said, “It’s just so nice you get to have your family so close.”
That’s all she said, but in that comment, I felt so much more. I felt the hardship of a military wife and mom that has had babies and raised them miles away from home. I felt the appreciation she has for something I take for granted in seeing my family as often as I would like… which is pretty darn often.
As Dani and her beautiful family walked out the door, my parents and I were talking about that very comment she made and how hard that would be to not be close by. My dad said, “Those are the kind of people we should invite to our Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners.”
Which was a great thought, but the more I got to thinking about it later, I started to think that probably Dani and her family go home for the holidays. That seems to be the time of year people do go home or family comes to visit. The more I thought about it, I started to wonder if rather than the big Christmas dinner or Thanksgiving lunch maybe it is the random Saturday afternoon of shopping and Spin with family that my military friends miss the most?
Because holidays are scheduled. They’re the same every year– we plan for them, flights are made, they happen.
A shopping and Spin kind of Saturday aren’t planned months in advance. They’re born from an early morning text from my mom. They happen in an instant, and they’re easily taken for granted, because they’re “nothing special.”
Except, they are.
Junie and I had such a wonderful day of adventures and fun with my mom and dad. We talked, we shopped, we laughed, my dad slept in the car with Juniper, my mom somehow got June to laugh for the first time (AND I MISSED IT lol), we made finds in the form of new earrings and handbags… it was such a sweet day.
And when I was driving home with a very soundly sleeping Junebug in the backseat (she is over her hatred for the car- PRAISE THE LORD!) I just felt so grateful.
Grateful for the kind of parents I love spending the day with.
Grateful for grandparents that won’t just know my June but will help mold her and teach her and shape her into the person she will be.
But then grateful for Dani.
For her and all of the other military wives and moms in this community that go without Saturday afternoons of shopping and Spin with their extended families.
I know that people like Dani and so many others in our community make friendships that feel like family, and I know there are obvious advantages to the time spent building they’re own little families, so I’m not saying their experiences are less than mine– AT ALL.
What I am saying is they have to have moments when they miss being a car ride away from their own moms. A few miles away from dinner around their old kitchen table with a homemade meal with siblings, parents, and grandparents alike. Or a date night to Wicked knowing their own babies are safe and content in Grammy’s arms.
And because Dani and all of my military friends go without these luxuries I take for granted, I want them to know I’m grateful for their service. And I don’t just mean grateful for their men who work so hard, do so much, and protect our country. Oh, I’m thankful for them, too– so very thankful for them– but this post is to the military wife and mom.
She who doesn’t wear a uniform, but lives a life of sacrifice and devotion to her country and family that I can’t quite imagine.
I’m so proud of you, girls. I’m so in awe of you.
I hardly bathe or put June to bed by myself, and I know there are many of you that are raising babies by yourself while your men are away.
I miss my Shippmate if we haven’t had the opportunity to really talk all evening, and I know you go months without much needed time with your best friend.
Past missing your love of a husband, I know there are so many other challenges that I don’t even have a clue about– Ryan always takes care of the trash, the lightbulbs, driving… these daily tasks we share, you do all by yourself. I don’t even know how you do it.
I know there are a million and two things I’m not mentioning that make up the job description of being a military wife and mom, but please know– I’m thankful for those, too.
On a day that will focus mostly on your man and all of the hard work and sacrifice he makes for our country, I just wanted you ladies to know you’re not forgotten.
While my naive self really has no clue the depths of what you’re going through, I know that you, like your husband, are strong. You are brave. You are a hard worker. You are tough. You are sacrificing much. You are under appreciated. You are incredible.
In lieu of a uniform to show your rank and years of service, you wear a smile and a calm that keeps your family together.
From the depths of my heart, I so respect you. I appreciate you, and I thank you.
You, Military Wife and Mom- you are my hero.