My Dyer-E

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.

11.10.13

11 Responses to To The Other Half

  1. Ashley Bartee

    Aw thank you!! This post made me cry:) It is true I long to be with my momma and daddy like you do and I love the time we get to spend with you and your wonderful family:) Do not take it for grated because you are blessed more than you know:) I really appreciate this girl.. Sometimes it is easy to forget what we give up and the day is for those in uniform.. You don’t see the mom and wife who”s husband has died or deployed.. They deserve this day too. They should be considered veterans to.

  2. Dani Combs

    Oh Erica! I got teary reading this. THANK YOU it truly means so much when people recognize what military families go thru and take the time to appreciate it. Yep it IS hard. Yep we live quite far from our families. Yep we have to play Mommy AND Daddy quite a bit. And a lot of people forget that. So when someone takes the time to remember us who are “behind the scenes”…it just warms the heart! I’ll tell ya a secret though…people tell us wives all the time “I don’t know HOW you do it.” Guess what? WE don’t either! We just do it Because we have to. But really most of us are okay with that..because we know that’s what we’ve been called to do. That’s how we serve our country…by supporting our husbands while they do their important job. You are sweet beyond words, my sister in Christ :)

  3. Megan Moore

    Thank you so much for these words, Erica Shippy! I know that because we are “just” a National Guard family and can live close to family it is often looked at as a privilege but the fact is that it doesn’t make single parenting any less difficult. And while I know I don’t always have it together or know how I’m doing it I do know that God will get me through to the other side. I’m not sure how a non believing military spouse could do this life to be completely honest. Acknowledgement of the sacrifices made on a daily basis are so much appreciated.

  4. Ashley Bartee

    I agree with Dani:) We just do it:) and Megan I agree without God I don’t know how others do it… And I have it easy.. I have been so blessed that Garrett has not deployed yet… I feel for those brave woman and I rejoice when the hubby’ make it back:) I will saw though that being away from family has made my marriage stronger to lean on each other through everything.. And we needed that:) I have also made more close friends than I ever have in my life and I am grateful… God is good:)

  5. Ramona

    A great post and tribute to the “behind the scenes” wives and families of our military. Thanks for sharing these insights, Erica. It was so great to see you last night with little June Bug. She’s a doll baby. And, you are a wise young woman to savor time with your family. :)

  6. Jennifer Dugan

    Thanks Erica. That means so so so much. We honestly have it so much easier than most military families, I don’t know how THEY do it! I just got a paid semi-vacation the past 10 months that included a pay raise! I’ve got nothing to complain about for sure. These other women certainly deserve a big supportive squeeze bc they are frequently carrying the world on their shoulders.

  7. Erin Montgomery

    Wow. That’s all I can think to say. Such an honor to be remembered in such an amazing way. Thank you, Erica

  8. Doni Windsor

    Thank you, Erica. I was so lucky that Suzie let us stay with her the first time and the second time I was here in Odessa. I can’t tell you how much we appreciated all the love and support from our family and friends. Lots of churches in Odessa sent Scott care packages and wrote letters. We won’t ever forget those kind gestures.

  9. Leigh Anne Lockwoods Simmons

    Thank you Erica!! That is so so sweet of you thank you for thinking of me! That made my day for sure

  10. Corie Schoeneberg

    This really touches my heart. I appreciated your reflection on this so very much, and not many people take the time to really let this military way of life truly reach them. Thank you for your encouragement- it means so much.

  11. Trish Jacob Jennings

    As an 8 year veteran, with a military “husband”, I couldn’t have said it better! What a heartfelt post Erica. Thank you.

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