How do I say thank you to someone who doesn’t realize just how incredible they are for what they do on a daily basis? Today is military spouse appreciation day. I’ve lived nearly 9 years surrounded by some of the strongest people I know…but for them, I know there really was no second thought given to the sacrifice and the chaos they took onto their shoulders. Because they fell in love with a person who happens to put on a uniform everyday and they would cross fire to stand at their side.
They juggle the calendars, make lunches, coordinate carpools, gather supplies for that project due tomorrow.
They wash uniforms, trip over boots, and make note of that departure date that’s changed…again.
They keep track of the bills, plan all the meals, and mow the lawn.
They read off that gear checklist, stay awake trying to soak in every last minute, drive to the buses, will their hugs to keep them here, and hold onto little ones who just want to go to.
They wipe away tears, both theirs and the children’s, smile and cheer loud enough to hopefully fill the empty spot on the bleachers, cross off another day on the countdown, answer another video call, and make another monthly ice cream trip.
They decorate the signs, scrub the house, schedule the photographer and find the perfect outfits, sigh and change the date for the third time.
They drive onto base and stand with the crowds, wait for that bus or that aircraft to arrive, scan the sea of uniforms and scream before wrapping their arms tightly enough to make up for months of empty arms.
They drive home. They adjust. They settle in. And then it’s time to start over again.
I know it breaks them into a million and rebuilds them every time. I know that most days many of them don’t feel as strong as everyone tells them they are. I know that they chose the person serving, and the lifestyle was something that just came with the package. I know they’d give anything to avoid this painful cycle, but I also know that they would do it all a million times over for the ones they love.
If you know a military spouse, reach out. Encourage them. Send them some chocolate, wine, or a gift card to a local restaurant to cover dinner. Take the kids for an hour. Help with housework or lawn care. And though they will probably brush it off, get flustered, or tell you that they don’t do anything to deserve it…tell them thank you.