Dear military spouse,
I see you.
I see you counting down the days until he’s gone for basic training. I see you proudly by his side after he graduates. Sometimes I see you head to the courthouse for a quick wedding so you can stay by his side. I see you uproot your life and leave your family and friends to follow him to base after base, town after town, state after state, and sometimes, country after country. I see you making each new place a home as you join local military family groups, find activities for your kids, and get your new network of support set up.
I see you making as many memories as possible as you count down the days to his deployment. You take trips and go on dates and make sure he has everything he needs. You print pictures for him to have with him, leave love notes in his pockets and bags. You try as hard as you can to help your kids understand why Daddy has to leave and you hold them when they don’t get it. You give them all time together when you just want all of that time yourself. You buy “Daddy dolls” for the kids, get maps so you can track where he is, and make paper chains to count down the days until he’s home. Your Pinterest is full of deployment survival guides, military wife devotionals, care package ideas, and welcome home sign ideas.
I see you clutching onto his neck as you tell him goodbye not knowing if you’ll ever hug that neck again. I see you hold it together so he doesn’t have to see you cry. Then I see you hit your knees and sob as soon as he’s gone.
I see you trying to start your version of “new normal”. I see you set up play dates for the kids, trips to see family, and projects upon projects to keep you all occupied. I see you posting every article out there in support of our troops and veterans. I see you lifting boxes into the post office with overseas addresses. I see you posting his address and asking for encouraging letters and needed materials for him and his fellow soldiers. I see you frustrated because you’ve had yet another issue with military paperwork or healthcare. I see you being both Mom and Dad while trying to not let Dad’s role disappear while he’s gone.
You crash into your bed that feels too big and too cold, so some nights you end up gathering your kiddos in with you. You don’t sleep much, thinking about where he is and worrying you might miss a FaceTime or Skype call. You sit with the daily knowledge that the person you love most in the world is probably in danger or at least close to it.
I see you announcing the baby that will arrive before he gets home. I see you attending showers, decorating a nursery, and making birth plans without him here. You lean on your support system and do it without someone to share it with. You go into labor and try to get him on Skype to see his child come into the world. You do the newborn stage and so many others as a single parent.
I see you and your kids decked out in red, white, and blue. I see you waiting anxiously as you wait for his plane to land. I see your perfectly lettered welcome home sign. Your kids are bouncing up and down and the baby has a onesie saying “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you!” I see you keep yourself from sprinting to him as he gets off the plane. I see you hold your restraint until he’s dismissed to leave. And then, I see you finally get your hug. You jump on him and wrap him up with your arms and legs. Your kids tackle him and the baby finally gets to meet Daddy. You are a family again and you get to start a “new normal” over again.
You stand behind your man as he fights for our freedom. You see the politics and social media opinions that hate what he does and what he represents all while knowing he could die doing it. He isn’t the only one sacrificing. You sacrifice. Your children sacrifice. Your families all sacrifice.
You are strong. You are brave. You are a military wife.
And you are seen.