So God Made a Mother Collection ➔

On November 11, our nation’s veterans will be offered deals, discounts, and free meals at local restaurants. There will be memorial ceremonies, celebratory dinners and an extra day off for some. It’s the one day of the year that Americans take a minute to stop and say “thanks” to those who have served our country.

But what most Americans don’t think about is how life is for our nation’s vets and their families the other 363 days out of the year (because let’s not forget that most people think Memorial Day is a day to thank veterans who are still alive as well . . . but that’s a story for another day).

I am not one of these people. My finger is on the pulse of America’s veteran community. I am the wife of an Army veteran (who is now a Veteran’s Service Officer), the granddaughter of two WWII vets, a niece to a Vietnam vet, and a friend to many others who have served.

So for me, Veterans Day is perhaps something entirely different than it is for those who have no ties to the veteran community. I’m not saying someone without a veteran in his or her life don’t deserve to celebrate or honor the holiday; however, I carry a different perspective on the holiday than most.

To me, Veterans Day is something we should be celebrating not just one day per year, but every day of the year.

We should be helping our homeless vets find housing all of the time. We should be offering them job training and hot meals every day of the week. We should be reaching out to the vets in our communities to offer them rides to doctor’s appointments or to pick up their medicine for them at the pharmacy.

We should all be helping our veterans with the mental health issues that they battle, not just on Veterans Day, but every single day of their lives. We should always be cognizant of the alarming suicide rates among veterans and putting programs and resources together to help prevent the loss of 22 of our veterans per day. More than one day per year we should be extending a helping hand to our veterans who are contemplating becoming a part of this growing statistic.

We should be looking out for the families of our veterans, too. We should look out for the young widow with two children under the age of five who just lost her husband and now has no income, no home, and no partner. We should be extending a helping hand to the elderly woman down the street who lost her son in Vietnam and has no grandchildren to come cut her lawn in the summers. We should be taking our daughter’s young friend with us dress shopping for the school dance, because as much as she’d like her mom to take her, she is currently serving overseas and won’t be able to do so.

I know all of these things because I’ve lived through many of them myself. I’ve seen friends lose their husbands to war and suicide and have nobody there to help them pick up the pieces. I’ve seen members of my family who are veterans struggle to find work for years after returning home. I’ve seen families break apart because the stress of deployment and the aftermath that follows that destroys the relationship of the parents beyond repair. I’ve seen how much PTSD and TBI can change a person into someone you don’t recognize.

For those of you who have no idea what it is like to either be a veteran, be married to one, or be the best friend of one, please understand that your free meal, your oil change discount, or your 50% off coupon are appreciated, but there is so much more that you could be doing for our veterans during other times of the year.

Most will stop to say “thank you” on November 11, but the very next day, go on with their lives.

I will attend the local Veterans Day ceremony at our veteran’s park in town. Then I will probably go out to eat with my husband at one of the many places he can get a free meal that day. But then, we’ll come home to our two young boys and we will continue our daily lives. He won’t stop being a veteran at midnight the day after Veterans Day.

The mother of a soldier I knew won’t be having her son come through her door magically at midnight.

That couple I know from up the street won’t fall back in love and get remarried and raise their son together when the clock strikes 12:00.

And my husband will never see the pieces of his soul he had to leave in Iraq and Afghanistan in order to make it back alive. They are gone. They will never return.

Not even on Veterans Day.

Britt LeBoeuf

Britt is a married mother of two from northern New York. She has an undergraduate degree in Human Services. When she's not chasing down her two young children, she writes for sites such as Her View From Home, Scary Mommy, Filter Free Parents and Sammiches and Psych Meds. Check out her first published book, "Promises of Pineford" on Amazon too. On her blog, These Boys of Mine, she talks about parenting only boys, special needs parenting, mental health advocacy, being a miscarriage survivor and life as a crazy cat lady. 

I Thought Our Friendship Would Be Unbreakable

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Two friends selfie

The message notification pinged on my phone. A woman, once one of my best friends, was reaching out to me via Facebook. Her message simply read, “Wanted to catch up and see how life was treating you!”  I had very conflicting feelings. It seemed with that one single message, a flood of memories surfaced. Some held some great moments and laughter. Other memories held disappointment and hurt of a friendship that simply had run its course. Out of morbid curiosity, I clicked on her profile page to see how the years had been treating her. She was divorced and still...

Keep Reading

The First 10 Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking

In: Journal, Marriage, Relationships
The First Ten Years: How Two Broken People Kept Their Marriage from Breaking www.herviewfromhome.com

We met online in October of 2005, by way of a spam email ad I was THIS CLOSE to marking as trash. Meet Single Christians! My cheese alert siren sounded loudly, but for some reason, I unchecked the delete box and clicked through to the site. We met face-to-face that Thanksgiving. As I awaited your arrival in my mother’s kitchen, my dad whispered to my little brother, “Hide your valuables. Stacy has some guy she met online coming for Thanksgiving dinner.” We embraced for the first time in my parents’ driveway. I was wearing my black cashmere sweater with the...

Keep Reading

To The Mother Who Is Overwhelmed

In: Inspiration, Motherhood
Tired woman with coffee sitting at table

I have this one head. It is a normal sized head. It didn’t get bigger because I had children. Just like I didn’t grow an extra arm with the birth of each child. I mean, while that would be nice, it’s just not the case. We keep our one self. And the children we add on each add on to our weight in this life. And the head didn’t grow more heads because we become a wife to someone. Or a boss to someone. We carry the weight of motherhood. The decisions we must make each day—fight the shorts battle...

Keep Reading

You’re a Little Less Baby Today Than Yesterday

In: Journal, Motherhood
Toddler sleeping in mother's arms

Tiny sparkles are nestled in the wispy hair falling across her brow, shaken free of the princess costume she pulled over her head this morning. She’s swathed in pink: a satiny pink dress-up bodice, a fluffy, pink, slightly-less-glittery-than-it-was-two-hours-ago tulle skirt, a worn, soft pink baby blanket. She’s slowed long enough to crawl into my lap, blinking heavy eyelids. She’s a little less baby today than she was only yesterday.  Soon, she’ll be too big, too busy for my arms.  But today, I’m rocking a princess. The early years will be filled with exploration and adventure. She’ll climb atop counters and...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Loved You First

In: Marriage, Motherhood, Relationships
Man and woman kissing in love

Dear husband, I loved you first. But often, you get the last of me. I remember you picking me up for our first date. I spent a whole hour getting ready for you. Making sure every hair was in place and my make-up was perfect. When you see me now at the end of the day, the make-up that is left on my face is smeared. My hair is more than likely in a ponytail or some rat’s nest on the top of my head. And my outfit, 100% has someone’s bodily fluids smeared somewhere. But there were days when...

Keep Reading

Stop Being a Butthole Wife

In: Grief, Journal, Marriage, Relationships
Man and woman sit on the end of a dock with arms around each other

Stop being a butthole wife. No, I’m serious. End it.  Let’s start with the laundry angst. I get it, the guy can’t find the hamper. It’s maddening. It’s insanity. Why, why, must he leave piles of clothes scattered, the same way that the toddler does, right? I mean, grow up and help out around here, man. There is no laundry fairy. What if that pile of laundry is a gift in disguise from a God you can’t (yet) see? Don’t roll your eyes, hear me out on this one. I was a butthole wife. Until my husband died. The day...

Keep Reading

I Can’t Be Everyone’s Chick-fil-A Sauce

In: Friendship, Journal, Living, Relationships
woman smiling in the sun

A couple of friends and I went and grabbed lunch at Chick-fil-A a couple of weeks ago. It was delightful. We spent roughly $20 apiece, and our kids ran in and out of the play area barefoot and stinky and begged us for ice cream, to which we responded, “Not until you finish your nuggets,” to which they responded with a whine, and then ran off again like a bolt of crazy energy. One friend had to climb into the play tubes a few times to save her 22-month-old, but it was still worth every penny. Every. Single. One. Even...

Keep Reading

Love Notes From My Mother in Heaven

In: Faith, Grief, Journal, Living
Woman smelling bunch of flowers

Twelve years have passed since my mother exclaimed, “I’ve died and gone to Heaven!” as she leaned back in her big donut-shaped tube and splashed her toes, enjoying the serenity of the river.  Twelve years since I stood on the shore of that same river, 45 minutes later, watching to see if the hopeful EMT would be able to revive my mother as she floated toward his outstretched hands. Twelve years ago, I stood alone in my bedroom, weak and trembling, as I opened my mother’s Bible and all the little keepsakes she’d stowed inside tumbled to the floor.  It...

Keep Reading

Sometimes Friendships End, No Matter How Hard You Try

In: Friendship, Journal, Relationships
Sad woman alone without a friend

I tried. We say these words for two reasons. One: for our own justification that we made an effort to complete a task; and two: to admit that we fell short of that task. I wrote those words in an e-mail tonight to a friend I had for nearly 25 years after not speaking to her for eight months. It was the third e-mail I’ve sent over the past few weeks to try to reconcile with a woman who was more of a sister to me at some points than my own biological sister was. It’s sad when we drift...

Keep Reading

Goodbye to the House That Built Me

In: Grown Children, Journal, Living, Relationships
Ranch style home as seen from the curb

In the winter of 1985, while I was halfway done growing in my mom’s belly, my parents moved into a little brown 3 bedroom/1.5 bath that was halfway between the school and the prison in which my dad worked as a corrections officer. I would be the first baby they brought home to their new house, joining my older sister. I’d take my first steps across the brown shag carpet that the previous owner had installed. The back bedroom was mine, and mom plastered Smurf-themed wallpaper on the accent wall to try to get me to sleep in there every...

Keep Reading