Life only gives us so much time. What each person chooses to do with it is theirs, but once spent, time can never be retrieved.
November is Military Family Appreciation Month, and the men and women serving in our Armed Forces have chosen to use some of their time to protect and serve our country.
That means their families, like mine, have to find a way to accept and hopefully honor their loved one’s choice.
Does that mean I was peachy-fine when we had to move across the country during the holidays?
No, I stomped around the house for two weeks, furiously popping bubble wrap. When my favorite mug arrived at our new home with a fresh chip in the paint, I ate myself to sleep with ice-cream and snacks.
The desire to fight for one’s country is never an intentional escape from familial responsibilities, yet often family members are left to deal with loss, loneliness and separation.
I praise all prior, current and future military members for believing so truly in the good of their country that they sacrifice their presence during births, funerals, holidays and more so that they can protect their country.
I praise their spouses who stay home and juggle errands, school pick-ups, doctors’ appointments and more, all while communicating with the love-of-their-life on a spotty wifi connection for 10 minutes every couple of days.
I praise the children who leave play dates behind and do not understand why they won’t see their friend every day. And I praise the adolescents who feel the loss of their parent’s presence and have to step into leadership roles to assist their family the best they can.
Families play a big part in defending our nation. Their influence runs deep. Half a world away, they have the potential to influence morale from unit to branch level. It’s why military family appreciation exists.
A fellow military spouse and a close friend of mine is handling her husband’s first deployment, and we recently talked about how her spouse was feeling.
Instead of providing me with his reaction to his deployment, she stated, “He sees it as a job. His first concern is my well-being. He wants to know if I am being taken care of, prayed for and managing on my own.”
The sacrifices service members make extend so deep, soldiers can be in a combat zone and still worry about their spouse’s happiness, their child’s sports tournament or their parents’ health.
I am proud to say that I am now a spouse of someone in the military. I have found a home with my partner and fortunately a home within his career choice. Not many people can say that their spouse’s job comes with an entire community that challenges them, inspires them and betters them.
I have held the legal distinction of spouse for only three months, but already I feel that the people around me are some of the best I will ever meet. These families burst with encouragement, they bleed with resilience and they sprinkle positivity on every aspect of an unpredictable life.
I have grown as a person, a spouse and member of the military community thanks to the role models who surround me.
As a new military spouse, I look to my fellow military family members with gratitude for teaching me how to handle uncertainty with grace and pride.
Katie Madison of Spanaway is one of six reader columnists writing for this page in 2017. Reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit her blog kmadsblog.wordpress.com