For the majority of people, “the small things in life” are merely a catch phrase or something they read in a Hallmark card. For a military spouse, however, “the little things in life” are instances we reflect upon constantly. We savor what others would call “ordinary” and anytime we fall into a routine, we treasure it, because it can always change unexpectedly.
As a military family, we attach a special meaning to dinner time, Holiday time, family time, Saturday BBQs and movie dates, simply because we never know when our husband will leave again and miss out on these “ordinary things.
Sure, sometimes technology makes their time away from home a little easier. Military spouses are the Queens of FaceTime and Skype, and no one is better than us at making sure the kids think of Dad during times of absence. There is the additional clock in the kitchen displaying Daddy’s time zone, and jars of chocolate kisses as end-of-day prizes that represent “one less day until Daddy comes home.” We say goodnight to pictures and are the #1 purchasers of teddy bears that can re-play I love you messages with Daddy’s voice.
Being a military wife means celebrating birthdays late, showing up to weddings and special events unaccompanied, and having to explain to our kids why Santa can’t bring Daddy home early. It means heartache every time you have to say goodbye, and absolute joy when you welcome him back home.
Being a military wife means tackling the daily activities alone when they are away; paying bills, fitting sports uniforms, attending parent-teacher conferences, and yes, the occasional and unfortunate ER visit. For many, it means delivering a baby on their own, and for others, attending a loved one’s funeral without a shoulder to cry on.
For us, however, the word “family” extends beyond your relatives, because we are part of a community that will drop everything when one of their own needs help. Meal trains, support groups, key spouse training, spouse clubs and youth groups are more than just social circles, they truly become family gatherings.
So in a nutshell, being a military wife means adding an extra pinch of grateful when we do get to enjoy those so-called “little things in life;” knowing that at any moment’s notice we might find ourselves waiting again and wiping off “I miss Daddy” tears. But despite all of the sacrifices, we understand our service members have a mission; so we love them, we wait patiently, and we make sure they know that no matter what, we have their backs.