It was our second year as members of our local community pool and summer swim team, when one afternoon, my husband popped in on the way home from the base. In his Navy whites. Just a quick drop by, kiss on the cheek, wave to the kids, see you at home type deal. As he walked out, three heads simultaneously swiveled to stare in confusion at me:
“YOU’RE a military wife?”
“He’s in…the NAVY?!”
“Uh….the last 10 years.”
“How did we miss that?”
That’s actually a good question. The answer probably involves a little bit of me not really wearing military life on my sleeve and (I suspect) a bit more of the stereotypes and myths surrounding “the military spouse”. But mainly, I think it was because our chats were those common to a group of acquaintances. We talked about things like swimming, schools, topics in the news, or events around town.
You know, normal everyday stuff.
I am going to say something that might surprise you: the “military spouse” is, really, just like you. They have their talents and gifts, and their quirks and not-so-awesome moments. They don’t have super powers and wear capes (though it would be totally cool if they did). They carry the day and drop the ball. They can light fires under folks, or put them out. Or put out the fires they started (“I thought the burner was off, honest.”). They have kids that get straight As and ones that just can’t seem to turn in their homework. Their lawns need mowing. Their cars need oil changes. Their cat needs to go to the vet. Their friends know not to call them between 9 and 10PM, Sunday night. Because, Game of Thrones, people!
So, after all that, you may ask, why Military Spouse Appreciation Day?
Because they live a life of the seemingly ordinary, under conditions that are anything but. Because people they love deeply, their partners in this crazy world, are gone for months, sometimes years. Because they know their loved one may never come home, or be irrevocably altered by the horrors of war when they do. Because others can’t, or won’t, make that sacrifice. Because even though they often go unnoticed, what they do serves all of us in a way that we may never be able to repay.
And that makes them extraordinary.
Military Spouse Appreciation Day is May 10th 2013.