"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown

"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.

Thursday, April 24, 2014

To the Senior Spouse ... I See You.

I see you.

I see that you are trying. I see the burden you carry, the responsibility you didn't ask for. I see it.

I see that you go to sleep most nights running through what you said wrong, what you did wrong, what intention didn't come across the right way. You are right more than you are wrong, your intention is always good. You may think people don't see that but I do.

I see that when everyone else seems to blame you for the long nights away, for the long trainings, and rigorous schedules, your husband has probably been gone longer. Has worked in his office until zero-dark-thirty, has gone TDY for two weeks so that he can properly train his troops for the month-long rotation to follow.

I see that this time must be the loneliest time of his career for you. I see that people judge you before they meet you, that they place expectations on you that aren't fair, and that you are held to a standard different from the women beside you.

I see you.

I see that you cringe any time your child acts out or fidgets or speaks too loudly at an event because for whatever reason so many of us think you should have more control over your children. I know that you try your hardest to fulfill that undue expectation but I know they are children. No different from mine. They will fidget and talk and run away when you need them beside you. They are children and you are doing your best.

I know you teach them to honor the flag as best as possible, teach them service and sacrifice and the importance of what these mommies and daddies do. They are military children. You give the same hugs when they can't understand why daddy keeps leaving. You kiss the same bo-bos and make the same "cereal for dinner" nights when the day has been too hard.

I see that you are just like me. That you miss the love of your life. That you feel the weight and the sadness and the heartache. That on top of all of that, you feel the pressure from the hundreds of families who know your name. I know you don't want to let us down. I know you don't exactly know how to do that. 

That's okay. I don't know either.

I know that every night he is in his position, you will not get a full-nights sleep. You'll wake up at midnight when he finally makes it home to sleep for a few hours before heading back into the office. Or on those few nights when he actually makes it home before the sun sets, his phone will ring from the commanders and first sergeants  below him giving the report on the latest issue.

I know you will eat more dinners alone than you ever thought possible while he is "home".
I know you can't show your difficulty. I know you don't get to feel weak. That your struggle through whatever separation or deployment is something you feel you must manage on your own. That you don't get to be broken. That you don't get to check-out, because you have families depending on you. Everyone is watching.

I know you feel that.

Some of them want to see you fail. No matter what you do. No matter how kind you are, how devoted you are, how present you are - they want to see you fail them. Let them go.

I know you don't know as much as we believe you do. I know you know somethings you will say you don't. That's just part of the role you were placed in. You can't change what people think of that.

I see how hard you are trying. I see how much you care.

I see you.

I know that when you see his boots on American soil for the first time in a long time that moment is you and him. For just a moment, it is just a soldier and his wife, just a father with his children. And then the phone starts ringing again, and the hours get long again and you eat dinner alone ... again.

I know you are tired. I know you don't get the credit you are due.

I want you to know that I see you. That I appreciate you. That I know you love your soldier. I know you want to do everything in your power to support your soldier and to support these families. There is no difference between you and I but the pressure that is placed upon you, what is expected of you.

I see your intention. I see you are trying.

This time won't last forever. Do your best; give your best. 
I'm rooting for you.
Because I see you.