November 18, 2006

Stronger that yesterday

The thought of a deployment is scary, especially for a military spouse. When we first learned George was to deploy everyone offered suggestions to this first timer. In the "not-quite" two years we had been married we had lucked out. But here I was facing an uncertainty that everyone, especially those not in the service, knew more about.

The most powerful comment made to me was, "A deployment can make or break you. You will learn how strong you really are."

Its true. I have faced and conquered obstacles that I never imagined I'd be strong enough to endure. I've become more independent, more confident and bolder. I knew that if this was to be my life, I would have to face it head on. If I wanted to make my marriage work, this would be one of the biggest tests. The only thing I have lost in the last 8 months is 20-plus pounds.

I am most surprised by how it has strengthened, not weakened our marriage and I think I can say he sees it too. It would be so easy to walk away. It's easy to love someone who is there all the time. It's REALLY easy to love a man who looks good in a uniform (sorry had to throw that in for the girls). The hard part is continuing to grow as a couple when times are rough and separation is indefinite.

I'm not saying it hasn't been hard. There have been times that if I didn't have to feed the dog I wouldn't get out of bed (and times I fed him and crawled back into bed), but I have never called in sick to work, I have never missed a class (except to pick up a family who was coming to see their sick Soldier), and I have never turned my back on those who needed me because I didn't feel like helping them. That's a big step.

I won't say I haven't cried, but I always wiped away the tears and moved on. I won't say I haven't had moments where I felt sorry for myself, but I've never regretted my decision to marry into this life.

Every day brings us one day closer together and every day I get a little stronger. Each morning I wake up thankful there was no knock on my door with a prayer that there will never be one.

I am resolved to make this work because it is the price I pay to be with the one I love. I am proud of what he does and even more honored that he chose me to walk this journey with him.

In moments of loneliness, I think of all of those who have gone before me. The families who waited for their Soldiers return from the Civil War to the World Wars and Vietnam. I think of the families who may be thousands of miles away but are going through this with me right now, and I know I am not alone, we are a family.

This is a family who understands the true meanings of sacrifice and lose. On the day I said "I do," I didn't say it to just my husband. I said it to all of the military families who have been before me and those who will come after. I pledged them my love and loyalty, through better or worse.

If there is strength in numbers then we could beat Hercules. We are the backbone of the American military ... the spouses, children, parents, even pets of service members. We fight a war each day as we battle to get through another day. We feel the lose of each fallen as if they were our own brother or sister. Every time a child loses a parent we shed a tear for their lose innocence.

They say you can't pick who your family is, but in this case I disagree. I picked this life and this family. It's a choice I wouldn't trade for anything, except peace.

Its not the cause we fight for, but those we love. We love them enough to say goodbye, so that others can have the freedom to be with the ones they love. The only thing bigger than our love for our servicemember is our love for our country. Each hug could be the last, each kiss may need to last a lifetime.

We may not take up arms and we don't travel to foriegn lands. But we are warriors just the same. We are the homefront guardians.

You can sleep sound tonight because somewhere a Soldier stands watch.

3 Tea Party Guest:

Tommy said...

That was sweet and well written babe. Of course the only reason you really got through it was because I keep a drawer full of chocolate at the ready. ROFL! He'll be home soon and that will be the best Christmas present you ever got.

lime said...

wow, what tommy said. really a poignant piece. and just as i have thanked soldiers, may i also thank you because you lcearly make a very important sacrifice for the sake of our nation as well. may he return soon and safely.

big hugs to you

Sis B said...

well said, michelle. it's amazing how our relationships can strengthen, when they're on the opposite side of the world. you've done a great job during this deployment and i've really been encouraged to read how you've done it. he'll be home so soon!