Monday, October 1, 2012
So what I want you to know is that while our military men and women are the deserved public heroes, the family that stays behind are the unsung heroes. I'm not trying to tell you that I am personally a hero. I am not. I just do the best that I can. But as a group, every military spouse left behind, every child missing their parent for 2 weeks, 2 months, 2 years, is heroic just by virtue of getting by without a vital part of their family for so long. My heart breaks a little for everyone going through a deployment. Our country has been at war for eleven years now. That means that next year, a whole generation of children that have been in school from kindergarten through graduation will have only known a country at war. And so twelve years means many, many deployments. And many, many families left behind.
These two weeks are just a fraction of what's to come. Two weeks now, a month a little bit later, and then who knows how long coming at some point.
So for you civilians. I have a few pointers and requests on behalf of the families left behind.
Helpful: Offer to babysit. Then insist when we don't take you up on your offer. Bring a dinner sometime. Call before you go to the store and see if we need something while you're going. Just check in. Text, email, call. Let us know you're there if we really need something. We don't want to need help, and we will try not to take it, but we do need it.
Not helpful: Telling us, "I could never do that." Or, "I don't know how you can do it." And any variation on that theme. I know you think you're being nice. It's not nice. It makes us feel like we've chosen a lesser life that normal people would never chose. Also, do not compare our spouse's deployment to your spouse's business trip. (This doesn't apply to training, of course) Unless your spouse is in mortal danger on his/her business trip, there is no comparison. It is not only about missing them, or the hardships of having them gone. It is also about fearing for their lives. Every. Second. They are deployed.
Ok, I'm off my soapbox. It all comes from a place of love for all the support I am given when Brian is away. I know I'm extra lucky in that, and there are plenty of families that don't get the same support and help.