Embracing Gratitude: A Military Spouse's Reflection on Veterans Day
This Veteran's Day, on behalf of Roberts & Associates and Log Homes Insurance, we want to express our deepest gratitude to all who have served and sacrificed. We also want to take a moment to thank our service members' families. We can't forget the unwavering support, strength, and sacrifices made by the families who stand behind our heroes. Your resilience and commitment are the pillars that uphold the foundation of our armed forces, and we honor and appreciate each and every one of you.
My name is Jess, I've been a military spouse for close to 15 years now. When I reflect on what Veterans Day means to me, it changes with every season. Right now, my husband and I, along with our four children, are living in, enduring, taking it day by day, and making memories that I will one day look back on when thinking about Veterans Day.
So, this Veterans Day looks a lot like this: An overwhelming feeling of gratitude and being unequivocally proud of my husband and his selfless task to sacrifice his time away from our family to serve this country. Currently, months deep in the thick of a deployment, thousands of miles and time zones away from my husband and hundreds of miles away from family, alone in a state that I've only lived in for less than a year.
Veterans Day this year is getting the news that I'm not going to get to spend Thanksgiving with my husband and uncertainty about whether there will be more holidays missed together. It's seeing the yellow ribbons we adorned around oak trees starting to fray, tear, lose their color and grip but somehow hanging on. It's my children weeping for their father, missing his presence in the new memories we are making without him, wiping tears as I tuck them into bed and prayers spoken for his return. It's how some days fly by, and then some nights drag on for what seems like forever, lonely and full of heartbreak and tears. It's the hard task of taking on both parenting roles and days of feeling like I'm not doing any of this right, and I don't know how much longer I can do this alone.
It's hearing the crack in my husband's voice when he realizes how much time he's lost, the weight in his words as he fights back heavy emotions, knowing he's missed yet another birthday, and when he returns, our children will look older. It's finding the words of encouragement to share with my husband, who is holding onto faith with an exhausted heart. Managing household responsibilities alone while trying to maintain my identity without any time for myself is a constant struggle. Right now, this household depends on me to keep it running while my husband is sacrificing everything. It's waiting on pins and needles for a phone call that is often too short or never comes at all. It's the unfailing encouragement from my husband that keeps me afloat as I navigate through this season without him by my side. It's witnessing families together and longing to have that back in my life. It's late nights filled with worry, wondering if he's okay.
This Veterans Day, I reflect on the strength of my husband to power through the grief of missing home and accomplish his mission, his job, his commitment to selflessly serve in the United States Navy. I feel the void of his absence so deeply it physically hurts, yet amid these hardships, I am astounded by the outpouring of gratitude from people around me—the support, the empathy, the love. While my heart breaks missing my husband, I know there is an army of people standing behind me and my family with hands to hold, arms open to hug, phone lines clear for talks of encouragement and listening, friends offering to take on big and small tasks, family members flying in from out of state to help make the holidays special, or the manager of a small town grocery store offers to cover all of your Holiday grocery list out of genuine kindness because they understand the magnitude of sacrifice.
It's knowing that this military lifestyle I am a part of is a community going through exactly what I am and more. Understanding that I am a part of a community so much bigger and purposeful is something I will never tire of being proud of. So this Veterans Day, I am thankful. Thankful for my husband. I could never thank him enough for what he does, not only for our family but for other families as well. He may be one person among so many service members, but together they are one, and I am forever grateful for all that they do.
I am thankful for my children. They too are experiencing first hand this military life and just how hard it can be at times. At such a young age, they are constantly moving, changing schools, meeting friends and saying goodbye to them, and adapting to each change and every deployment—they are resilient. Military children go through such heavy emotions that even most adults haven't had to experience. I am thankful for the military community. Through the years I have met many military spouse friends—some have moved on, and some I will keep in contact with for what I hope is forever. Those relationships I cherish. To have somebody who knows exactly what I'm going through and can just say, 'Yeah, I get it,' is something I am forever thankful for.
Lastly, on this Veterans Day, I am thankful for the community outside of the military. A simple acknowledgment goes a long way, a 'thank you' means more than you think, and a genuine act of kindness can truly light up a day. In recognizing the shared sacrifices and resilience, we bridge the gap between military and civilian life, creating a stronger bond that echoes the spirit of unity and gratitude that defines this day.