Growing up, we were told of different family members that served our country.  When you are young, you don’t really understand the importance of it.  You hear it, you acknowledge it, you move on.

But, as I’ve grown older, I realized that what I once believed about military service was nowhere near the truth.  Then, I began dating Shane.  Only then was I able to begin to understand the sacrifice, the pain, and the commitment.

My maternal grandfather as well as my paternal great-grandfather served our country.  I don’t know many details because honestly, I never met my great-grandfather and my grandpa never talked about his time of war.

One of the very few military pictures we have of my grandpa.
One of the very few military pictures we have of my grandpa.

But none-the-less, they sacrificed a part of their lives to serve their country to protect those who took freedom for granted.  We still do.

I can’t help but look around and see ungrateful people everywhere, myself included.  We just take for granted that we can wake up in the morning, put on whatever clothes we feel like and drink our coffee and read the Bible, or that we can watch whatever TV show we please after a long day at work.  We forget that we are able to do these things because someone has fought for our freedom to do so.

Being a military wife has opened my eyes to so much of this, and I’m just as guilty.  I don’t thank Shane, Keith, Phil, or anyone else who is serving/has served nearly enough.  I take for granted that I can thank them “the next time I see them… in uniform…. after a drill… (insert another time here)…”  and the excuses goes on and on.  (So Shane, Keith, Phil, Chris, Joe, and anyone else who is serving or has served, THANK YOU!)

Being in the position that I am has taught me a lot.

1.  Patience:
I thought I was a pretty patient person… that is until I started waiting for phone calls, text message, or Skype calls.  When your soldier is away, all you want is for them to be back home.  Be back in an area where you are able to hug them and see them and have a conversation without saying “I didn’t hear you.”  “What was that?”  “Babe, you still there?”  “**static** **beep beep beep** “Call Dropped.”  It’s not easy always knowing what they are doing (or not doing) or when they will be back in an area where they are out of harms way 100%.  I hate the unknown and my patience does get tried.

2.  Be thankful for your food…even school food:
Our kids are always complaining about the food that they get in school.  “It wasn’t enough.”  “It looked….gross…”  But, I bet you ask anyone who has just eaten MRE’s or some slop thrown on a plate for two weeks, they would prefer school lunches over that.  Their food can be delivered cold, it can be running two hours late, it may be running an hour early.  There is never a consistent time when they can eat.  When they are able to eat, it’s enough to taste and that’s about it.  Their portions are small and the taste is questionable.

3.  Sleep:
Even on nights where we sleep terribly, chances are that we slept better than anyone in the service, no matter where they are; over-seas, at any type of training, etc.  The beds they get are small and the mattresses are thin.  But, even that is better than the cold steel they sleep on when they are out in the field.

4.  Time can stand still:
Not literally, but figuratively.  You try to keep yourself busy all the time while your loved one is away.  But no matter how busy you are, time still seems to stand still.  The days seem never-ending and the nights seem longer than that.

5.  Sacrifice:
When you have a loved on in the service, you learn to sacrifice… A LOT.  You sacrifice time with them, you give up church on Sundays, you give up holidays, you give up anniversaries, you give up birthday celebrations, you run the risk of them missing doctor appointments and the birth of a child.  The amount of things that you give up is about endless.  You adapt to doing things on your own but it doesn’t make it easier and it’s not ideal.

6. Support:
You learn different ways to support your loved one.  Pictures, messages, or just by talking.  Even when you are having a bad day, you put your own emotions on the back burner and support them.  They have a job to do and it gets hard for them knowing that you are struggling.  Does this mean that I hide my feelings of hurt, loneliness, and the other struggles from Shane?  No.  He knows.  But I tell him I’m struggling with whatever I am at the time and leave it at that.  I don’t talk about it with him because I know he’s going through hit too.  I offer support, I encourage, and I distract.  I wanted to make this time apart as easy as I could for him.

7.  The wait is terrible but the reunion is sweet:
You learn not to take your loved one for granted.  Enjoy the time you spend together instead of bickering about the small things in life.  I hate being away from Shane, but I love the butterflies and the nervous feeling knowing that he is soon on his way back home.  It’s like the feelings of the first time we met all over again.

Point being, we take so much for granted and we don’t even realize it.  Yesterday was Memorial day and even though I didn’t post this yesterday, I paid my respects to those that served our country who have lost their lives either in the line of duty or by other causes.  Each one of them held a substantial part in keeping this country a free one.  Same with the men and women who are currently serving.

They sacrifice time with their families, they give their all, and some lose their lives to keep this country what it is.

Thank you, soldiers, for all your sacrifice.

“All gave some, some gave all.”

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