Tonight we went to a Christmas light parade and we sat next to a beautiful, kind family. It was a mom and her kids, her parents and her brother and his family.
After a bit I heard the little girl yell out, "Daddy, Daddy." The woman looked over and waved and smiled.. But the man didn't head over to them as I expected, and then the woman explained that her husband was on duty as a police officer. Then I noticed the uniform.
As we talked, she told me how he was also in the military reserves. He has served for 13 years and been deployed 3 times. When I asked if it was possible for him to get shipped out again, she said yes and that they were just waiting for the call.
At that moment I couldn't help but thank her for her service as well as his.
I have always had a special spot in my heart for military personnel. Partially because my dad and both grandpas served.
Partially because I love my country.
But tonight, I really thought about their families. It is a huge act of service for a wife and mother to take care of everything while their husband/father, or father and husband while his wife/ mother is gone serving our country.
But they don't wear the uniform.
No one takes their picture while they sink exhausted to the floor, after caring for everyone, while their spouse is away.
No one salutes them.
No one walks up to them in the grocery store and says, "Thank you for your service."
Because rarely does anyone else know.
They just go about the day to day, holding down the fort on their own.
I realize that many of these families struggle during these long deployments. I have seen it tear apart more than one marriage. And I personally can't imagine what they sacrifice.
But looking at this adorable little girl and her cute brother and their mom tonight, I had new eyes.
We have a friend who is leaving soon for a year, and my heart aches for his family. He will miss holidays with them. He will miss inches grown, teeth straightened and hormones raging. Ok, he might not really miss the last one too much.
But he is sacrificing all those moments for my family and yours.
His family is also sacrificing for my family and yours.
His wife won't have his strength of leadership at home, she will be it.
She won't have that extra set of hands, or the other driver.
She won't have the late night support, or the shoulder to catch the tears.
Those kids won't be running to Daddy when he comes home each night.
They won't be measuring themselves against his shoulder to see if they are getting taller.
Those are huge sacrifices.
There are the Moms who leave their hubby and kids behind. I cannot imagine the pain for those women who don't get to hold their babies every night. Or who watch them grow on a computer screen. Or miss kissing the owwies.
And for all of that and so many that could never be listed I say to all of our military and their families, THANK YOU!!
I salute you.
I am humbled by your service.
I pray for you.
And I hope we will all reach out to do our part to help take care of you and your family the way we should while you are serving.