It’s almost poetic that here I sit writing this article about the things this Military Life has handed me that I am most grateful for. Is it the three feet of standing water in my backyard I just dug a trench for in the middle of a snow storm because SURPRISE the husband is away and I’m brand spankin’ new in this neighborhood?
Or maybe I should chime in about how I’m kind of over the whole rank thing…officer wife this, two ranks above that…GI JOE HIT ME WITH A WIFFLE BALL BAT. Over it. Yes, it’s absolutely poetic that I sit here writing this article about what military life and the beautiful blessings it has bestowed upon me through these last nine years, but I can in the most genuine of tones name so many reasons to be thankful for the life I have been given.
I’m grateful for friends that are now my family.
We often gravitate to those who share similar life experiences. It’s not an exclusive rule that we must adhere to in order to form a tribe of lifelong friends by any means, but it in this Military Life it is a trait of others that often forges bonds unbreakable by miles, or time elapsed since the last communication.
Friendships within the military community are arguably the most tested, and consequently the strongest. It’s the friends that bring doughnuts and leave them on your counter while you’re upstairs working. It’s the friends that drop a quick line just to say, “Hey, I miss you,” from Germany. It’s the friends you call when you haven’t heard from your spouse in a long time during a deployment so that they can tell you that everything is okay.
It’s the friends that are unwavering, supportive, and understanding that make all the difference. Nearly all of my friends that possess these qualities belong to the Military Community. They are my family.
I’m grateful that I can rely on myself.
The whole give a man a fish metaphor seems to be appropriate here, but I’m not a man and I don’t like fish so maybe a better one would take shape in the form of: fix the lone girl’s garbage disposal or just give the gal a screw driver.
I’m thankful that from broken pieces, fear, and lack of confidence this military life has molded me into a self reliant, confident, and glued together heap of beautiful mess. I always get the ever popular question, “I don’t know how you do it,” to which I always reply, “You would do exactly what I am doing…simply because you have to.”
I’m grateful that I can’t remember what my comfort zone is.
As a girl whose natural inclination would be to hide behind curtains in sweatpants instead of initiating contact with my neighbors, I am grateful that Military Life has thrown me into scenarios where being uncomfortable and facing my demons are literally usually my only choices.
I’ve come to find that we are all simply baby giraffes trying to run awkwardly towards water holes we aren’t even sure actually exist…maybe it’s a mirage, maybe it’s a five star resort with a killer pool- at least we get to stumble along together and figure it all out in good company.
I’m grateful for military kids.
My friend and I were sitting at my kitchen table one evening and chatting when all of the sudden my friend’s iPhone chimed in (the Australian Male version of Siri) to which her little girl yelled, “DADDY?!” We both laughed, uncontrollably.
My little boy sometimes yells at our iPad trying to show dad the newest race car track he just built or chat about why Batman is way better than Superman. I can’t count the times we’ve made countdowns, recorded videos, taken photos, or made craft projects that center around the fact that someone very important is missing. My kids are my heroes. They wear bravery beautifully. They forgive a mom who sometimes loses her crap when life gets overwhelming while simultaneously understanding that someone not present still loves them just the same.
There are lists upon lists that describe the incredible resilience, maturity, and loving nature of military kids. They are nothing short of amazing.
I’m grateful to live amongst heroes.
There are a few among the general populous, 1%, in fact, that are wired differently from the rest of us. Willingly they submit themselves to a lifestyle immersed in “less,” goodbyes, changes, intense difficulty, and real conflict.
There are a few among us that are wired differently…self preservation sits back seat to ideals inspired by God encompassed by a nation of people who sometimes care and sometimes could care less, and regardless this doesn’t deter the nobility of those 1%. There are a few among us wired differently. I thank God for them. I thank God that one of them is a constant in my life. I pray our hearts, and our actions, make us a people worth fighting for.
I’m grateful to be a military spouse.
I’m grateful for the first hug after deployments, the surprise flowers on important dates. I’m grateful that sometimes I get to sleep diagonally and watch my own shows on Netflix when he’s gone. I’m even more grateful to roll over and see him sleeping next to me. I’m grateful for perspective.
I’m thankful for the ability to value small ordinary moments that bring happiness. I’m grateful for strength both inner and borrowed. I’m thankful for opposition and the insight it gives me to know real joy. I’m grateful for this community. I’m grateful that I get to stand arm and arm with each of you.