“While you wonder sometimes if you’re doing OK,
the rest of us are just watching in wonder.” ~ Holley Gerth
I tapped the doorbell while balancing the pepperoni pasta dish in my hands and the paper bag with green salad, homemade bread, and chocolate chip cookies hanging on my arm. Sarah answered the door with a kind smile and full arms — literally full with a sleeping newborn and a precious two-year-old girl. After greeting me warmly, Sarah opened the door wider, and I glimpsed older sister eyeing me from behind Mama’s leg.
Sarah welcomed me into her home, and as I walked to the kitchen, I asked if she had spoken to her deployed husband recently. She replied, “Oh, here and there, but his schedule had been nonstop, so our conversations have been quick and sporadic.”
Watching her balance three little ones, I thought his schedule isn’t the only one that’s been nonstop.
I asked her how the older kids were adjusting, and she said each day seemed a little better than the one before, good times and rough times mixing in varying degrees to color the day. And then she added with a wave of her hand, “Ya know, we’re just taking things one day at a time.”
Because that’s what military spouses do: They just do the next thing like it’s no big thing and take each day one at a time.
After church, I saunter over to Kathryn and ask her how things are going. Her semester of school just ended, and with only one more class left to take, she finds herself enjoying a long exhale. At some point in our conversation, her hand dropped to her belly, and I watched her rub the curvature around her growing second child. I asked if her husband will be home in time for the birth, and she said, “Yes, as long as this one waits ’til the due date to enter the world, he should be home in time.”
I raised my eyebrows and ask tentatively, “And if your baby doesn’t wait? Who’s going to the hospital with you?”
Her head drops down slightly and she looks to the side, “Oh, well, if that happens, I’ll probably just drive myself.” She flippantly waved her hand in the air, like she was describing a solo trip to the grocery.
My eyes widened and I flat-out stared.
Finally, I ask, “Um, what do you mean you will just drive yourself?”
Her reply was chock-full of the confidence found in most seasoned Army wives, “Oh, I’ll be fine. I mean, it’s not like this is my first baby. I know what to expect this time.”
I agreed with her that she will most definitely be fine. But I also gave her my cell number and told her not to hesitate to call because hello, no woman should have to drive her everlovin’ self to the hospital to give birth.
But that’s what military spouses do: They maneuver life’s main events solo like it’s just par for the course. Because it is par for the course. And whether it’s handling the driving rhythm of a nonstop household or driving themselves to the hospital amidst the rhythm of regular contractions, they just do what they have to do — one hour at a time, one day at a time.
But there’s no reason they should have to do so without an army of prayers and support.
Today is a day we rightly remember our military service members who serve and sacrifice in one form or another. So to all the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard servicemen and women, the (in)courage community wants you to know how deeply we appreciate you. You are selflessly giving and devoted, and your sacrifices do not go unnoticed.
Today, I also want to remember our service member’s families — families who surely sacrifice in their own important ways.
Because the more we build up and support our military families, the better they are able to build up and support their own service-member husbands and wives.
If you have or had a loved one serving at home or abroad in the military, might you leave his or her *first* name in a comment so we can honor that person and pray?
And if you know a family member of a loved one who serves, might you leave his or her name in a comment so we can pray for these dedicated people too?
And whether you have a connection with military folks or not, might you leave a word of encouragement to the extraordinary ones on this Memorial Day — our military and their families?
Let’s fortify the walls of this grace space with kind words for them today.
Kristen Strong, wife of an Air Force veteran
(If you are a military wife or know someone who is, visit my blog Chasing Blue Skies for a special free gift: my e-book Serving You: 31 Days of Encouragement for the Military Wife.)