13 May 2006

The disadvantages of deployment

Cut off from normal society, here in a barren wasteland of despair (snx!) I seem to have missed two items of importance yesterday. The first was, of course, the New York Time's gross incompetence at picture captioning. Fortunately it was sufficiently mocked here:


The other, more serious, was that I did not realize yesterday was Military Spouse Appreciation Day.

On 12 May 2006, Military Spouse Day, we pay special tribute to our Army spouses and honor their magnificent commitment to our soldiers and the Army. Without their patriotism, sacrifices, and support, we could not sustain this high-quality army, an army that is the best it has ever been. Although we enlist soldiers, we retain families, and the army spouse’s support is a critical factor in a soldier’s decision to reenlist. We recognize that the army spouse’s answer to his or her own call to duty has been instrumental in sustaining all components of our Army—Active, Army National Guard, and Army Reserve.

-- The Honorable Francis J. Harvey, Secretary of the Army; General Peter J. Schoomaker, Chief of Staff and Sergeant Major of the Army Kenneth O. Preston.

It would be fair to say that my life has been shaped in a large part by two military spouses.

The first (chronologically speaking) was of course my mother. Part of the problem I have with many modern images of women is that they fail to measure up to the prototypical model in my life. I don't mean to imply that my Father was insufficient or absentee, but the reality of the Soldier's life is that it requires absences both frequent and prolonged. Whether it was a few weeks for a field problem or a school, or the two one-year unaccompanied tours my Father pulled, when he was gone, she carried the load.

Of course, that's not an easy thing, and Lord knows we kids didn't always make it any easier. I don't recall often expressing a lot of gratitude for the stuff she did.

The stories I could tell of how she performed with strength, dignity, and as much grace under metaphorical fire as anyone could ask for are legion. We still have our disagreements, but for both Military Spouse Day and Mother's Day, I can only say Thank You.

You don't appreciate how hard a spouse's job is until you have to send someone you love to the Sandbox to get shot at for a year. Which is a bridge to the other Military Spouse in my life. Of course that is my wife. Woo-hoo! Anyone who reads me for much time at all knows I am madly in love with her. She is my rock, my strength, and I am more amazed and more in love with her each day. I don't know where I'd be without her, except a lot more. . . solitary.


Blogger A Soldier's Girl said...

You are so silly, and I adore you. I missed Military Spouse Appreciation Day, so I must make it up to you today.

You are my heart and I love you beyond words and beyond expression.

9:28 PM  

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