Dedicated to military families – HOOAH!
We Live Red, White & Blue
The heart of a military family member is a strong heart indeed. As strong as a soldier’s support system is, the hearts of the family members are full of fear. Will we admit it? Not often. As our soldiers are trained, so are their family members. Not officially, mind you, but through living the experience, listening to their soldier and providing the constant encouragement any soldier needs. The ultimate sacrifice, for the family, is the fear we carry that our soldier may never return. Families often deal with the unknown.
Military families are the support and encouragement system of their soldier. Always loving, always encouraging, always proud. Never letting their soldier see their pain, their doubt, their fear. They are strong so their soldier can be strong. The slightest break in the façade might allow the soldier a moment of weakness, and soldiers are not weak.
Every parent has a fear in their heart when their child leaves the house for the big bad world. However, military parents understand the greater possibility of percentages that comes into play when their soldier joins the all volunteer service ranks of our country.
Spouses have to be both mommy and daddy to their children. They miss their soldier with a physical longing that no parent or child can know. Some of them are doing things they’ve never done before – laundry, paying bills, coaching sports teams, cooking, etc. – menial things, but new to them just the same.
Children, ah the children, they can face a virtual stranger when their military parent returns. Depending on the age of the child, they may not remember their parent and may be afraid of them when they return. Older children, yup – they know what’s going on. I remember being ten when my dad went to Viet Nam. At home, at night, in my bed, I cried and cried and cried some more because I just knew my daddy was never coming home again. He did, but our relationship had changed. Teens, well teens hang tough because that’s the way they’ve been raised. Quite often the teens are called upon to step up and fill the roll of the absent parent/soldier.
Military families have learned how to deal with the fear that lives in their hearts. The simple fact of the matter is, there is nothing we can do about the situation we are in. Our soldier is going to face danger and we can do nothing to stop it. We have learned to go on, as we have no choice. If we think about the possibilities our thoughts turn negative and we will just go crazy. So, we go on. We try not to think about it too much. We keep busy so we don’t have any down time, because it is in the down time that our hearts go to that fear factor. It is not unusual to hear a song, watch a movie, see a picture, or read something that brings tears to our eyes, spilling over the edges and running down our cheeks. Oh my goodness, the Star Spangled Banner can put us over the edge in a heartbeat, as our hearts swell with pride for our soldier and our country. We live for the infrequent phone calls or the coveted video call. Our cell phone is never out of reach. The poor mailman thinks we are stalkers, as we pounce on the mailbox every time he comes around. When friends and family ask how we are doing and what have we heard from our soldier we smile and say everything is fine. If we’ve heard from our soldier we may recount a story or two, but we have to be careful or the tears will show up unexpectedly again.
As we stand strong for our soldier, the greatest thing a military family has to learn is trust. We have to trust our soldier, to keep their head down. We have to trust their superiors, to train them to be the best. We have to trust our government to make good decisions. Most importantly, we have to trust in God. There is no higher power to appeal to and we constantly pray for our soldier’s safety. Amen.