After all, I did not make a commitment to our country to fight in the military. I only married someone who did.
Over the years my husband R has been stopped many times by people who wanted to thank him for his service. Like many men and women in the military, R is pretty humble about it and gets embarrassed easily. Don’t get me wrong, he does acknowledge their compliment but in Garth-like fashion, he slowly slinks away.
And on occasion, I get a thank you as well.
Those thank-you’s come from a sincere, kind place but there was no service done on my behalf.
I knew what I was getting myself into when I married into the military. I knew there would be months at a time when I would worry myself sick. I knew there would be a time where I would be by myself for long periods of time and if we started a family, I would be raising our children on my own.
I knew that.
Sure, it got tough when he went on a deployment four months after our first child was born and I was timezones away from either our families. It got tough when he was on a submarine and I didn’t hear from him for months at a time. It was extremely difficult whenever I watched the news about the death toll of American soldiers in the Middle East.
I thought nothing wouldn’t compare to teaching first grade while pregnant and raising a toddler and a preschooler. All the while, R was on a seven month deployment.
But then the phone call came on April 23, 2010 and surely nothing compared to that.
In spite of all that, those events were nothing compared to what
R went through. He doesn’t talk much about it and I don’t blame him. Over the past fourteen years, deployments have taken its toll on him. I didn’t know anything about PTSD until I saw him shaking uncontrollably when a car in our neighborhood drove too fast over a speed bump and made a huge booming sound that echoed through our house. Years later, he can’t go to Giants game with free tickets that were donated by a military charity without panicking. Years later, we plan all of our outings for first thing in the morning to avoid crowds and noise. Years later, our last trip to Disneyland had to be planned down to the minute so he could escape and retreat back to our hotel room whenever he needed to… and without the kids noticing.
Years later, I have found I know more about PTSD and yet I know very little.
I was able to raise our children, work a few years here and there, and enjoy our duty stations; he was doing the exact opposite.
So while I do appreciate the kind words, please don’t thank me for my service; thank my husband instead.
Happy Veteran’s Day to all those who served. May the lines at the VA be in proportionate to the loved ones around you– short lines and lots of love!
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!