At dinner last night with my parents and in-laws, I got to thinking about something we discussed, and about a previous blog I wrote about military spouses going largely unappreciated. While I do still feel like us spouses are unappreciated for “Serving on the Homefront”, I was selfish in my lack-of-support from the outside by talking only about us spouses. For we are not the only ones who are unappreciated for what we do, but what about the rest of a soldier’s family? Parents? In-laws? Siblings? And of course, children. I cannot speak for the children so much, because we do not have our own, but they endure so much, too – a deployed parent, the stress of their parent at home, relocating, etc. But I do not feel that I paid tribute to the parents of soldiers.
My husband and I are lucky to have parents, and in-laws, who both love and support us. I am sure we are not alone in having such people, but I don’t think it can be presumed anymore that EVERYONE comes from a loving family. But our parents are going through everything just as much as we are, and it’s either worse, or better, on their side. I can’t decide, and I’m sure it goes back and forth daily. But they are not living this life as directly as we are – my husband is the one who is enlisted, I am the wife who feels like she’s signed up for this, too, and gets almost everything first-hand, or second-hand, depending on how you look at it. Everything, almost everything, my husband goes through, comes through me first. Or, we are experiencing it together. Our parents are at home, roughly 500 driving miles away, and get everything over the phone. I can’t decide if this is better, or worse. But they are a little more detached from the situation. But this is their son, or son-in-law, although neither set of parents thinks of us as in-laws – we’re both their kids, and either of them would do anything for either of us. And it cannot be easy to say good-bye to your child, your daughter’s husband, to send him to a war zone. Especially for his parents, or any parents in the same situation – their other son is in the US Marines, and recently deployed to Afghanistan. BOTH sons will be in the same war-torn country, at relatively the same time. How hard can that be? How hard can it be for the mom’s, married to a service member, with a child or children in the service as well? To see your husband AND son deploy?
It’s not just the service members, it’s not just the parents, and it’s not just the children. It’s anyone family, or close enough to be family, that deserves the thanks and recognition as well for their Soldier, Marine, Seaman, or Airman. For without the family, without the spouse, without the parents, that service member would not be who he or she is today, without that support. And that’s all we can do – be there for them, and support them. So, thank you, family of service members, members of the silent ranks (maybe we shouldn’t be so silent), for supporting your service member, and helping him or her to be better, being there through times of crisis, stress, or just a plain bad day, for all the loving memories you’ve all created together that help in times of despair, and for always, always being there. May you all be recognized for your duties.