It was Veteran’s Day and I had the honor of accompanying my father to their annual party. I couldn’t help but feel excited because I’ve always looked up to the men in uniform for serving the country at the expense of their families. I can’t imagine my son leaving me to serve the country, which means going to war should be one of the things that he’s prepared to do. But despite my worries for the near future, I have vowed to never stop him from choosing to join the forces. Besides, he has his grandfather’s genes – the blood of the courageous and patriotic.
When we arrived, we were met by our friends and their families, and I greeted them and expressed my happiness that they were finally home and with their spouses and children. Deep inside, I thanked God that they survived combat. Not everyone does. I saw a group of youngsters in one corner. I heard one of them approach one housewife, Melissa, and asked her if she could be interviewed. Melissa was surprised and she said, “Why me? My husband’s around. I’ll introduce you to him.”
But the youngster said, “No, we’re really here for you and for the rest of the military wives who are here. We want the world to know that you deserve a thank you, for all you’ve done.” I managed to smile and hide the tear falling from my cheek. It was so touching. I realized that these housewives do have important roles for the greater good of the country.
I listened in and the young lady asked Melissa, “So tell us about a day in your household when your husband comes home. What’s the feeling?”
“Well,” Melissa said, “Of course the first day is just bliss. Nothing beats the feeling of seeing your husband at the door, alive. And when the kids see him and hug and kiss him, it’s just a miracle. I cook my special and we enjoy every moment we have together.”
Then one of their other members went in front and announced that she wanted to say something. She said she just wanted to thank the women behind the military man, the light of the military house, for keeping the family together. Everybody agreed and cheered loudly. Then she read the rest of the gratitude list. According to Mark Travers Ph.D., “Studies have shown a positive association between expressions of gratitude and emotional well-being.”
Thank you for:
- Being both Mom and Dad to the kids when the husband leaves home to work. She has to be responsible for taking care of the home and keeping it peaceful. Most importantly, she is tasked to tell her kids good stories of their dads and how they are out there to defend our country.
- Giving up the things she loves doing for herself so that the others can do what they have to do. Some of them are bank executives, professors, and teachers and sometimes they are not given the choice not to give it up. They have to. That’s sacrifice and for them and it’s worth it.
- Learning the latest ways of communicating so that family can communicate. She keeps herself up to date with Skype and other video conferencing software to support her husband from afar. Sometimes she attempts to be a therapist to encourage her husband to keep the faith. She applies what she has learned from other resources that help deal with depression and anxiety.
- Preparing the best meals. Military wives become domesticated, although not by choice for some, they’d get used to it in time. Her pancakes just don’t taste the same and her baked turkey is heavenly, just perfect for her hero to enjoy when he gets home.
- The times that she wanted to give up and raise the white flag, but she didn’t. She just goes on and on and tries her best to be strong for her children. She cries only when she is alone or with her closest friends. When she arrives home, she smiles and feeds her children with love and hope.
I went home that night feeling nostalgic, inspired and grateful. I realized that military wives aren’t always acknowledged for being the persons behind the strength of their husbands – the wind beneath their wings. And though they don’t often hear the thank yous, they don’t mind, because they know that the country needs them as much as they need their husbands.