Every year on the first Friday of May, we celebrate Military Spouse Appreciation Day. Conveniently scheduled just two days before Mother’s Day, this occasion is one that goes relatively unnoticed at my house. My husband will tell you “Everyday is Military Spouse Appreciation Day!” and to the rest of the world, the day is just that: another day.
Whether you get a dozen flowers, a dozen promises for something next year, or a dozen eggs while you’re grocery shopping to make your own brunch on Sunday, Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a day to celebrate. It’s a day to recognize the sacrifices we make as a military spouses. It’s a day to reflect on what the last year has looked like for our world, our service members, and our families. More than anything, it’s a day to appreciate one another.
Here’s to the optimists.
The lemonade makers when we’re drowning in bitter lemons. The ones whose glasses are always half-full when we feel so empty. The spouses who find the good in every duty station, the positive spin in every piece of paperwork, and the silver lining in every thunder cloud the military sends our way. You brighten the room when it feels so dark to the rest of us.
Here’s to the commiserators.
The ones we call when we really need an “I know it sucks.” The ones who cry with us without caveat, asterisk, or an “at least.” The ones who know exactly what we’re feeling and just let us feel it. You don’t bring us a solution; you bring us sympathy (and wine). Through normalizing our feelings, you make us stronger, resolute, and hopeful.
Here’s to the spouses who volunteer for everything.
You sell raffle tickets, you bake goodies, you rally the troops at home to support our troops abroad. We need you. We might roll our eyes when you ask us to please sign up to bring paper goods (again), but we appreciate you. We know that you’re not getting paid for this. And we really are grateful.
Here’s to the picture perfect military spouses.
You make it look so easy. You Space A across the world with your children and no one throws up. You coordinate meetings, orchestrate drives, and you have a PCS binder that would impress Martha Stewart. You only wear your yoga pants to yoga, not to school drop off like the rest of us. With your coiffed hair and your strand of pearls, you give us pearls of wisdom in the most unassuming way. When you talk, we listen, usually in awe. And when you had a total nervous breakdown and the rest of us realized that actually no one is perfect, well that was just as beautiful too. You push us to be more, do more, and love ourselves more.
Here’s to the spouses who don’t fit in a box.
The ones who dye their hair to match their ball gown. The ones who have piercings in places we didn’t know you could pierce (I had to Google “tragus”). Some people call you “different,” “edgy,” or “out-there”; we call you awesome, because we’ve gotten to know you. Your hearts are just as bright as the tattoos on your wrist that memorialize the time you quit your 9-5 job at the law office to follow a band. You are the free-spirits, the risk-takers, and sometimes the ones we admire the most. We only hope the rest of the world will give you the same chance that you gave us, because you are so, so good.
Here’s to the ones we haven’t met yet.
Maybe you’re working full-time, maybe you had a bad experience and want nothing to do with the military spouse world. Maybe you’re an extreme introvert and the idea of so many new people sends you into the fetal position. Maybe you think you can’t relate to any.of.these.men/women. Or maybe it’s none of the above. We get it. We’ve all been there. And we are here when you’re ready, with open arms. We want to make you dinner. We want to bring you wine. We want to know you and support you, and welcome you into our military family.
And here’s to the lifelong friends.
The ones who hold our hands, and in turn our hearts, during the tough times. The births alone, the memorial services, the tour extensions. When the communication lines are too quiet or when life is too loud, you are the spouses that drop everything to make sure we’re okay. Distance is just geography. If we live next door or oceans apart, we will always, always be friends.
Whether you’re picture perfect, don’t fit in a box, or are somewhere in between, you are what makes our military families strong. How boring life would be if we were all the same.
Today we embrace our differences and honor what brought us together: the commitment we’ve made to love our service members. Through deployments and moves, orders and uncertainty, we can be sure of this: you deserve to be recognized on Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
My husband is on the right track: It should be everyday.
T. T. Robinson is a proud Navy wife, writer, and crisis management consultant – a skill that proves useful as the mother of two young children. She is the author of the New York Times Deployment Diary, featured contributor for SpouseBuzz, and political correspondent for NextGen MilSpouse.
Photo credit: Marine Corps Air Station Miramar / 3rd Marine Aircraft Wing, Photo by Lance Cpl. Christopher Johns, modified by MilitaryOneClick