Don't know what that means? Well I'm about to tell you...
Did you wake up this morning with your husband sleeping next to you or in the bathroom shaving his face, did you eat breakfast with him or kiss him on the way out the door? At 5:30 or even 7:30 did you hear the garage door go up and think "ah, reinforcements"? Did he come in a give you a peck on your cheek or even a pat on your butt? Did you have your husband to help with dinner or cleaning up? What about bath time or bedtime? Did you have your husband there to tell your son that there was no choice he was going to karate? Did he fix the closet doors that your boys (or girls) pushed off when they were being wild? What about those kitchen outlets that are mysteriously not working? Or the oil in the car? Or shoveling the driveway and sidewalks in -10 degree weather? What about that nasty fall your son took that needed stitches? Did you have someone to pass off the baby to when they had their 5th poopy diaper that day and you just didn't feel like changing another one?
Ahhhhh...all the kids are in bed!! Did you have your husband there to sit down on the couch with and watch some silly "guy" show just because you wanted to spend a little quality time with him? Was he there when your child came out of their bedroom for the third time concerned that they just can't get to sleep? Was he there to hold the baby so you could clean up the kitchen, pack school lunches, and sign all their homework? When the baby finally drifted off to sleep, did he climb up in the bed with you, turn on his lamp and lay there and read with you? Did he sleep through the baby waking up for the second time that night? Was he there beside you the next morning to do it all over again?
What about the "special" occasions...Did you go out on a date this week? Did you celebrate a birthday? or even two or three in your household? or parent-teacher conferences? What about that 9 am church time on Sunday? Was he there to help you get all 4 kids ready and out the door on time? Was he there on the pew with you to keep them all "reverent"?
Maybe you can answer "no" to some of these questions. Maybe your husband worked late this week or is out of town on a business trip. Maybe he volunteers his time on Sunday to help his congregation and isn't there to help you with the kids. But "blue star" families do this day in and day out for months and months at a time.
We are a blue star family. What that means is that our family has someone serving their country overseas. We are less then 1% of the population. We are in a war that has lasted over 9 years. A war that people are forgetting still battles on.
For our family it continues to have a significant impact every single day. We are on our 6th deployment since 2002. On our 7th wedding anniversary we calculated that we'd spent more time apart then together (not by much though). On our 10th wedding anniversary we spent it apart because he left the day before for his 5th tour of duty. We've endured many marriage failures and successes. Many of those related to my husband's military service. Our life is on hold until "daddy" gets home. In many ways we are just surviving until the other half of the foundation of our home returns. Then we get back to the business of enjoying life, celebrating family, and conquering new adventures. All the while knowing that he will be leaving again.
My husband willingly serves his country. He is a man of honor and commitment. He does what is asked of him most often without complaint. I am asked to do the same. The blue star wife serves too. We don't have the uniform or the awards but I can promise you we serve our country too. The sacrifices asked of our family are tremendous. Every member of our family does what is asked of them often without question or inquiry.
There is something that is ALWAYS at the forefront of the blue star wife's mind and that is the "gold star" families. Did you know that as of Jan. 16, 2011 there are 5,860 gold star families? Check here. They are the families who have made the ultimate sacrifice and have lost a loved one during this war. A blue star wife is always praying she doesn't become a gold star wife. Do you think about this on a daily basis?
You may ask...what is the point of this blog post? The point is: take the time to remember those families who sacrifice so much for YOUR freedoms. Think of ways that you can help them (because I can promise you 95% of them will not ask for your help). There is a great website here set up to help the average American help members of their own communities. Mostly just take the time to think how you could help your neighbor, friend, or family member survive this difficult and trying time. Be aware of those around you. Feel free to share this link and spread the word as they say. I would love it if I could encourage even just 5 people to think about the military family differently.
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