by Randi Cairns, Guest Contributor
Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day and my newsfeed is filled with the most beautiful tributes to the men and women behind the men and women who serve our great nation.
I’m blessed to have a village full of these amazing folks. They’re so very worthy of praise.
But my village is large. And it’s also full of people who don’t get this recognition, even while they too have given their time, done their part and played on our team. Here’s to all of us.
Here’s to the widows and widowers. Those who have handed this country their very hearts and paid the highest price for service. Those to whom we are so incredibly grateful and yet so quick to avoid in the name of “I don’t know what to say.”
Here’s to the same-sex spouses. Those who have only recently received the legal protections for their relationships but still fight for the benefits and compassion that the rest of us take for granted.
Here’s to the retired spouses. Those who “put in their time” right by the side of their serving spouse. And those who, with one retirement ceremony, feel “put out to pasture” or “no longer relevant.”
Here’s to the former spouses. Those whose marriages did not survive the cost of service. Those raising our military babies. Those who may no longer hold the title, but are still enmeshed in this community.
Here’s to the boyfriends and girlfriends. Those who know what it is to love a service member, to kiss him/her before sending their heart onto a plane or into a battlefield. Those who know the missing and the worry but don’t have the benefit of “formal recognition” for their status.
Here’s to the NextGen MilSpouses. Those who are in the thick of it. Those walking the walk and talking the talk. Those blooming where they’re planted but prepared to be uprooted at any time. Those who love it and hate it and don’t know how they’ll survive it but thrive in the midst of it.
Here’s to us all. Each of us who knows what it is to agree to be second to a love of country that comes first.
On this day and all days – you are loved and appreciated.
Randi Cairns is one of the coauthors of “Stories Around The Table” and a frequent blogger in the military spouse space. She has written for NextGen MilSpouse, SpouseBuzz, Homefront United Network and the Military Family Advisory Network. She’s also the part sassy/part inspirational voice of Throwing Pots & Pans – coming one day to a bookstore near you.