How many of you had a loved one return from deployment in the past year? If you have, then I don’t really have to ask you what you are thankful for during this Thanksgiving season. When our military member is on deployment, our prayer and our dream is to see them return safely. For that we are eternally grateful.
This is one of the main things that makes military families so admirable and different from civilian families. With the exception of those in high risk professions or public service such as law enforcement and firefighters, most people don’t have “come home safely” as the number one desire for their professions.
Our Marine deployed for seven months to Afghanistan this year and came back fairly recently. Besides dealing with firefights and the enemy, he also had to deal with the puerile leadership and the after effects of battle. But he was Marine strong and we are proud of him.
Every day, as a military mom, I had battles of the mind of my own while he was deployed. Fear and anxiety wanted to be my constant companions and I had to kick them out of my thoughts on a daily basis. When my Marine came home, we were so thrilled and excited and I remember thinking, “Now life can go back to normal.” But normal is relative in this military life. He will deploy again in a few months and then the whole deployment dilemma starts up again.
So the question for you who live in this deployment cycle is this: what will be your focus during the holidays? Will you allow yourself the freedom and luxury of enjoying your hero while he or she is home? Will you give yourself permission to pamper them and dote over them? Or, will the idea of thankfulness get swallowed up in anticipation of the next deployment?
I know what I’m choosing. I’m going to be grateful that my Marine is home and that he is safe. I’m going to have a few of our family members home during the holidays and celebrate life with extreme gratitude because we don’t take it for granted.
He’ll sleep in late, and then sit on the couch and play video games with his brother and sister. He won’t clean a plate or cook a meal. He’ll ask me to make him more food when hunger strikes and he’ll ask me to bring him Anna, his favorite puppy, so he can take a nap with her. He’s not demanding, but he realizes that I’m so grateful for the opportunity to have him home for a little while.
And I’ll be grateful that I can do all these things for him.
Be sure to tell the military families you know that you are grateful for their service. And for all your heroes and heroes at home, remember this: we love you, we are proud of you and together we will be all right.