May 7, 2021… Aside from being the 76th anniversary of the beginning of the German surrender during WWII, what significance does this day hold? For us in the United States, this is Military Spouse Appreciation Day.
First recognized by President Ronald Reagan in 1984 (and later made an annual holiday at the turn of the century), Military Spouse Appreciation Day is a day set aside to highlight and recognize the sacrifice and efforts of our service members’ spouses. Many times, the military spouse can be overlooked and not thought of as an “essential” part of our military force. This oversight is easy to make, but just like the “man behind the curtain” was vital in The Wizard of Oz, so the spouse is vital to the well-being and readiness of our military service members.
I can personally attest to the sacrifices these spouses make. You see, I not only have had a “military spouse”, I now am a “military spouse.” This dual-citizenship has given me a unique look at the “man behind the curtain” in regards to this whole spouse thing. On the receiving end, I can say that there is just something so comforting to know that at the end of a hard or trying day I get to go home to a beautiful home and a supportive, beautiful family. That peace of mind allowed me to focus on my work and not have to worry about so much of the tedium involved in holding down the fort.
On the other end of things, I now have the unique experience to be that “military spouse” and to be the one working out those housekeeping issues we alluded to earlier. Who would have thought that doing the laundry, making the meals, teaching the kids, fixing broken cabinet knobs, and replacing burnt-out light bulbs would be harder than a “full-time job?”
Hint: Lots, and lots, and lots of people.
That being said, I sure didn’t realize how much work there was to be done on the home front until I was the one who was tasked to deal with it. Many times I miss my old job and remember how much, in many ways, simpler it was than staying home. There are well-defined rules and regulations that we follow at work. At home, I swear it’s like the Wild West at times and I’m the lonely sheriff trying to hold the town together.
For me, being able to live on both sides of the fence has given me a greater appreciation for all those spouses out there that most of us never hear about.
Some men and women find their servicemember and marry them while serving. Some are married before the military comes into the picture. Either way, it’s no easy living. To all those spouses out there, I offer up many thanks and a great deal of gratitude.
Including my wife and, I guess, myself. Thanks, me.
So what are you supposed to do with this information? Well, that’s up to you. Many of us know someone in the military and for so many of them there is a hard-working spouse diligently holding the line behind the scenes.
Next time you see one of these spouses just tell them thank you. You might just make their day.