As a Christian author-to-be I recently joined American Christian Fiction Writers Organization. When I introduced myself I told everyone I'm the mother of four with my husband in Iraq. Soon after e-mails poured in to welcome me and thank my husband for his service and then thank me for the sacrifice I've made while he serves. Only a few people have thanked me, ever.
Then yesterday, as I attended my first Sunday school class at my new church, the pastor introduced me and told everyone my husband was in Iraq. A visitor leaned forward and said, "Thank you for your service. The families serve as much as the soldiers. So, thank you."
People forget, we, the ones left behind, sacrifice more than our soldiers do. Don't get me wrong, I'm not degrading what our men and women in arms do, but their jobs are, as my husband says: "a cake walk compared to what you have to do at home."
So far, he has spent his entire time there on base in his office, never leaving for anything. And I feel he'll only set foot off base when he comes home on leave. But back here at home, I've been cooped up inside with four cabin crazed kids because the weather doesn't permit escape. We've combated one sickness after another. When they're all crabby, I'm at my wits end to get them calmed down while I don't lose my mind, which many times I have failed. There's homework, house work, the driving from here to there, doctor appointments, grocery store trips, meetings--sometimes with all four kids in tow, keeping two young children occupied while I try to write and revise a book, getting them to keep their rooms cleaned, teaching them to not jump on furniture or out of the windows, the list goes on and on. Up at 6:30, on the bus by 7:30, out the door at 8:00, and then run any errands that need to be run and back home, only to turn around and leave again, on a good night I'm in bed by 10:00.
Many of these things my husband would help with, or do for me so I could have a break. But I will admit, by him being gone, some of my workload has decreased. But that doesn't compare to the nights where I wish I could just sit and chill while someone else gets the kids cleaned up and put to bed. The nights where I have no one to talk to when I used to. And the days where I wish someone else would just clean that up instead of me.
We sacrifice so much so they can serve, and yet, we're the ones usually forgotten. But our soldiers don't forget. They have said countless times, their job is made easier because of those of us back home.
So, today, if you personally know a family who has a soldier or sailor serving thank them for their duty. Especially if it's a spouse with children. We're the forgotten ones.