I talked to someone today who asked me if my husband would make the military his career. I told her we weren’t sure yet but we have definitely been considering it. Next we moved on to talking about Rhett and she asked me if we wanted to have more children. I told her we did, that I looked forward to having a couple more…when the time is right. What she said to me next left me feeling frustrated and hurt and I don’t want anyone else to ever let someone make them feel that way.
She told me that if I thought my husband deploying when we have one child is hard, think about how impossible it’s going to be when we have more. She said that I probably wouldn’t be able to handle it and that if my husband was going to keep deploying we might not want our family to keep growing.
If I could go back what I would like to say to her is this:
Ma’am you hardly know me. When I got married the first thing I thought about wasn’t how hard deployments and military life might be on a family. It wasn’t that I would be left alone for a couple months of the year, maybe more or less. My first thought wasn’t about the sleepless nights, missing the feeling of my husband lying next to me, or the feelings of intense loneliness I might get when I sit down to eat another dinner made only for one. I wasn’t thinking about whether we would be in the military for another five years or another fourteen. I didn’t think about the sleep deprivation or the moments missed, the struggles I might face alone with one, two or three children. Or that I would have to learn to play the role of mother and father, man and wife, parent and friend, all by myself sometimes.
The first thing I thought when I got married was in that moment I loved the man in front of me. One year and five months before that moment I fell in love with him. When I am 70 years old, sitting on our porch, watching our grandchildren play in the yard, I will love him. For all of time and eternity I will love him because he was the one for whom I waited. How he had brought me more peace and steadiness than I had ever known and the days since I met him had been the best days of my life. His ready smile, his deep convictions, his passions and compassions, his laughter, his intelligence, his wisdom, his faith, and his kindness enriched me in every moment I spent with him.
And since then have I learned that life is sometimes hard? Yes. Life is hard. Marriage is hard. Having a baby and becoming a mother is hard. This life is ever changing and some days are better than others.
Have I struggled at times to play the role of single mother to child, yes. But ma’am I am strong. I have learned that I can love someone so much more than myself. I have learned through difficult days that I have the truest and loveliest of friends. I have learned that I can get up day after day and keep going. Who are you to say I am not strong? That I can or cannot do anything that I put my mind to? My husband and I can choose to lead any life we want, we can have any many children as we want, and we can raise the family we want without being criticized by a person who could not imagine what our lives are like on the easiest or hardest of days. So please refrain from passing judgment on an individual whose life you only hear about in passing because no right to break me down after I have worked so hard to build myself up.
But ma’am, thank you. Thank you for reminding me to talk about my blessings more than my burdens. My child has shown me brightness on dark days, he has given me smiles so big my heart could burst at the sight of him. He has been the hardest and best thing I have ever done and my little family means more to me than words could ever explain.
May God bless and keep you.