Today, I met your mother in law. She gushed on and on about her son (stationed where we just left), her grandson (still in your womb), and how amazing we military families are. In the same breath, she leaned forward, asking with the fear of a mother for her child, “Has your husband deployed?”
I nodded, “A couple of times.”
“I don’t know what she’ll do if he has to deploy — and with a baby.” Lowering her voice she whispered conspiratorially, “She’s not really a military wife.”
I wanted to say so many things. Instead I assured her that you will be fine, no matter what this life sends your way.
You’re stronger than your MIL gives you credit for. I know that because, although I don’t know you, I know what you are.
You are a woman who fell in love with a man who pledged his life to always put another before you and his children.
You are a member of a sisterhood. A sisterhood that (despite our differences) is above all else strong, supportive, and capable.
You are a woman who is going through the stress and uncertainty of your first pregnancy far from home (and a ready support system), prepared to be mother, father, aunt, and grandmother to that child, prepared to show pictures while explaining over and over which is his grandfather and which his uncle.
You are a woman who serves as the backbone of her family, sitting up late just to say a sleepy goodnight because your soldier is just getting back from a field exercise, eating cereal for dinner night after night because it keeps the grocery bill down when he’s gone, mowing the lawn, and fixing the toilet because there is no one else.
You are a woman who will stress over just what to wear so you don’t embarrass your soldier at mandatory fun night, even when he says you could never embarrass him.
You are a woman who reinvents herself, following your soldier wherever orders take him, playing Jenga with the furniture because this house is smaller than your last, pulling curtains out of storage, and remaking best friends for yourself and your little ones so that each new place will soon feel like home.
You are a woman who (because of your MIL and others like her) will begin to feel more like an acquaintance than kin at family gatherings and (because of logistics) will choose to spend more and more holidays with your military family.
You are a woman much stronger than your MIL will ever give you credit.
May the strength of your sisters be your guide as you walk the road less traveled.