Be You, Bravely

“You are so brave.”
“I don’t know how you do it.”
“You are so strong.”
“I couldn’t do it if I were in your shoes.”
These sentences start many conversations from a non-military spouse to a military spouse, especially during times of deployment or when facing a big transition. This post is NOT about proving the military spouse is better in any way, but about how THIS military spouse defines bravery.
In these conversations, I direct the other mom to all the brave things they deal with daily. I tell them they would do what they had to do if they were in my shoes. I rarely think of myself as brave. In the midst of a deployment (two while pregnant!), in times of transition, when my husband’s workday is too long, or when he is called away during the weekend, these are not moments of bravery. These are challenging times. You’ve heard of the “witching hour” – these times are like the witching day, week, month, or even year!
I am not braver than any other mama. Some of my challenges may be different, but your challenges are just as real. You are equally, or even more brave, in handling your daily tasks. Just as some of my friends shake their heads and ask, “How do you do it?” I ask the same of others:

I have a friend with four boys, one of which has Down’s syndrome, and very recently and suddenly lost all hearing. She is brave.

I have a friend with Crohn’s Disease, and a myriad of other challenges. She recently found out she is pregnant. I constantly pray for a “sticky baby” for her. She is brave.

I have a friend who has had more loss in life than I can imagine. Her first husband died, her second husband left her, her mother died, and she battles severe depression. Yet she praises God.  She is brave.

I have a friend who went to Russia for HSCT. She no longer has MS. She walked a 5K, when a year before she had great pain just walking to the mailbox. She is brave.

I know people all over the world. Missionaries, military members, and people I’ve met along the way. At one time just over a year ago, my friend list included China, Russia, Africa, South America, Europe, and the U.S. They are brave.

My conversations with people typically end with them saying, “I admire you.” If only I could let you know how much I admire you, too, and truly have you believe me.
A version of this post was published at Mamalode on 5/15/2015

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