Happy Veterans Day to the Ones Behind the Scenes

I am so proud of anyone who has served our country and helped to create the free world that we live in today.  I am so happy that we have moms like the brave mom who was featured in this morning’s post and any others out there who are similar, all while knowing that no two are the same.

I, myself, am a product of the US Military.  I am proud to say that my Grandpa and my dad were both active Coast Guard Coasties.  The Coast Guard is how my parents met.  Therefore, if not for a certain branch of the military, there would be no Kelly Hefty.

But what about the often underrepresented ones who are involved in the military? What about the ones who are holding down the forts while their brave soldiers are holding down the big fort?  Today, I want to talk about them.

It takes such a special kind of person to be a military spouse.  It is also a huge commitment for them.  These men and women are fighting the front lines here at home, often without their loved one close by.  They also are willing to be prepared to move across the country (or world) and many are even master packers.

Amber and Abe 2

A great example of one of these wonderful people is a friend that I have had for a large chunk of my life named Amber.  She has a true happy story; marrying the love of her life whom she began dating while in high school.  I have never met a wife who is a more enthusiastic supporter of her husband, active military or not.  Amber is always posting online about how proud she is to be married to her highly accomplished helicopter pilot husband.

It is wonderfully inspiring to have watched from a very far distance (the span of America to be exact!). She is truly the epitome of  a wife who has embraced the military lifestyle.  When they were stationed to Washington State, Amber was so excited to embrace their new adventure. Since moving there, they have welcomed their new sweetheart into the world this past June, and it doesn’t take long to see that he was born into a home filled with love, support, and pride for service to our country.

Shelf After 1Amber is a skilled diy-er as well.  She uses her creativity to make really cute items, mostly for her home and for babies.  She even made a really nice ruler growth chart for my sweet Tate’s bedroom.  She does all of these things while being a mom and wife really far away.  What I see when I communicate with Amber is a person who looks at her life as a real adventure and makes the most out of whatever situation that she is in.  She is spreading joy through her life, which is obviously one filled with service to America.

Military families might have to have their active military family member leave for weeks, months, sometimes longer at a time.  These spouses and children are often the motivation keeping America’s soldiers motivated, they are Home to them.  They are essentially the who and what is being fought for, so to them, thank you.

Josh and Julie
Josh and Julie signing their marriage license in New Orleans

On that note, I am also proud to call Josh and Julie my friends.  I truly credit them for opening my eyes to the world of military families.  Since knowing them I have learned so much, particularly in this area.  I have watched the support and love from both ends first hand.  You see, Josh is serving in the Air Force.  He is currently stationed for 6 months in Kyrgyzstan, and Julie is here in the Tampa Bay area, new to the area, with their precious 2 month old baby.

Julie is holding such a bundle of important roles and doing it all with such grace and willingness.  When I talked to her about the whole experience, she shared some awesome insights with me.  Julie mentioned to me that Skyping with Josh has been such a huge piece of keeping it all together.  When Josh was in basic training, they rarely got to talk, and there was even one disappointing circumstance where she missed his call! Luckily today, Julie and Josh get to see each other, as well as hear each other’s voices.  This is also so awesome for their new growing family.  Josh and their sweet baby get to see each other.  The baby gets to hear his dad’s voice while seeing his face, even if it is on a screen.  Likewise, Josh can watch him grow better than before.

Julie also mentioned that finding a group of people that she can be close to has been a huge support for her.  Julie happened to find her core group at a local church.  She said that having people to help her stay busy while she’s plenty busy at home with a newborn has really made her time easier.

If you’re like me, you often want to help or to say the right thing.  If you’re even more like me, you end up tripping all over your words because you’re awkward so you end up saying something really dumb instead.  Here is a link with a list of things NOT to say to a military family.

I might also suggest lending a helping hand.  I am not saying that military spouses “need” help, I feel that they are perfectly capable people.  I am saying that help would probably be appreciated, just like you or I would appreciate it.  I would suggest offering up services that you would to a friend, not necessarily someone in need.  Have their family over for dinner, babysit sometimes, even just a note or a phone call would go a really long way.  Often times, military families are new to the area, try being a welcome wagon.  We can support every day, we don’t have to save it for Veteran’s Day.

If you see a Veteran today, please thank them.  If you see a military spouse today, give them a hug, too.  Thank them for making the choice to follow such a calling and to live in a way that keeps us sleeping safely at night.

Kelly H. is a Tampa Bay area native who married her high school sweetheart in 2005. She teaches elementary school while raising two young boys, Cameron and Tate, who love to keep her on her toes. In her rare spare time, Kelly likes to run and blog about finding joy and blessings in the day to day (10,000 Reasons). You can also find her on Facebook.