I am a United States Coast Guard Veteran and now Military Spouse.
"I take care of military families. Their sacrifices are very real."
— Mark Vonnegut
My husband sacrifices a lot daily. He sacrifices his safety, his time, his life, and his (immediate) family time especially with his children while at work. He also has to sacrifice time with his spouse, whole extended family, and other things whether he is at work or not. While his sacrifices do not go unseen or unappreciated, we have to remember that the family that stands beside the members also sacrifice, no matter how old or young.
Let's talk about the sacrifice spouses/partners make. Some of these are in general and some are personal that I've been struggling with lately. When it comes to spouses/partners and members who have small children, "me" time as a spouse/partner is not an option. While some may say, "do it while your spouse/partner is home," that is hard because as soon as your member comes home from work, most like to spend as much time together as possible. You never know when the member can be recalled, only have a short amount of time home, or if they are leaving for an extended period of time.
Spouses/partners of members sacrifice their careers or jobs. Changing locations every couple of years can be tough. You get established and into a routine at a job and before you know it, it's time to move. Other issues can be affording child care for small children or even obtaining child care in the first place. In my personal situation, we are currently struggling to find care for our baby boy. He is on as many waiting lists at as many places as we can truly afford in our budget. Suggestions we get often is, "find a reliable sitter or nanny for your child." Most people can agree that unless you have reliable family or sometimes friends, trusting others with your children alone is a huge thing.
Friendships. We sacrifice the friendships we make. We have no one when we first move to a new place. We start a job or we make a new group of friends from your members unit. You get tight knit and form a close group, then you all go your separate ways. Some friends become forever friends, and some dwindle and distance themselves as they make new friends. We sacrifice the bonds/friendships we make.
I was told I may need surgery on my back, a fusion to be exact. But, my husband and I are in between a rock and a hard place. I have been fighting this injury since September of 2016 and I am ready for it to be fixed. The sacrifice I have to make is not being able to lift my children for three months, being in pain for six to eight months, and having to let my spine fuse together for a whole year. When my husband works, I am the one lifting my children in and out of the car. He cannot take off of work and none of our family can take off that extended amount of time. We also do not have the room in our house to put up a family member for that amount of time and I cannot afford to be out of work that long, see my sacrifice?
This one has popped up recently. For those members and spouses/partners who have children, this can be a hard one. They make many sacrifices no matter what age. They may not realize they are sacrificing, but we as adults recognize it.
Grandparents come to visit. It is a happy visit, your heart is full to see yours and/or your significant others parents enjoying time with their grand-babies. That day comes where its time to head to the airport. You see your children crying, hurting, and yearning for their grandparent as they enter their security check. This is a sacrifice.
Yours and your significant others siblings do not get to see their nieces or nephews. Your own nieces and nephews do not get to play with and grow up with their cousins. Their miles and miles away. This is another sacrifice.
The most common is friends. Attending school or after care and making good friends only to be separated by miles when it comes time to transfer. While it is cool to have friends all over the world, it can be upsetting to not be able to see them. Not being able to settle in one place and graduate with your best friend since kindergarten or even sixth grade can be tough. This is the most common and known sacrifice.
Our children sacrifice all kinds of routine, comfort, and relationships that they do not realize.
This is self explanatory and explained throughout the above text. Grandparents, Aunts, Uncles, Cousins, Nieces, Nephews, Great Grandparents, Great Aunts, Great Uncles also sacrifice. They sacrifice getting to watch the members children and family in general grow up.
While we appreciate and acknowledge the sacrifice daily that the member of the military makes, do not forget the rest of the waterfall. The members sacrifice trickles down to their spouse/partner, to their children, and to their extended family. It is a long line of sacrificing.
© 2019 Dana Abbott