By Katrina Lusk
May 7th is recognized as Military Spouse Appreciation Day, which provides an important opportunity to remember the service of our nation’s military spouses. This day offers an occasion to pause and recognize the significant contributions military spouses make toward the force readiness of the United States. Through grit, determination, courage, and optimism, we spouses keep the home fires burning so our service members can maintain the required op tempo.
The call to serve is not always synonymous with camouflage and glory, sometimes it comes from loving someone in the military, and quite a lot of what a military spouse does goes unnoticed and unrecognized. It’s the rinse, wash, and repeat of everyday life. You know – work, school, kids’ activities, dinner, routine home maintenance with the occasional plumbing disaster or car catastrophe mixed in as a challenge while your service member is away. The thing that makes military spouses exceptional is their ability to juggle all of this while maintaining a positive attitude and finding humor in the struggles and uncertainty that are often a regular aspect of military life.
You can’t celebrate triumphs without acknowledging the very real difficulties military spouses face, and sacrifices made in support of our service members. Not doing so would be a disservice to them and obscure their value. It takes true perseverance and ingenuity to unpack a house, register your kids for their third school in three years, and define your new normal with each PCS or deployment. Adjusting to continuous change can be exhausting. But the majority of military spouses do these things with grace and tenacity.
Making new friends and networking for your next career requires constant effort and attention. Building that new tribe of friends and co-workers takes time and can feel like a never-ending series of speed dating. But it can be one of the most rewarding and empowering experiences; one where the best friendships are made. The network built between military spouses is one you can rely on for more than a cup of sugar. These are relationships of unwavering strength and support; it’s the kind of group you want to do life with. Military spouses are the people you’ve only just met and offer to help unpack your moving truck and bring you dinner. We become friends who help you raise your kids, keep your home, and survive deployments that last longer than a year. We are ones who recognize the strength in vulnerability and being authentic. We see each challenge as an opportunity to learn and thrive.
If you know a military spouse, please make an effort, not just today, but every day, to celebrate them and acknowledge the infrastructure and support they have provided their loved ones. If you’re an employer, I encourage you to recognize the work ethic and commitment military spouses bring to the table and make a concerted effort within your company to recruit and hire them. If you are a military spouse, keep on keeping on and know that you are an essential part of the military puzzle – cheers to you!