strong as a mother

My mother always told me that not everyone is cut out to be a military spouse. She’s reminded me in handwritten cards, while we're catching up over the phone, and in the rare occasions I get to visit with her. She reminds me of how I, me, Jordan Elaine, made the cut. I've always accepted her kind and loving words of support and encouragement with a smile and a "yeah I know" but it wasn't until a harsh and emotional breakdown on the bathroom floor, in the middle of the night, that those words of encouragement pierced my heart and opened my eyes to realize her words held a powerful truth. I found my inner strength that night. I found my girl-power. 

"It takes a strong woman to be a military spouse".
The words rang loud and clear when I was crying out my stress, anxiety, fear, and loneliness on the bathroom floor a few weeks ago. My two babies were crying in the background. Each keeping one another awake with their cries and shrieks. Both seeking my comfort. "Why! I only have two hands!!” I cried to myself. My patience and ability to comfort them was drained from the day. Two hands were missing that night. My husbands. He wasn't home.He couldn't help me. He couldn't carry the load. He wasn't there to comfort one child so I may comfort the other, he was thousands of miles away, serving a tour in Afghanistan. So instead of tending to their immediate cries, I take a moment and I cry. Oh my goodness how amazing it felt to cry, NO, to bawl. I slowly began to regain composure when my mother’s incessant statement of “it takes a strong woman to be a military spouse" was ringing loud in my head. I started to then think about all of the really tough seasons in my life that I have had no other choice but to simply embrace and overcome less favorable or flat out difficult moments because the military needed my husband. This country needed my husband. The greater call of service and sacrifice needed my husband.

That night I reminded myself that I am the unseen service and sacrifice in the background. I am serving this country behind the member wearing the uniform. Within a year I've spent days, weeks and months without my husband. We've even been apart an entire year at one point in our life.

I've eaten supper alone at the dining table for months on end as he's worked an unfavorable shift. I've given birth to two babies with no family around to celebrate or to guide me into the transition of motherhood. I've slept in a bed alone more times than I can count. I've handled appointments, finances, sick children, severe weather without my husband by my side. I've taken care of two babies in the middle of the night without the luxury of rolling over and saying "your turn". My husband has missed milestones our babies have achieved, birthdays and holidays. 

That night I reminded myself that I'm not the only spouse who has had to handle these types of sacrifices. I'm not the only spouse who's experienced tough seasons of loneliness. 

I thought about the day our newborn daughter was rushed to the ER for breathing difficulties. She was transported to a more accommodating children's hospital. My husband was with me, thankfully, but with no family around, who watched our toddler while we gathered our things to meet the ambulance at the hospital?

Fellow military spouses. My sisters. My friends. My family away from family. Not grandparents or aunts and uncles. After those memories plagued my heart my crying ceased.

I handled those experiences with a calm strength and even though I never get used to my husband having to leave, every-time he does, I find my inner-strength has strengthened. 

This country will always get my husband before I do.

To those who are reading this, my husband serves you before he is truly able to serve me sometimes.

It's a surreal experience when your husband is deployed, away on an assignment, or simply not around because the military needs him. As a spouse I've learned that I must continue to live my life without his companionship. The life that he and I have lovingly created must continue to be lived in his absence. The days that he is away challenge me to my core at times, but they're also some of the most memorable and rewarding days of my life as well. 

I'm grateful for the ability I have found in being self-sufficient in order to take care of our family. To show these girls of ours love, care, and strength in some of the toughest days their mother faces mentally, physically and emotionally without their father. I'm grateful for my military sisters that are here to help me, support me, encourage me, love me, and to love on my children. I'm grateful for the special bond I get to experience with my daughters, and I'm grateful for both the challenges and rewards that come with solo-parenting.

I'm especially grateful for the deepest love I have for my husband, because at the end of the day that's what gets me through every departure and every arrival, love. Simple love. 

The girl-power found in military spouses is indescribable. The women I've met are tough. They’re supportive and loving of one another. They look out for one another. I'm grateful and truly honored to live alongside a community of heroes that serve this country. Both the member and their spouse, no matter the challenge, no matter the length of time we find ourselves away from our loved one we do it with utter power and persevere. 

My heart and love is with my fellow spouses that serve this country who experience similar and much more challenging hardships, but we survive and thrive and grow from every season. 

While my husband continues to selflessly serve this county, I selflessly serve our family always clinging on to the greater hope that all those overseas return home safely. 

Until the next hug. The next first kiss. Here’s to the girl power always handling the home front.