Last month, my wife and I celebrated our 34th wedding anniversary. “Celebrate” is perhaps an exalted expression, but we did splurge a bit and went out to Olive Garden with our youngest son. Obviously, we know how to throw a celebration.
Perhaps it was the passing of another year, or maybe it was just my nostalgic bent, but as I looked at our life together I began to consider what my wife had to give up to marry me. The fact is, her decision to marry me came with a price. She was a mid-western girl who married a southern boy. Had she married a nice Minnesotan, she could have lived closer to her family. She could have maintained more of her Scandinavian traditions, and gotten on with an ordinarily wonderful life, I’m sure. But we were young, foolish and determined to wed.
She took my hand, a hand that was empty. When we married, I had a one day-a-week job washing dishes at the seminary cafeteria. But not to worry, I also had mounting school debt. Indeed, I was a real catch. Lord knows, she didn’t marry me for my money or great job. But she married me and somehow we made it.
During my years of service, my sweetheart, like many a military spouse, has rolled up her sleeves and taken care of business. When I deployed she was mom and dad. In my absence, she dealt with hormonal teens, homework, school, sports and schedules. She dealt with broken cars, dead computers, busted pipes, she even evacuated the family for a hurricane. Through it all, she made it look easy. After all, she’s a mom and moms can do anything. Just tell the kids what’s going on, sympathize with their circumstances and get on with it. She’s tough. She had to be, she’s a military spouse.
So as another February rolls around, I want to say to my wife, thank you for being the love of my life and my forever Valentine.
And, to every military spouse and veteran … thanks for your service and sacrifice.
Courtesy of Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Larry Fowler 56th fighter Wing Chapel