It’s National Military Spouse Appreciation Day. This day is always celebrated the Friday before Mother’s Day. We all know, in the past that would have been very appropriate. The stereo-type still has most people thinking it’s only men in the military, but that is no longer the case. I didn’t check, but perhaps this day should also be celebrated the Friday before Father’s Day.

I’m an ex-spouse of an Air Force member. I’m proud that I was able to serve my country in that capacity. Serve, you ask? You’re darn right! We left our families behind, went where we were told, when we were told, and my kids have no real roots as their schools changed as often as our address did. I don’t mean to sound like I am complaining, but a transient life at the will of Uncle Sam is a lot less grounded than a life close to your own hometown with the folks handy to call on when a baby is about to arrive or one of the kids is sick.

In war-time when a military spouse is deployed, the other spouse is left holding all the responsibilities of the family. I have had people say to me, “Well, you knew that’s what you signed up for.” That’s true, but again, it’s not the same when you are in a foreign country or living on a military installation that is in the boonies of a state you are unfamiliar with. The best part is, the other spouses are in the same situation, and you bond quickly with the neighbors. The sad part, is when you get transferred, you rarely hear from those people again. It truly is a nomadic way of life. In my case, the experiences I had and the places I got to live and visit made up for that.

Some civil service jobs give preference to ex-military members. I feel that should also be extended to the ex-military dependents but I doubt that will ever happen.

I fly an American flag, correctly lit, 24/7. My time as a military spouse has given me an understanding that people not connected to the military don’t have and I’m proud of it. Next time you see a military member and think of saying thank you to them, add, and to your family too. I’m sure they will appreciate it.