I know my husband, but my soldier can sometimes still be a stranger. Two years ago, when we were still just dating from opposite ends of the country, it became clear to me on a plane ride home from Washington that I would never truly, fully know the Captain. He is a Veteran of the War on Terror, and continues to serve in the Infantry. I don’t think I ever knew how little I knew about what our soldiers do for us until I became involved with one.
The Captain is a man of few words, but he is a deep thinker. You would never know it by looking at him, and it took me a long time to figure it out. He’s not the smoothest operator- he used USAA as a pickup line to strike up conversation with me. Seriously. He, like many soldiers, doesn’t do well communicating feelings. Instead of talking to me about his experiences on deployments, he sent me links to stories about them, like this one, written about his last days in Afghanistan.
On this Veteran’s Day, I think about what my soldier has sacrificed for his country. He has lost years of his life to fight wars overseas. He has lost brothers in combat. He has lost months of time with his family; our baby is only five months old and he has already missed 79 baths and bedtimes. Sometimes I find myself getting frustrated that he’s working long hours, missing his son’s smiles and laughter, or taking off for yet another training mission for weeks on end- it’s hard not to get mad that your husband is missing out on your family’s life when he’s not even fighting a war.
I asked him a few weeks back, after he hadn’t seen our baby in 4 days because of how much he was working, why he couldn’t just let things slide- why he wouldn’t press “pause” on some tasks and make it home for bedtime. Without missing a beat he said, “So that if we do deploy- if something happens- I’ll know I did everything I could to make sure my guys aren’t fucked.”
Well then. You can’t argue with that.
I’m proud of my soldier. There are things I will never understand about him and his passion for serving his country, but I appreciate what he and his fellow Veterans have done for our freedom.
Thank you, Captain, for being a badass. And thank you to all of the badasses that serve with him, and those who served before him.
Happy Veterans Day.