Three years ago we started the dance of deployment. For National Guardsmen the steps are more brutal on homelife than other military branches because for us the training days that make up a full time soldier's work are only once a month. Which means when deployment stretches it's fingers over our units, pulling them into its grasp, training becomes a long event of multiple MUTA's shoved into weeks, tossed across a year. The soldiers are thrown between home and readiness and back again. We never knew when he'd be home. We never knew what he would miss when he wasn't.
Deployment is more that one soldier leaving to do a job. It's everything that person leaves behind as well. While they are fighting and struggling and working to repair and replace, they have offered up to everyone that benefits from it a part of their lives they will never get back. Their families give this to the world as well.
My children gave you their father. They gave you every missed hug and kiss, every bedtime story that never got read. Every birthday when all they wished for was their daddy to walk through the door. All the tears they shed because part of who they were was missing. They selflessly put aside their wants and needs for a dad to come home every night, to cuddle and share and gave that to you instead. They gave theirs so yours wouldn't have to. Every memory they could have shared with their father and couldn't because of his absence was their gift to the world.
This Veteran's Day I'd like for you to add a few more people to your thoughts and prayers, I'd like you to take a moment to remember the silent supporters that wept alone, that birthed alone, that grew and experinced life missing that special person, that woke up every day hoping to hear from their loved ones. Praying to any and every God that it wouldn't be the last time they did.