To all the Military Spouses [Clarksville Family Photographer]

Today is Military Spouse Appreciation Day, and with Mother's Day this weekend, I wanted to take a second and say, I see you, and I thank you. Since I am incapable of short stories, I apologize, this one will be lengthy!

Too often, the job of a military spouse, and a mom, is overlooked. I know some days you feel totally invisible. I know how hard this life you live is. You're loved one is gone long stretches of time where you sometimes have no communication with them. They're in harms way frequently and you worry... you worry for their safety, you worry for their hearts. I've been the one gone before and I've been the one at home, and don't get me wrong, being gone is SO hard, but it is a million times harder being the one who is home. You're left to carry on as normal, and add in some kiddos to the mix and it's just pure chaos!

I see you on the days where it feels like nothing goes right and you can't talk to your loved one. I don't judge you as you as you pour that glass of wine, turn on the TV for the kids and make a frozen pizza and call it a win if you can sit down with your drink for just a few minutes of solace.

I thank you for the countless nights you've spent alone, cuddled up on a couch watching a tv show you wish you were watching with your loved one while your dog snores peacefully besides you. I feel that pain deep in your heart (that you do your best to hide away) when you see other couples out having dinner and you wish you could have date nights too. My heart hurts for you every time you say goodbye, wishing time would speed up so you can say hello again. I know that even after they come home, it's sometimes so hard to find your routine as a couple and family again. And even when they aren't gone for nine months at a time, those fast but frequent trainings, TDYs, or short stints overseas are sometimes just as bad, if not worse.

I've been there... frustrated at how your spouse's career always takes precedence over yours, even when you guys try to not let it, it happens. I know the sadness you feel at having to up and move every few years, saying good bye to friends and memories, worrying over meeting new ones, and having to establish new everything-- homes, doctors, schools, friends, utilities, favorite restaurants and hair salons, vets, animals groomers and boarders, the list goes on and on. And you do this ALL. THE. TIME....Yet without complaint (usually), you get the household up and running in no time so that your loved one can focus on his or her job. 

I know you drop everything to support your service member's career. You go to FRG meetings and volunteer to host people at your home with less than ideal notice and you rock it like a total boss. I see you as you spend yet another special holiday away from your loved ones, feeling both jealous of "normal" civilians and hopeful that maybe next year he or she will be there too.

If you're a momma too, you are the one taking off work when your littles are sick, or have doctors appointments, school recitals, and you're there for all the special events and moments, wishing your partner was there too. Your heart can burst with pride while simultaneously feeling so heartbroken that he or she isn't there to see your son or daughter score his/her first soccer goal or act in the school play. I know your heartache and how you desperately record all the moments you can on your phone for them to watch later. I see you when you decide that because their job is so unpredictable, it makes the most sense for you to give up your career and stay home to raise those babies. I know you wouldn't trade those snuggles and little moments with tiny hands who so desperately love and need you, but you also miss being around other adults and feeling fulfilled professionally. There are some days where you may not talk to another adult at all. I know how lonely it can be to be a stay at home mom, and even more so when your a military spouse. I know you want to be angry that he or she isn't home in time for dinner or bath or bedtime, but you're not because you get it, he/she isn't choosing work over you, it's just "the nature of the beast."

I speak the same language as you... I know how annoying it can be to translate military terms to friends and family for the 100th time. You don't miss a beat when you're friends have conversations that sound like "we're tracking how FUBAR this upcoming PCS is because HRC has delayed orders.... or the LES isn't showing correct info and your BAH isn't right...or you're waiting on his BZ look and have no clue where you're going next..." girl, I feel you. I cherish being able to talk to other mil spouses that just "get it" and that I don't have to explain every single word too.

You're constantly having to update friends and family on your spouse's life, and I know that frustration when mom, grandpa, or Aunt Sally asks you if you can be home for Christmas that year but you have no clue if he/she will be able to take leave or even be in the country. It sucks not being able to plan far out in advance. It sucks when you try to plan something and have to change it a million times right before because the military has changed their dates. You spend a small fortune on changing flights or hotels last minute because the military must come first. I know how frustrating it is at not knowing what next year, next month, heck next week, even looks like for your spouse. I applaud you for being able to always pick up the slack when you have to.

You're a rockstar and easily do the jobs of a secretary, travel agent, nurse, coach, chef, seamstress, therapist, playmate, teacher, laundress, accountant, nanny... heck the list goes on and on. And you do it all while proudly standing behind your service member, cheering for them with their success at work, praying for their safety, mourning with them in their sadness, and picking them up when they feel down. So today, remember these two things: 1. you are awesome and 2. you should be thanked just as much as your service member is. Your job at home IS important. You are serving too, and you deserve more than just one day a year to feel valued. So thank you to all my fellow military spouses and mamas..... keep crushing it. I see you, and you're job is NOT invisible. Happy Military Spouse Appreciation Day friends!

Oh... and in honor of this special day, the awesome gals over at Amity Salon in Downton Clarksville hosted a military spouse appreciation pampering day! I was lucky enough to hang out with some awesome women enjoying mimosas and champagne while we got massaged, shampooed, and styled. Obviously I brought along my camera and snapped some pics...Thank you Amity for this special treat!