I would have to say those two simple words are some of the nicest. Aren't they? Appreciation is always grand. It's even better when it's unexpected.
The other day, I was dropping some fundraising paperwork at a studio. I was supposed to return it earlier that week during a class. However, as deployments can muck up a schedule and sitters can cancel, I had to miss the class. I did call and explain why on the voice mail system. I'm sorry I can't make it. My husband's deployed and my sitter wasn't able to come for the kids. Someone from the office returned my phone call and thanked me for the message. Alright, that was taken care of.
Days later I manage to get myself to the office. Ran in, dropped paperwork off, gave a half-hearted wave and said I have to run, the kids are waiting. The owner asks me to hang on for a second as she puts her call on hold. She smiles and says, I didn't even realize your husband was in the military. We missed you this week, but we understand. Boy, things must be hectic for you. I responded It's okay, we are used to this. It's our life. I was in the service once too, so it's old hat. Eyes wide and as if I had just announced my husband and I had super powers, she says to me, Thank you. Thank you to you and your husband. My heart swelled with pride. I smiled and nodded not knowing really how to respond. You're welcome seemed a tad silly. My pleasure would appear a tad egotistical. So, a nod and a smile to note my appreciation for her recognition felt sufficient. She knew though. She knew the sacrifice and the commitment it all takes. She herself was married to a former soldier.
Suddenly, this woman who was just an acquaintance and a teacher now had a connection with me. It's this sisterhood we have in the military community. A feeling of kinship with folks who can celebrate and commiserate with us. It's this family, this wonderful family, for which I'm thankful. Thank you to my comrades for being there for me and for all the spouses who have served in these silent ranks--weeks, years and generations before me. Thank you.