The Silent Sacrifice of Military Families

Today in America, supporting the troops is considered fashionable. A far cry from the days of Vietnam when our servicemembers were spit on and called murderers, today organizations like Soldiers' Angels are thriving and have thousands upon thousands of volunteers dedicated to helping our troops. And this is as it should be: our men and women in the military deserve our support. They sacrifice so much for us -- time away from their families, having to live in miserable conditions while deployed, risking their lives every day, and all to defend the freedoms that we enjoy and take for granted. Some shed blood for their country, and some give their lives in the ultimate sacrifice for freedom.

But what about those you don't see? The families of the deployed, the ones who get left behind, are making sacrifices, too. But people don't think of us, because what we do doesn't draw attention. And there isn't much that anyone can do for us, either. We wait, hoping and praying that our husband or son or father will return safe and in one piece. The life of a military spouse is hard. You carry your phone with you everywhere, even into the shower, just in case they call. And when they do, you make sure never to tell them what's going wrong at home, because you need them 100% focused on their mission. And even if that phone call only lasts thirty seconds, it makes your entire day. You spend weeks planning what you're going to put into this month's care package and how you're going to decorate it. You keep pictures of him everywhere around the house, so that the kids can constantly see their dad's face. You count down the days until they come home, and you plan your outfit and welcome home banner months in advance. You worry about the homecoming, too. Will they be different? Will we be different? Will my son remember his father? And then as soon as they're home, you're gearing up for another deployment again.

This is my life: a Marine Corps wife. And this is our story.