Last May, my husband and I attended the annual Military Ball. My daughter, who is three years old, was beyond amazed with my simple yet elegant military ball gown and her daddy who resembled a prince in his dress blues. Like most things, I expected her to talk about the ball for a few days and then I assumed that slowly the event would fade from her conversations and eventually from her memory. To my surprise she mentioned the ball almost every day for MONTHS. She could not wait to go to her own ball “someday.”
My husband has been pretty absent (physically) this past year. He’s been on several missions that require him to be gone for months only to come home for a couple of weeks and leave again. The continual “coming, and going,” has been taxing on our little family. I’ve picked up my little girl more than once from preschool crying for her daddy, and felt the sting of my little boy’s longing to play with daddy instead of mommy. I’ve questioned more times than I can count, why I ever thought it was a good idea to be a military wife. My patience is tested regularly, I celebrate milestones alone, and it feels like that-aside from the military community and a few patriotic civilian groups- nobody really appreciates the service and sacrifices my family makes. It seemed as if the general public was growing less and less concerned with our well-being (Lone Survivor). I had a moment of weakness. Amidst this brief moment of weakness a small; yet, defining miracle occurred that reinforced the honor I possess as a military spouse and taught me an extremely important lesson.
Remember my little girl’s obsession with the ball? Right before Christmas my husband was called on another mission. We wanted to do something special as a family before he left and I had the perfect idea. I thought it would be so precious to do a photo shoot that included a miniature princess (my little girl) and her GI-prince (my husband) at their own personal ball. I knew it would take some persuading because my husband doesn’t really like to be photographed in his uniform, but surprisingly he was more than willing to participate (I attribute his willingness to his understanding of my feelings towards photos expressed in an earlier article: “The Pictures I Never Took“). When I told my little girl she was going to the ball her whole world turned into a fairy tale and the happiness I witnessed in her eager anticipation is something I will never forget.