Everything in this world is more easily understood and yet sometimes more difficult to comprehend now that I have Wilder. All those mommas with babies in the service — beyond me.

(Yes. I said babies. Before Wilder: Look at that strapping solider or tough GI Jane person. After Wilder: That's someone's child.)

Is there anything quite like the pride and prayers of a momma with a child fighting for our country? To know your child is the sort willing to sacrifice all the things the rest of us are not so that we can do all that we can do.

So that I can raise Wilder as we see fit. So that we can sit in church on Sundays. So whenever and however we choose, we can tell the world what we believe. So that our press is free and country is still a place where we can vehemently disagree and yet still feel goosebumps when they belt out the Star Spangled Banner at a ballgame.

Before Wilder was born I prayed he would be brave. That he would be courageous. I'm still not completely sure what they means. (And am now moderately terrified and yet hopeful he is utterly brave.) Every time I see a serviceman or woman in uniform I think of how very brave they must be to willingly put themselves in harm's way for the greater good. And now as a mother I think "Your mom is worried sick about you! And probably so proud she is bursting with it."

I'm sure the service is full of people with parents less than fully supportive and so today to them I say at least this momma sees you and thanks you. And big. This momma is proud you choose to serve and thankful for all you sacrifice for so many of us that frankly don't have to sacrifice a thing.

Today I say thank you to all the mommas of those who serve. For all the nights it's hard to sleep. For all your family sacrifices. For every family with a place at the table that will never be filled again. For what you must've done right to raise a man or woman willing to lay down self for people often less than grateful and certainly most often unaware of what it takes.

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Today I say a big thank you to the wives and husbands and to the children of those that serve. For sharing your husbands and wives and mothers and fathers with our country. For the temporarily single parents that have to do this parenthood thing solo sometimes and keep their cool in the toddler or teenage war zone while their spouses are in the real war zone. Who carry their phone every second of the day lest they miss a call that won't come again for days. For every mother who was alone in the delivery room and every parent sitting alone at the school plays and the parent-teacher conference. To every widow who grieves with measures of sorrow and pride the rest of us can never fathom. To every child who won't have a father to walk them down the aisle or a mother to assure them no one else in the whole world is quite as special as they are.

Words of thanks could never match the tangible sacrifices service men and women and their families make each day. Just know — we notice. We see you. And while people like me could never truly understand, we are truly and deeply grateful. 

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