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I’m a military wife and mom—and I’m so lucky

As hard as this lifestyle can be, the level of pride I feel for the men and women of the Armed Forces is off-the-charts.

I’m a military wife and mom—and I’m so lucky

You could say I'm experienced with the military lifestyle. One grandpa was a Marine, one grandpa was in the Navy. My step-dad and brother-in-law are Air Force technicians. My dad was a Navy pilot, and my husband is a flight officer in the Navy.

My husband and I didn't see each other during the month of April for the first six years of our relationship. He missed every other month of our daughter's first year of life. I've said goodbye countless times and will say goodbye countless more.

We've had wrenches thrown in our family planning as we missed yet another ovulation time frame. He had to leave my pregnant self behind when hurricanes were hitting us to make sure the Navy planes were safe—twice!

I've had to explain that daddy is still gone for work to little ones that have no concept of how long a month is.

And yet, I'm one of the luckiest Navy wives I know. We haven't had a major deployment (six to nine months long) in years. He has been present at the births of both our daughters.

You think you can't wait for your overdue baby to make her way into the world? Try having a countdown when your husband will deploy for eight months and see how much spicy food you'll eat and how many long walks you'll take to get those contractions going!

I have friends whose husbands haven't met their babies until they are three months old. We haven't faced any injuries in the field or serious illnesses at home. Our kids are young enough that we haven't had to move in January and disrupt a school year.

Growing up, I said that I didn't want the military lifestyle . I didn't want to move all the time, and I didn't want to constantly have to say goodbye and watch my kids miss their daddy.

But then I met my future husband, and those plans went out the window.

He was worth it, and now that I'm a spouse, I see so much more of what this lifestyle entails.

Yes, my daughters will miss their daddy, and he will miss them. But they see how much he loves them with each return hug, each video he tapes for them when he is gone, each moment he makes sure he is fully present for when he is home.

We went to a friend's birthday party recently, and every baby there was being held by a military dad. They have to take their quality time when they can get it!

The goodbyes aren't just with my husband though. Military life is a lifestyle, and most of my friends also have spouses in the military since we are normally based in a "military town." And that means that I am always saying goodbye to one of them too, or my daughter is saying goodbye to a friend that is moving.

We try to say, "Goodbye for now," because there is a chance we will be stationed at the same base at a later date. I actually got mad when one of my non-military friends moved because she was supposed to be one of my guaranteed friends!

The military world is filled with love though. Watch YouTube videos of homecomings and see the outpouring of affection from people that are each other's everything—on second thought, don't watch them or you won't be able to see out of your puffy, still-crying eyes tomorrow.

I saw my 2-year old tell my husband, "I love you so much, Dada," when he returned from a long trip. She had never even said anything with that much emotion to me!

Every time he comes back, it has a rejuvenating effect on our marriage. It's hard to get annoyed with someone when you just spent the past six weeks praying for their safety and hoping time flies by. Even if you do still get annoyed by how he leaves every cabinet and drawer open, you missed him so much you bite your tongue for a little while. And at least I can see how hot he looks in a flight suit again.

As hard as the separation can be, the level of pride I feel for the men and women of the Armed Forces is off-the-charts. Their knowledge and dedication protects those of us on the homefront.

Thank a veteran for their service. Let them know that you are grateful, and that all the time spent training and abroad was appreciated.

It can be a hard life for our soldiers, living in barracks and on ships, apart from the people they love, facing danger to protect our country. We will most likely have another deployment coming up in the next couple of years. Our kids will be older and will have to learn what it is like to have daddy gone for a very long time.

But I know that when he leaves, our family's love will grow while he is gone, and hopefully that thought brings him home safely and quickly.

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

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