Menu

Why some days I don’t want to be thanked for my sacrifice (but please still thank me)

I am honored to sacrifice. But some days, I have craved home so deeply I could taste it.

Why some days I don’t want to be thanked for my sacrifice (but please still thank me)

The originally essay by Cari can be found on the Military Moms Blog.


“Thank you for your service!” the cashier at the commissary smiled cheerfully as she handed my ID back to me.

I usually answer with a polite, “It’s an honor!’ because it is.

Supporting my husband while he serves our country is an incredible honor that I take seriously, and it fills me with pride.

Some days and weeks and months, it doesn’t even feel like a sacrifice at all.

But not that day.

That day I just muttered, “Thank you for saying that …” and bagged my groceries before the lump in my throat threatened to turn to hot tears.

That day I was feeling every bit of that service.

And it felt like sacrifice.

I felt it in a way I would have never expected when I stood next to my husband as he took his oath of office. When he swore to defend the constitution, I imagined I would feel the sting of loneliness during deployments and training.

When he vowed to discharge these duties faithfully, I thought vaguely of the rigors of military life and took a deep breath when I thought of the potential harm he might find himself in. I considered the sacrifices and thought myself prepared.

We’d been married six months when he took that oath. We’d barely unpacked our boxes in our first tiny apartment together, and it wouldn’t even be another six months until we were packing them up again to head south.

Eight years later, and we’ve unpacked five times since then—five new addresses where I’ve hung our wedding pictures and put out a welcome mat.

Five different cities have seen me venturing out with trepidation to introduce myself, “Hi, I’m Cari. We just moved in,” and five times I’ve grieved goodbyes that have felt more and more difficult with each move.

I am honored to sacrifice. But some days, like the day I almost cried at the commissary, I have craved home so deeply I could taste it.

Some days, instead of duty stations, I want family. I want my kids to sleep over at Grandma and Grandpa’s house and to be able to have lunch with Nana. I want my toddler to play with her cousin who is just months younger than her instead of thinking she only exists in FaceTime.

I want familiar streets and neighborhoods and to feel like we belong to a community instead of feeling like we’re borrowing a community.

I want the predictability of knowing where we’ll live, not just two years from now but 22 years from now.

Some days I don’t want to be thanked for my sacrifice. I don’t want to make a sacrifice. I want to put down roots.

And I’m not the only one.

All military families are sacrificing more than meets the eye.

Military families are moving and worrying and adapting in ways we never could have imagined before we began our military journeys.

As I left the commissary that day and drove off base using GPS because I still didn’t know my way around, I took a deep breath and instead of thinking of what I didn’t have, I tried to start thinking about what I do have.

Because we military people have also become very skilled at adjusting our attitudes—surviving and thriving.

I may not have a place I call home, but I am rich in what I bring with me wherever I go.

I have friends that have become family. I’ve seen places and met people that have made my heart feel larger and the world feel smaller. I’ve got couches and kitchens in five different cities where I am welcomed with warmth.

I am a better person because of the new friends we make and a stronger person because of the goodbyes we have to say. When I stop and look again through that lens, I’m able to take a deep breath and remember that my sacrifice is an honor. In fact, it’s a joy.

So next time you thank a military spouse or child for their service, don’t be afraid to really thank them. And if you’re the one feeling the sting of sacrificing a place to call home, it’s okay to cry at the commissary.

Just remember you’re not alone.

Military Moms Blog is a national parenting website written by military moms for military moms. Our mission is to connect, support and uplift military parents around the world, including all branches of military, spouses, active duty and retired; to provide information and parenting perspectives unique to the military community, and to help promote businesses and brands that are perfect for the military family.

We are a collaborative blog that covers everything from moving, travel, employment and parenting to coping with deployments, finding military deals and navigating military acronyms. In short, we are the one-stop resource for moms raising kids while balancing military life.

In This Article

    14 toys that will keep your kids entertained inside *and* outside

    They transition seamlessly for indoor play.

    With fall in full swing, most parents are fresh out of boxes to check on their "Fun Concierge" hit list. It's also the point of diminishing returns on investing in outside-only toys. So with that in mind, we've rounded up some of our favorite toys that are not only built to last but will easily make the transition from outdoor to indoor play. Even better, they're Montessori-friendly and largely open-ended so your kids can get a ton of use out of them.

    From sunny backyard afternoons to rainy mornings stuck inside, these toys are sure to keep little ones engaged and entertained.

    Wooden doll stroller

    Janod wooden doll stroller

    Take their charges on a stroll around the block with this classic doll stroller. With the same versatility they're used to in their own ride, this heirloom quality carriage allows their doll or stuffy to face them or face the world.

    $120

    Detective set

    Plan Toys detective set

    This set has everything your little detective needs to solve whatever mystery they might encounter: an eye glasses, walkie-talkie, camera, a red lens, a periscope and a bag. Neighborhood watch? Watch out.

    $40

    Sand play set

    Plan Toys sand set

    Whether you're hitting the beach or the backyard sandbox, this adorable wooden sand set is ready for action. Each scoop has an embossed pattern that's perfect for sand stamping. They're also totally suitable for water play in the wild or the bathtub.

    $30

    Water play set

    Plan Toys water play set

    Filled with sand or water, this tabletop sized activity set keeps little ones busy, quiet and happy. (A mama's ideal trifecta 😉). It's big enough to satisfy their play needs but not so big it's going to flood your floors if you bring the fun inside on a rainy day.

    $100

    Mini golf set

    Plan Toys mini golf set

    Fore! This mini golf set is lawn and living room ready. Set up a backyard competition or incorporate into homeschooling brain breaks that shift focus and build concentration.

    $40

    Vintage scooter balance bike

    Janod retro scooter balance bike

    Pedals are so 2010. Balance bikes are the way to go for learning to ride a bike while skipping the training wheels stage altogether. This impossibly cool retro scooter-style is built to cruise the neighborhood or open indoor space as they're learning.

    $121

    Wooden rocking pegasus

    plan toys wooden rocking pegasus

    Your little will be ready to take flight on this fun pegasus. It gently rocks back and forth, but doesn't skimp on safety—its winged saddle, footrests and backrest ensure kids won't fall off whether they're rocking inside or outside.

    $100

    Croquet set

    Plan Toys croquet set

    The cutest croquet set we've ever seen! With adorable animal face wooden balls and a canvas bag for easy clean up, it's also crafted to stick around awhile. Round after round, it's great for teaching kiddos math and problem-solving skills as well.

    $45

    Wooden digital camera

    fathers factory wooden digital camera

    Kids get the chance to assemble the camera on their own then can adventure anywhere to capture the best moments. With two detachable magnetic lenses, four built-in filters and video recorder, your little photographer can tap into their creativity from summertime to the holidays.

    $179

    Wooden bulldozer toy

    plan toys wooden bulldozer toy

    Whether they're digging up sand in the backyad or picking up toys inside, kids can get as creative as they want picking up and moving things around. Even better? Its wooden structure means it's not an eye sore to look at wherever your digger drops it.

    $100

    Pull-along hippo

    janod toys pull along hippo toy

    There's just something so fun about a classic pull-along toy and we love that they seamlessly transition between indoor and outdoor play. Crafted from solid cherry and beechwood, it's tough enough to endure outdoor spaces your toddler takes it on.

    $33

    Baby forest fox ride-on

    janod toys baby fox ride on

    Toddlers will love zooming around on this fox ride-on, and it's a great transition toy into traditional balance bikes. If you take it for a driveway adventure, simply use a damp cloth to wipe down the wheels before bringing back inside.

    $88

    Balance board

    Plan Toys balance board

    Balance boards are a fabulous way to get the wiggles out. This one comes with a rope attachment, making it suitable for even the youngest wigglers. From practicing their balance and building core strength to working on skills that translate to skateboarding and snowboarding, it's a year-round physical activity that's easy to bring inside and use between Zoom classes, too!

    $75

    Meadow ring toss game

    Plan Toys meadow ring toss game

    Besides offering a fantastic opportunity to hone focus, coordination, determination and taking turns, lawn games are just plain fun. Set them up close together for the littles and spread them out when Mom and Dad get in on the action. With their low profile and rope rings, they're great for indoors as well.

    $30

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

    Shop
    Sunday Citizen

    I live in the Northeast and when I woke up this morning, my house was freezing. It had been in the mid 40's overnight and we haven't turned the heat on yet. Suddenly, my normal duvet felt too thin. The socks on my bare feet too non-existent. Winter is coming, and I'd been drinking rosés still pretending it was summer.

    I couldn't put it off any longer. It was time to do my annual tradition of winterizing my home—and I don't mean making sure my pipes and walls have enough insulation (though obviously that's important too). I mean the act of evaluating every room and wondering if it has enough hygge to it.

    If you've never heard of hygge, it's a Danish word that means a quality of coziness or contentment. And what better time to make sure you have moments of hygge all throughout your house than right now? As far as I'm concerned it's the only way to get through these dark winter months (even more so during a pandemic.)

    So I went room by room (yes, even my 4-year-old's room) and swapped in, layered or added in these 13 products to get us ready for winter:

    Keep reading Show less
    Shop

    Mama, all I see is you

    A love letter from your baby.

    Mama,

    I can't see past you right now, I'm so small and everything's a little blurry.

    All I see is you.

    When you feel alone, like the walls are closing in, remember I'm here too. I know your world has changed and the days feel a little lonely. But they aren't lonely for me.

    You are my everything.

    When you feel like you don't know what you're doing, you're making it look easy to me. Even though we're still getting to know each other, you know me better than anyone.

    I trust you.

    Keep reading Show less
    Life