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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.

Create a school-ready capsule wardrobe for your kids

Dress for success whether virtual learning or in the classroom!

Tina Meeks

Going "back to school" this year may be less of a literal statement than in years past—but there is just as much reason for your kids to celebrate moving on to new grades. Just like in every new school year, a big part of the fun is refreshing your kids' wardrobe with clothes that allow them to express themselves.

Even if finding back to school clothes this year doesn't include a trip to the mall, you can still make an event of it by shopping H&M's kids collection from your computer. Pull up another chair for your shopping buddy and get the cart started with these fave capsule wardrobe options we've already scouted.

Here are our favorite picks:

A t-shirt made for play

H&M t-shirt

Call them essentials, not basics. A graphic t-shirt aces the test when it comes to being perfect for school. And because your little student will probably want to wear something that expresses their personal style as often as possible, it's great to know the shirts can stand up to school time, playtime, downtime and everything in between!

$4.99

Dressed-up casual shorts for total comfort

H&M boy shorts

Whether pulling up a chair for a virtual meeting with the class or heading back to the school for in-person learning, some comfortable, yet stylish, shorts will help your kid focus on the real tasks at hand: learning—and having fun while doing it!

$19.99

Layers for when seasons change

H&M sweatshirt

When it comes to feeling comfortable at school, layers are the MVPs. Whether the AC is blasting or the day started off cool and is warming up quickly, having a unique sweatshirt to shed or add will help your kid look cool while staying warm.

$9.99

A bit of flair with distressed denim

H&M distressed jeans

A school staple for generations, denim is both classic and continually fashionable with updates like distressing and new wash colors. If you're shopping online for jeans this year, take note of H&M's generous return policy—your kids can try on the orders at home and return anything that doesn't fit without a trip to the store.

$24.99

A fashion statement piece

H&M girls skirt

What's better than expressing yourself through a stylish outfit when school is back in session? Still feeling perfectly comfortable and ready to tackle anything the day holds while looking so good. With so many fashion-forward looks available at budget-friendly prices, H&M's children's collection means every kid can find an outfit that speaks to them.

$14.99

Some comfy kicks

H&M boys shoes

A sure way to put a little pep in your child's step this year, cool and cozy shoes are a staple on all back-to-school shopping lists for good reason. (Plus, it's fun to compare them to last year's shoes to see how much your kid has grown!)

$19.99

Anything-but-basic blouses

H&M girls blouse

Whether in the classroom or showing up for a video call with the class, a styling blouse or button-down shirt is a great way for your student to comfortably dress up the day. Better yet? Style doesn't have to come at the expense of comfort with so many made-to-move tops designed just for kids.

$14.99

A shirt ready to go whatever the day holds

H&M boys shirt

With "going to school" meaning anything from showing up in the classroom to doing a virtual session, it's important to have clothes that are perfect for anything the day holds. A classic, cotton shirt with a fashion-forward design is a great way to keep your student feeling ready to start the year with an A+ attitude.

$9.99

This article was sponsored by H&M. Thank you for supporting the brands that support Motherly and mamas.

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