She didn’t have to ask twice
I considered designing a Military Spouse Appreciation card in the past. It was hard to estimate how much interest there would be. A couple of months ago I got a request through my Etsy shop.
Hi Hannah! This Navy wife and mom really likes your shop! I am looking for Military Spouse Appreciation Day cards for the spouses in my husband’s office. It is a joint office so I would not want the cards to be branch specific. Is this something you have or could make?
I was on it right away. It isn’t daily I get asked to design a particular card for people who want it now. I get input on all the designs I sell. But to have someone ask me for something specific? That’s golden!
Stacie told me the idea of the Military Spouse Appreciation Day card came from an initiative to reach out to other area spouses. Being attached to an embassy is quite different than being at a traditional command. Spouses are spread out all over the city and in some cases, around the country.
It takes a special person to be a military spouse
Stacie and I began messaging back and forth and refining the design. I loved having her input! What an honor to design a card for someone so incredible, who would then send it to other incredible people!
After the design was printed and I’d sent her cards, I asked her to tell me a little more about herself. Here’s what she shared:
“We are currently in Spain attached to the US Embassy and are headed to Yokosuka, Japan. My husband, Jason, is a Foreign Area Officer. We have lived in 4 countries with Japan being number 5.
I am a special education teacher and currently work at the American School of Madrid.
We recently celebrated teacher appreciation week with a superhero theme – my superpower is unpacking! “
I have a feeling she is great at packing as well. Which is no easy task. Given the distances they move is more than just down the road. You can’t just throw your belongings into paper bags and move halfway around the world.
Stacie’s story is not unique among military spouses and their families. Lots of moves. Rotating doors and friendships. New languages to learn. New customs to understand and try to fit into. Long time spans of distance from loved ones.
It is hard for civilians to understand. Hard, but not impossible. It takes effort to put yourself into their shoes. Time is required to listen, and listen well. Humility is needed as you recognize your life is very different. Patience must be implemented to ask questions, listen to the answers, and make necessary adjustments.
Being a military spouse is both exciting and challenging
Life for military spouses is both exciting and challenging. Those who love to travel find the thought of living so many places stimulating, right? Think of all the different kinds of foods, cultures, and sights they get to experience!
But with that excitement comes challenging realities. Maybe they’re not an extrovert? What about food allergies or sensitivities? The thought of constant change and lack of control for when and where the next move will be sounds daunting? Perhaps even overwhelming at times?
This summer will mark my 24th year being married to the Navy. We will have our 13th move.
It takes a strong person to join the military. It takes an equally strong person to be married to a military member. The strengths may exhibit differently. Most likely. But there is definitely a special type of strength required of all military spouses.
Balance is needed to be independent and yet committed to the marriage relationship. This is true of all relationships. It is lived out differently in military marriages vs. civilian marriages.
Stacie finds ways to support the military community beyond her family. She enjoys educating other military families about the Military Children’s Compact Commission. This organization works toward easing the transition challenges for school-age military children.
Stacie’s own three children have attended a collective total of 9 schools. One of her children is currently a Navy ROTC student stateside. I guess the military life agrees with them.
The military spouse community is vital
It’s no surprise that military spouses are a tight-knit group. Some are fortunate to have civilian friends who make the effort to understand and respond with empathy. Not all are so fortunate.
Each move brings military spouses into a new circle of friends. The shared experiences of military life are common ground. If you don’t like your current circle, the upside is a new circle will come soon. There is a downside of frequent moves. It is hard to move when the current circle is incredible.
Covid has added a whole new dimension to military life. Stacie commented:
With the current COVID restrictions in place, we have not had an opportunity for gatherings. It’s been a challenging year, and I just wanted the spouses to know they are appreciated.
Make it personal
An Etsy customer in Virginia purchased this special card and asked for the first name of her military spouse friends to be added inside each. What a thoughtful touch!
I’ll admit, I was a little nervous about the task of centering names on the cards. It would be easy enough to do on a computer. Altogether different when writing by hand! I was pleasantly surprised at how nice these turned out.
In addition to sending a great card, personalization can be added to any individual card order. Choose to have your message handwritten inside the card or printed on a separate enclosure card.
Don’t wait until next year to send a special card to the military spouses you know. They won’t mind if it doesn’t arrive on the exact day. Everyone likes to be remembered and appreciated!
If you’re a military spouse please comment below with “hooyah” if you are a Navy wife or husband, “oohrah” if you are a Marine wife or husband, “hooah” if you are an Army wife or husband, or “aim high” if you are an Air Force wife or husband, or “always ready” if you are a Coastie wife or husband.
Let me know how many years and how many places you’ve lived as a military spouse.
Have specific questions or comments? You can also connect through our contact page on the website.