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Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Weary Warrior - "Could Do's" - Part 1 of 2


There, in the middle of the chaotic surroundings, lay my comrade.  She wearily low crawls to safety, guzzling the lukewarm beverage from her canteen.  This warrior knows the battlefield and has refused to surrender, for her troops and the mission need her.  She is weary, exhausted and outnumbered by more vigorous forces.  After a deep breath, she thanks God for the Starbucks Breakfast Blend as it provides the energy required to navigate the next landmine field:  homework, soccer, dinner, bedtime and laundry.  She is defending the home front, alone.  I reach out my hand, lift her up and pass her a chicken with something-else-in-it casserole.  She smiles.  One casserole was all it took for her to realize she can endure one more mission on the battlefield.
As our country remains at war, a staggering number of families are being separated for long periods of time.  “Solider is a position. Warrior is an attitude.”[i]  I interviewed three true warrior girlfriends, all mother to three; Kim, Missy and Linda about what helped and what didn’t while their husbands were deployed.  I compiled a list of could-do’s because we all could do something to aid our friends as they defend the home front.  Here’s the “high five” your friend just might need!
1.     Feed the troops.
This was the top response! FEED THE TROOPS!  Bring an unexpected meal.  Or, organize friends/neighbors and drop off the meal schedule with dates and menu so your friend can plan the other nights around those meals. Missy said, “Dinner and homework time are close together so it was such a blessing to not have to juggle a meal as well!”  If you can’t cook or have limited time, mail your friend a gift card to her favorite restaurant. Even, pick up a cooked rotisserie chicken, bread and a salad from the salad bar and drop it off (it’ll be better than the peanut butter and jelly sandwich that your friend would go to bed feeling guilty about that night!)
Put together a movie and pizza night basket.  Get a gift card for your friend’s favorite pizza and movie rental place. Put some popcorn and candy in there and let your friend have a pizza, movie night with the kids at home!
2.     Be willing to low crawl.
Take care of the “low crawlers”, her kids, for just an hour or two a week, with no expectation of reciprocity.  Request that your child and friend’s child be placed on the same sports team and carpool for her!  Figure out what your friend’s “thing” (scrapbooking, running, book club, Bunco) is.  Offer to faithfully watch her kids that night each month and let her do her “thing”.
3.     Keep a watchful eye on the morale.
Find out when your friend’s birthday and anniversary are and do something, anything, to make it special (flowers, chocolate).  Don’t forget Mother’s Day and holidays too! 
Shoot an email over saying, “I’m thinking of you!” or “You’re doing a great job managing everything!”  It’s nice to read affirming emails after a long day!
Email a bunch of friends that she knows, and some she doesn’t, and have them mail cards and emails of encouragement and appreciation. She can reread those cards over and over to get a boost! A little appreciation can go a long way.
4.     Do regular radio checks.
Call and sincerely ask how her day/week was.  Allow her to vent frustrations and listen when she is at her wit’s end.  Kim said, “A lot of wives feel added stress by believing they need to appear as though they’ve got it all together. Just being allowed to vent frustrations about her kids/husband/neighbors/etc is helpful!”
5.     Recognize the enemy tactic to isolate and attack.
Missy said weekends were a big one for her, “They can be lonely because most friends are with their own family, try to include them in any family outings.”  Linda offered, “Get a movie and bring it over to your girlfriend’s house as nighttime can get lonely.” (Your friend can have girlfriend time without needing the expense of a babysitter!)
If you want to support the troops overseas, then protect, care and nurture their blessings back home.  We all can’t do everything, but can do something.  God bless our troops and their famili


[i] Holly Wagner, Warrior Chicks, (Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2007), p. 8.

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4 Comments:

Anonymous Steph said...

Thank you, Trisha, for allowing me the opportunity to highlight our warriors here! May we all support one another no matter where our "battle fields" are! GOD BLESS OUR WARRIORS and THE USA!

August 14, 2011 at 10:40 AM  
Anonymous Kim C. said...

Thank you for posting this, Steph. So many people talk about how important it is to support those families left at home when their service member parent/spouse deploys, and it is great to see some practical recommendations. You were a real blessing to me when I was going through it, and I'm thrilled to help you be a blessing to countless others!

August 14, 2011 at 4:02 PM  
Anonymous Kim C. said...

Thank you for posting this, Steph. So many people talk about how important it is to support those families left at home when their service member parent/spouse deploys, and it is great to see some practical recommendations. You were a real blessing to me when I was going through it, and I'm thrilled to help you be a blessing to countless others!

August 14, 2011 at 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Steph, You are right on target. Boy, these things sure would have assisted me when my husband was deployed. My MOPS group gave me a basket of goodies for me to enjoy and a few things for my son. I really appreciated their thoughtfulness and support for my situation. Kathy D.

August 14, 2011 at 6:58 PM  

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