For the sake of transparency I will tell you this one took me a couple minutes past five. I got interrupted at 4:15 and sat down to pound out more than 45 seconds worth… But not much! 😉
My Mother named me Valerie. From the same root word as “Valour.” My name means, “Strong Woman.”
Which is funny because I’ve always felt so timid, so easily overwhelmed. I’d much prefer staying in my quiet comfortable places than blazing out anywhere in pomp and circumstance.
There was this cat that lived at a friend’s house when my husband and I went to visit back when we weren’t yet husband and wife… The cat was the kind that is terrified of people, and crouched and cowered especially when people were around, but when the cat’s person would get out this stick toy and fling around a birdie, the cat would tentatively peek out. He just couldn’t help himself. He mustered up all the bravery he could find and came out and attacked that bird. The cat’s name was, “Tiger.” Husband deemed it my nickname soon after.
But somehow, I ended up being the wife of a man who serves our country in the Navy. And this lifestyle takes some bravery. You might think that the brave moments are the ones that happen when I take him to the air terminal and kiss him goodbye and drive away trying to stifle the sobs. But those moments are unavoidable and they aren’t chosen. They happen whether I am brave or not.
What I find with every twist and turn this lifestyle brings us, and with every spell of time that we’re apart is that bravery isn’t just worn like a metal on a uniform or a suit of armor. Often it’s an every day thing. It’s waking up in the morning exhausted because you don’t sleep well when he’s gone, and putting a smile on your face for your kids even though you miss him right down to your core still on the 90th day of deployment, and the missing is every bit as acute on the 90th day as on the 9th.
It’s having the Internet and Cable and Phone go out and figuring out what it’s going to take to get it back up and running. It’s taking on the maintenance of two vehicles and figuring out how to mow the lawn during nap time. It’s not flinching in the face of the myriad daily tasks that you normally leave safely in ‘his domain.’ It’s hearing the doorbell ring at an odd hour of the day and forcing yourself to know that it’s probably not the uniformed men that you fear (yes, even as a Navy wife with a husband who sleeps securely in a rack at night).
I never would have chosen a life that proved my name so thoroughly, but it seems this life has chosen me and for the love of this incredible man, I creep out from my corner and chase it with gusto.