Proud and Stong?

My handsome husband is home for a few weeks.  For once, he managed to make it home not only for my birthday but Mother’s Day as well.  That’s a rarity in the ten years we’ve been married.

My Mother’s Day started with excited (translation: loud) and well meaning (jumping all over me while trying not to wake me) children giving me their hand made cards and school made gifts.  He completed the gift trio with his own Mother’s Day offering, a t-shirt.

My husband knows me well enough to know that I do not wear the traditional boxy t-shirt.  He even apologized for the shirt itself, it was the slogan on the shirt which made him want to give it to me.  It says Proud and Strong Military Wife.

This is a slogan that I work hard to fulfill.  As an active member of the Board of Directors of my local Military Family Resource Centre, this is at the heart of everything we do.  In fact, it is our mission statement… that military families are proud and strong.  Yet, somehow applying that description to me personally gave me pause.

Only a fraction of the way into my year of solo parenting, I can’t say I feel very proud or strong most days.  Most days I feel weak as a kitten.  My battle with depression and my struggle to keep this family going with only one parent (or sometimes maybe just half of one) seems to overwhelm all else.

I do put on a good show.  People comment all the time how together I look… but I freely admit that it is a mask.  The more polished I look, the rougher I feel.  But I don’t generally put on the mask for Handsome Husband.  He sees me over Skype at the end of the day when I look as beaten down as I feel, when I don’t even have the energy to talk to him.  He knows the flaws and sees the tears.

For some reason, he still wanted to give me the t-shirt.  I guess, maybe if I fool him, I can fool myself.  Maybe, just maybe, that means there’s a little strength in me somewhere.

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