Dear Mama, You Are Brave

Angela Caswell essays

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“You are so brave.”

“I don't know how you do it.”

“You are so strong.”

“I couldn't do it if I were in your shoes.”

During my time as an army wife, many conversations started this way. A non-military spouse, especially during times of deployment or when facing a big transition, would say these things. As a military spouse, I never thought of myself as any braver than any other spouse, so in these conversations, I direct the other mom to all the brave things they deal with daily. I tell them they would do what they had to do if they were in my shoes.

I rarely think of myself as brave. In the midst of a deployment (two while pregnant), in times of transition, when my husband’s work day is too long, or when he is called away during the weekend, these are not moments of bravery. These are challenging times. You've heard of the “witching hour” – these times are like the witching day, week, month, or even year.

This (former) milspouse is not braver than any other mama. Some of my challenges may be different, but your challenges are just as real. You are equally, or even more brave, in handling your daily tasks. Just as some of my friends shake their heads and ask, “How do you do it?” I ask the same of others:

I have a friend with four boys, one of which has Down’s syndrome.

She is brave.

I have a friend with Crohn’s Disease, and a myriad of other challenges. She recently gave birth to a healthy baby boy, through a long and difficult labor.

She is brave.

I have a friend who went to Russia for HSCT. She no longer has MS. She walked a 5K, when a year before she had great pain just walking to the mailbox.  

She is brave.

My conversations with people typically end with them saying, “I admire you.” If only I could let you know how much I admire you, too, and truly have you believe me…


About the Author

Angela Caswell

I am now a former Army wife, stay at home mom, homeschooler, keeper at home, Christian woman trying to live the best life possible. I struggle to balance those roles and as a way of sharing what I’ve learned and what I want to do better.

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May 2015 – Better Together
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