This post is made possible with support from the Wounded Warrior Project. All opinions are my own
When I was a new military spouse I heard about something called “a 365.” It was a term more seasoned spouses used in regards to a year-long deployment, but what struck me was how they’d always mention it in a hushed, humble tone.
At the time, we were doing shorter deployments—two to four months—so I couldn’t even fathom an entire year. These women* were like real-live superheroes in my eyes.
*And men, too, of course!!
They never bragged about going through a 365, because—as anyone who’s been through one knows—a deployment isn’t something to brag about.
Instead, they passed on wisdom, grace, and empathy.
Deployments are nothing new to military spouses, and now that we’ve been through deployment separations ranging from anywhere to a few weeks to more than a year, I can honestly say that every deployment, no matter the length, is really, really freaking hard, and at least 95% of the time you feel like you’re in the trenches, no matter how “seasoned” you are.
The mission of WWP is to honor and empower wounded warriors, and their Carry Forward Virtual 5k does exactly that.
Plus, the coolest part is that you can participate virtually, no matter where you are in the world.
But there’s a slight (non-obligatory) catch.
When you sign up, you can choose to “carry” something. Carry Forward brings the idea of “carrying for” a wounded warrior, veteran, and active duty military member front and center. It’s our turn to stand up for those who have fought for us by supporting the programs they need to live life to the fullest on their own terms.
If you’re feeling up for the challenge, you can choose to carry:
- a flag to show support and patriotism.
- a weight to represent the responsibilities veterans carry while serving our country.
- another person to symbolize one warrior carrying another in their time of need.
My family and I will do our 5k here in Germany on November 11, which is Veterans Day, and also my husband’s birthday.
And while it’s not an actual person, I’m choosing to carry one of the Daddy Dolls the kids and I carried around with us constantly during our deployment, along with an eight-pound weight to symbolize the heaviness we all go through during deployments.
I Carry For
I will carry for military spouses going through deployments…especially now during a pandemic. Keeping things (life, sanity, family, traditions, schedules etc) together while their spouse is away is no easy feat.
The worry, stress, fear, and uncertainty spouses endure is a lot to carry on their own; we need to help carry each other every now and again.
I carry for the new military wife embarking on her first deployment, and for the seasoned spouse with multiple kids under her belt doing it for her seventh (or 17th) time.
No two deployments are the same, and no matter how many you’ve been through, one thing is certain: you can’t do them on your own.
Let’s Do This
If you sign up, please let me know—I’d love to cheer you on with a socially distant, and virtual high-five!