Ad Hominem

For the first time in my life I am choosing not to attend a Remembrance Day service, and I have received a lot of flak because of this decision. I would like now to explain  myself, in the hopes that for those of you who have judged me may understand what I am thinking and feeling. 

I have never missed a service. I have sat with dignitaries, laid wreaths alongside veterans, marched in parades, and cried while holding photos of my loved ones. I have drank with légionnaires, and argued with my husband over wearing his uniform. I have held hands with  strangers, shaken hands with people who served alongside my grandfather, and argued with people who celebrate Christmas before commemorating Remembrance Day. 

Each year I put on the equivalent of my Sunday best, do my makeup, pin poppies on my  daughters, and carry a photo of my husband and my uncle, to the service at the legislative grounds. I have gone in every kind of weather imaginable, and have tried my best to present the façade of the strong, elegant, cornerstone of the military family that is the military spouse. It is exhausting, and this year I am too tired to carry on. 

This year I will sit on the couch with my daughters, and the photos of our loved ones, and we will watch the Ottawa service on tv. If I feel like crying, I will cry. I will hug my babies and we will talk about our loved ones, their daddy, and why this day matters to us above all else. We will talk about all of the mom’s and dad’s of my children’s friends who are currently deployed or away for various reasons, and we will count every one of our blessings, made possible by all of these heroes. I won’t put on makeup, I will not present myself as anything that strangers or friends expect me to be. I will watch the service from the comfort of my home, where I am free to feel and express myself without feeling as though I have to “keep it together” for the sake of those around me. 

After the service, we are going for a walk. Maybe we will go to the park, or perhaps the lagoon. From there we can see where their daddy works when he is alongside, and we will count the days until he is home, together. This year I am not doing this for anyone but my family. For too long I have placed too much importance on  appearances, and trust me, keeping them up on a day like today is more exhausting than running a marathon. 

After a decade of being a military wife, and a lifetime of being a military family member, I think I have earned the right to observe this day in a way that is healthy for both me and my girls. My love has missed countless birthdays, holidays, moments that cannot be recreated – including the birth of one of our daughters. He will spend the next year away from us, and I will be strong while I wipe the tears away from my daughters’ eyes, check their homework, take them to lacrosse, doctors appointments, and read them emails from their daddy. I spend 364 days of the year being strong, today I would like, even if only for a few hours, to let my guard down, and feel what I try to avoid the rest of the year. 

So no, I’m not going to a service today, and if you disagree with my decision, I respect your opinion. I am not a bad wife, I am a tired one. If you don’t agree that I deserve to observe how I choose, I suggest you reread this post, or any of my posts, until you feel empathy for what I have to do to survive. If that doesn’t work, I will politely ask you to mind your own damned business – but I’ll only be polite once. 

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5 thoughts on “Ad Hominem

  1. I respect your decision and I thank you and your husband for allowing me and mine to have the lives, and freedoms that we do. My thoughts and prayers are with you and all the military wives/husbands/partners out there that stay home and “keep the home fires burning”.

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  2. I believe that the role of military spouse is as important as the role of someone in the military. You abide the rules, you raise your family and you miss your spouse every single day they are away. But, you stay strong for your family. Try to keep the kids from missing him too much. You carry a large responsibility. To not allow you a day, especially a day specifically set aside for this very purpose, to remember your family and your friends and honor them in your way, is potentially one of the harshest things I’ve heard in awhile. Stay strong. You deserve to have a day to let your guard down.
    Thank you to you and your husband for your service.

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  3. I absolutely respect and admire your decision. You and your husband are keeping our country safe – there is no greater service to our world than that, as far as I’m concerned, for you’re making enormous sacrifices. I didn’t know what “ad hominem” meant so I looked it up and it’s the perfect title for this post – if anyone gives you even a speck of grief over your completely reasonable decision, send him/her to me. I’ll open a big can of whupass and use it faster than a heartbeat or blink of the eye!
    XO

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  4. p.s. here’s the meaning….

    Ad hominem

    1.
    appealing to one’s prejudices, emotions, or special interests rather than to one’s intellect or reason.
    2.
    attacking an opponent’s character rather than answering his argument.

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