The other day I saw you at the grocery store. You were chasing your little one around. A lot. You looked tired.
"Travis, put that down!!" "Travis stand still!" "Travis stay here!!!"
Then you turned your back to load your groceries and Travis came up to me. He held his hands up to me and gave me a hug. Then he proceeded to load ALL the Hershey Bars in my shopping cart (that's a boy after my own heart). You turned around looking panicked and opened your mouth to yell, but I stopped you. "He's here!"
You came over looking frazzled and not really in the happy shopping spirit. You opened your mouth to apologize to me. But then you heard laughter and turned around to see your son tickling my daughter. In her wheelchair. Two children. One with Cerebral Palsy and one with Down Syndrome. Your frown turned into a smile as you recognized another invisible solider. We chatted and laughed about our kids and you took your son home. I unloaded all the chocolate and checked out. Your son brought a smile to my face the rest of the day.
You see, not all soldiers are stationed far away. There are many you see every day. We don't fight with gun and grenades. We are your neighbor or even a member of your family. We keep in the shadows so we can fight for the most important thing in our lives. Our children.
We fight our own enemies. We fight insurance, doctors, therapists, and supply companies. We fight so our children have access to all they need to help them grow and thrive. Somedays we even fight the world so they can see how wonderful and amazing we know our children are.
We stand with our troops. When one of them takes a hit we gather around them. We offer encouragement, resources, and most of all we pour our hearts and strength into them so they can stand once again. We are there for each other.
Here's to you my troops and my friends. You have helped me make it through many battles this year and without you I may have been taken prisoner by the enemy of despair. We have fought long and hard together and I am proud to stand and serve by you all. May your days be full of hope and victories and your losses be few. Know that I am there ready and willing and able to battle with you.