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November 05, 2009

How God Created the Military Wife

The good Lord was creating a model for military wives. He was into his sixth day of overtime when an angel appeared at his side. She said, "Lord, you seem to be having a lot of trouble with this one. What's wrong with the standard model?"

The Lord replied, "Have you seen the specs on this order? She must be completely independent, yet she cannot even get on base without a sponsor. She must possess the qualities of both father and mother, be a perfect host to four or 40 with an hour's notice, run on black coffee, handle every emergency imaginable without a manual, carry on cheerfully even if she is pregnant and has the flu, and be willing to move to a new location 10 times in 17 years.

"Oh! I almost forgot! She must have six pairs of hands."

The angel shook her head. "Six pairs of hands? No way!" The Lord continued. "Don't worry. We will make other military wives to help her. And we will give her an unusually strong heart: one big enough to swell with pride in her husband's achievements and sustain the loneliness of long separations; one that beats soundly when it is over-worked and exhausted, that says 'I understand,' even when she doesn't and 'I love you', regardless."

"Lord," said the angel, "Go to bed and get some rest. You can finish this tomorrow."

"I can't stop now," said the Lord. "I am so close to creating something unique! Already this model heals herself when she is sick, can put up six unexpected guests for the weekend, wave goodbye to her husband from a pier, a runway or depot and understand why he must leave."

The angel circled the model of the military wife and inspected it closely. She sighed, "It looks fine. But it's too soft."

"She might look soft," replied the Lord, "but she has the strength of a lion. You would not believe what she can endure."

Pausing, the angel bent over and ran her finger gently across the cheek of the Lord's creation. "There's a leak," she announced. "I am not surprised that it has cracked, Lord. You are trying to put too much into this model." The Lord was offended at the angel's lack of confidence.

"What you see is not a leak," He said. "It's a tear."

"A tear? What function does that serve?" asked the angel. The Lord replied, "It stands for joy, sadness, pain, disappointment, loneliness, pride. It's a dedication to all the values she and her husband hold dear."

The angel fell silent. "You are a genius!" she exclaimed finally.

The Lord had the grace to look slightly abashed. "But you see, I didn't put it there."

The preceding piece is said to have been written by Erma Bombeck. Over the years it has been altered by innumerable authors. The original doesn't seem to be available.

Posted by Cassandra at November 5, 2009 07:02 AM

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I remember the original -- this one isn't it, but it's closest to what I remember...


Posted by: BillT at November 5, 2009 09:47 AM

Today was the first day I'd seen that version.

The first time I saw it, it was cross stitched and hanging on the wall of a friend's kitchen.

There must be a million versions out there. Says a lot about how many folks it has touched over the years.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2009 09:56 AM

A couple of million versions, is my guess -- each with a small, personal modification...

Posted by: BillT at November 5, 2009 10:05 AM

Still love it.

Posted by: Mrs G at November 5, 2009 12:41 PM


I have an engraved copy of that poem hanging in my kitchen that I gave my bride of 35 years back in the 90's. I spent over 30 years in the military and for 28 years of my military career that angel was by my side. She took care of the house, the bills, broken cars and appliances, moving the household while I was somewhere else, raising the kids from infancy into college, and everything else that came up when her husband worked rotating shifts, exercises, deployed, remote tours, middle of the night departures to handle discipline problems, etc. etc. etc.

It still brings tears to my eyes! Thanks for reminding all of us of the sacrifices of our better half's.

God bless!

Posted by: Dan M at November 5, 2009 05:27 PM

God bless you too, Dan.

Posted by: Cassandra at November 5, 2009 06:09 PM

Don't forget, there are many military husbands out there now too. Having been the soldier and the spouse, I well know the the latter is harder.

And as a then rather unique home father during Desert Storm, I had a lot of outside help that most military Mom's today, after so many years of war, just don't get.

Posted by: Tom B at November 6, 2009 06:53 PM