As a wife to a Marine I have heard and read many crazy stories of what people say to military families over the years but the story below just may take first place as one of the most painful things I have read. Of course, this story didn’t take place because this woman, mom, human-being-doing-her-best is married to a military man, but it sure adds to the already heavy weight our military families already feel. I know that in sharing this story I will not make an impact on the person who caused my sister-in-arms anguish nor do I believe my Tribe needs to be reminded to be kind; as if they would even utter a single one of these words. However, I feel compelled to share it anyway, just in case you over hear a similar conversation or if God gives you an opportunity to encourage an absolute stranger – you will have a frame of reference. Here is the story: “To the woman at the post office that felt so free to tell me what a horrible mother I am – this will likely never find its way to you, but hope this serves as a reminder to those that feel so open about judging others. There are many things in life I am not good at, but being a mother, is NOT one of them. Not only am I a mother, I am also a father, a caregiver, a cheerleader, a provider and still somehow manage to get myself to work each day. I pride myself and my children in how hard we work to make our situation work. My children are well fed, dressed and behaved and loved more than anything in my life. What you don’t know is why we were at the post office. We were mailing get well cards and a care package to my husband that is having back surgery today and to my mother that starts her third “new” chemotherapy treatment tomorrow. My husband, who has dedicated 19.5 years of his life and 18 years of our life together to the military. His service and daily sacrifice provides the very foundation you walk on and belittle me and my children because my 1 year old was getting fussy. But, you didn’t stop there – you could not believe I took my child out of my home without shoes. That I didn’t have snacks to keep her quiet. That you know homeless people that dress better than us and you were going to follow me and report me to social services, where you claim to work…because, my 1 year old did not have shoes on. I was raised to not judge others – believe everyone is an individual and has a story to share. For a brief moment, you made me question my beliefs and the mother I am. However, I was quickly reminded by my 5 year old (that you felt free to use explicit language in-front of) to dry my tears and be brave. I will pray for you.” My challenge to you: Speak life to all you come into contact with!