Tuesday, April 12, 2011

'To us, family means putting our arms around each other and being there.' ~Barbara Bush

I've lived away from my family and friends for so long now that sometimes I forget what I missed most about growing up. This past week, I got a reminder of how comforting it is to have known someone a very, very long time and finally have the chance to catch up. It's no secret that I'm not big 'staying in touch'. I bet Kitty is laughing right now thinking about just how true this is. I hate talking on the phone; I can't take any sort of instant messaging for more than a few comments back and forth and would much rather shoot an email out on my own schedule, then spend hours holding a uncomfortable metal device to my ear all while bouncing Alessandra on my hip and trying to keep up with my three year old. To me, true friends pick right back up where they left off and that's exactly what this week has been like for me. Kitty and I have laughed 'til we cried, we cried 'til we laughed and we've caught up on all the things that our lives have thrown at us...and wished, 'If only, we just lived closer'. There is something truly special about two friends reconnecting and I am just so, so grateful that I have someone like Kitty to give me a little boost on this ride...a skip in my step, if you push through the halfway point of this deployment and carry on. Yes, I am very grateful.

Before I married Chris, I'll admit it, I was part of the population that really didn't have any clue what life in the military was like. I had no immediate family or friends in any branch of the service and despite being so close to so many different military installations, I really didn't stop and think about the sacrifices that so many families make. Maybe part of that was me being wrapped up in being young and invincible but I nonetheless took so many things for granted, as so many people do these days. And now I'm one of those of those families that will put off house-hunting for our 'forever home' for as long as our Marine needs us to. I've become one of those families whose kids may not be able to grow up playing sports with their 'first' best friend or have one of those time lines on one of the doors in the house, you know the ones that mark just how quickly our babies grow. I've become one of those mothers who resorts to having more picture frames than one thought possible in my home and on my walls, just so that maybe my girls will recognize the faces of family despite the distance. But in exchange, we've all learned so much about life, love and family, more than I could ever teach my girls on my own. We've had to go through the highs and the lows of life in places that we've never been all without the luxury of family and have had to step out of our comfort zones to find new friends, time and again. I've forced myself to stay positive, when deployments, training schedules and long working hours have taken my other half away from us for very important moments on very important days.  I've trained myself to think outside of my own self and remember that there are millions of families that have traveled on this very same path, who have it much worse than I do taking great pride in knowing what my family sacrifices for. I've met people on this journey that I would call nothing less than family and know without a doubt in my mind, that they will be in our lives forever. I've learned to appreciate the time that I have so graciously been given and through it all...I've learned to be grateful for those that have been in my life for as long as I can remember, who despite the distance, have never left my side.  I believe that when it comes to friends quality is better than quantity and this mama is proud of the many amazing people in my life. To me, I'd be nothing without my friends and I celebrate them in every visit, holiday and homecoming...because, along with my family, they are the reasons I am so happy.

One of my favorite parts about being a mom...seeing my friends so madly in love with my girls.

And my girls, so madly in love with my friends. <3

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