May 20, 2015
By HonestlyGina “Get together, say cheese [CLICK]……. Aww, y’all look so cute, hold on let me get my camera [CLICK].” That is how his swear-in ceremony went; I was not alone in the rapid fire of pictures and happy tears. There is a joy and sadness that comes with moments like these because you know that there will be many moments like these, scrambling to take pictures… to capture memories. Easter is over and after a couple short weeks off to boot camp he went. 8 weeks later he is home for ONLY a week and it’s packed with family and friends wanting to see and love on him, wish we did not have to share. Off to A-School he goes and we should be happy because it’s only a 9 hour drive from home is what we’re told. As we make the drive to A-School we take plenty of pictures and stop at as many landmarks and great restaurants time will permit. We get married and have 2 days to celebrate before A-School begins and he is unavailable yet again. A-School grinded on and I was left to figure out this new military world of regulation by myself. There were so many things that needed to be done at varying stages. The anxiety increased as we awaited the list of billets and even more so as we prepared for his first duty station. I had the opportunity to go visit once and then it was not until graduation that we were able to see him again. Cameras ready [CLICK]. Pictures of the ceremony [CLICK], pictures of him with his peers [CLICK], pictures of all the amazing food they produced [CLICK] and lastly a picture of him with his best friend since boot camp [CLICK]. Goodbyes were rapidly approaching [CLICK]. Knowing we had less than 2 weeks to say goodbye to home, friends and family was daunting [CLICK]. Farewell parties were bittersweet [CLICK], family all in one place for the sendoff. Cross country we ventured [CLICK] in under 3 days. Check into the hotel [CLICK] because the house won’t be ready until tomorrow. We got our keys [CLICK], Household Goods delivered; oh and we must not forget that he would be leaving us here alone to join the crew, that was already underway tomorrow. Alone in a new place to establish the house and get the kids into school. He was home in time for Christmas [CLICK CLICK CLICK] and luckily New Years [CLICK], we were beyond ecstatic. Now we are looking at the fact that he missed Mother’s day , missed his son’s tooth coming out, and will miss Father’s day, our anniversary, my birthday, his birthday, and possibly the kid’s birthday. Looking at last year as a whole we were together 3 months. People constantly look at you strange as you take too many pictures of seemingly frivolous things but have no idea how few and far between you have these moments. You take these pictures not for yourself but for your family, so they can remember these moments with you later. Civilians take this for granted because they know Mommy/Daddy will be home at this time every day and we will do these things but this is not true for the military child. Military children look to create as many memories as possible because they know when Mommy/Daddy is called to duty it can be days, weeks, or months before they see them again. It is easy to understand the concept of what Mommy/Daddy does but it is very difficult to wrap your head around what their absence does to the family. What people fail to understand is how it feels to have them miss births, birthdays, anniversaries, sporting events, school programs, graduations, and even the loss of another family member. The absence is not one sided because the same way that their absence is always felt for you the inability to be there gives them the same sadness. We do crazy things like celebrate birthdays and holidays out of tune because we want to do it while we can all be together and that is quite alright. Nothing like having a birthday in July but celebrating in May or June because there is a pending deployment on the horizon. The love that is shared between military personnel and their family is exemplified by the power of their connection despite the distance. Real love knows no bounds! This is why we do not care how we are perceived as we prepare ourselves for reunions: clothes, hair, signs, and countdowns. We know that the same “omg; it’s almost here” is burning in their minds too. That is why we smile, cry, hug, and squeeze one another. These moments are precious and will all too soon be gone again.