When I chose to marry someone in the military I knew it was going to be hard… I knew it would mean missing out on important events and time with family… it was one of the reasons that I said for years I would never do it. My dream was for my kids to grow up down the street from their grandparents where they would have unlimited spoiling and I would have all the free babysitting I could possibly need.
But I fell in love with someone in the military and we started married life 12 hours from my family and 6 from his. Despite our desire to travel the world, we made a commitment to put family first and that meant at least 2 trips a year to visit each family and splitting the holidays between them! It wasn’t long before we started convincing my family that those visits should consist of family cruises for Christmas so we could get family time while seeing the world.
Then babies finally came along and even though it was hard, we continued our commitment to making a trip to see all of them as many times a year as possible with 2 (and then 3) babies in tow (and with only one driver after Ben’s diagnosis).
We could have stayed home and expected everyone to come visit us. Especially after Ben got sick. People would have understood, but family was important and we wanted them to know that! We wanted them to know we would make the sacrifice to come to them as often as we could so that if it got to the point where we couldn’t, they would know it wasn’t because we were choosing to stay away.
When Ben got sick, family stepped in to help as much as they could. And when there was more than they could physically do, they offered finances to help us make it day to day without struggling. Even when the days were long and lonely, I have always known I was loved by my parents and that if I needed something all I had to do was ask and they would do their best to provide it.
The other big decision we made when we got married was that we would always have a guest room… we would settle into a new house and I would post pictures and invite all our friends and families back home to come visit. Some of them saw every house we ever lived in and others never saw any of them. We made sure to throw a big birthday bash for all four January birthdays every year to give people a reason to make a trip out to visit… and our parents made it almost every year!
There have been times the past few years when I have felt upset because people have not made a point to see us since losing Ben. But I realized that I can look back and reflect on the times they didn’t come, or when they sent money because they had other important things to do… or I can make the choice to remember the good. And to be honest, I don’t remember the times they didn’t show up, because I make it a point to focus on all the times they DID show up, which is more times then I can count.
My parents are rockstars… and while the kids and I will never get to see them as much as we would like, I make sure that I tell them how amazing their grandparents are as often as I can. We tell stories and pick up the phone to Facetime when I remember (which isn’t often enough, because I’m not as good a daughter as they are parents). And my kids never ask when are they coming to see us… instead they ask when can we go see them, because they know the road works both ways, and they have been brought up to understand that it’s our job to make people know how much we love and appreciate them.
So because I don’t say it nearly enough, and my dad’s not on Facebook, but he follows my blog… I just want you to know that I love you all bunches and can’t wait to see you really soon, but not nearly soon enough!
***And I’m really sorry that I didn’t do a great job of remembering Mother’s Day and Father’s Day this year, but I love and am thankful for you both every day 😉