Yesterday was a long day. In the morning I received word that one of my best friends, Kate, was in labor with her first child. Her mom and husband were at her side and she was doing great. Then hours went by with no word at all. I could not concentrate on anything else, my three kids were so anxious to hear whether the baby was a boy or a girl, and time was dragging by soooo slowly as we waited for the news. Finally at 8:20 p.m., a healthy baby girl, Claire Elena, came into the world and mother and baby were doing fantastic. Tears of joy ran down my cheeks! After my children and I talked about our plan to meet baby Claire and what she probably looked like, I tucked the three of them into bed. In the quiet I pondered this new little one that had just entered our lives. Kate and I have known each other less than 3 years. Our husbands are the ones that work together and we don’t live in the same neighborhood, yet her friendship is so special to me and the arrival of her first born felt as if my own family had grown.
In fact, that is exactly what had happened.
Kate is a part of my family. Not the family I was born into, but the one that I married into by way of the United States Marine Corps. This family, although not by blood, would make the same sacrifices for me that my blood relatives would and often are the ones who can understand me, my kids, and what we are going through better than anyone else. They also understand the acronyms and all that crazy lingo which becomes a second language in the military lifestyle.
I have been a part of this family for over 14 years, and I have added many “sisters” along the way. I have Army sisters, Navy sisters, Coast Guard sisters and even a few Air Force sisters. There are many long distance calls, road trips for weddings and special events, tears when they move away and smiles when you move close to them. This part of my family has seen me at my most vulnerable and jumps into action to make things better. They would take my children and love them like their own at a moment’s notice, whether it be for an appointment or a much needed getaway with my husband after a long deployment. They invite me over for dinner when another night without my husband would be too hard. They are better than Google when it comes to gaining information; because among them… they have been everywhere and know everything about kids, military issues, crafting, home decor, education, fitness, healthy eating, travel, marriage, pregnancy, childbirth, parenting, couponing, gardening, sewing, math, autism, asthma, allergies, and basically anything else you can think of. I invest in them and they invest in me.
We are sisters. Our children are siblings. We are left to battle the home front, but we never have to face that battle alone. We have each other and that makes this life so much sweeter.
We are the definition of family.
Some of my sisters are quiet.
Some are loud.
Some are funny.
Some are serious.
Some will call.
Some will e-mail.
Some enter my life for a short while.
Some follow me to every duty station.
But they are all my family. Family that the military gave me to help me through the tough days, and remind me that this life is a journey better taken together.
And I could not imagine my life without them.
So, Claire Elena, welcome to the family! It is a great journey and you have a big, crazy, amazing group of people to help you along the way!
How have your military brothers and sisters become your family over the years? Please share your experiences below!