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The day my brother stepped on the infamous yellow footprints to begin his journey in the Marine Corps, our family embarked on a journey of our own — the journey of becoming a Marine family that would honor, love and support those in the military community. When our journey first began, I was overwhelmed by the changes that would take place in our family life and the new challenges we would face. I grieved over the loss of our "normal" and feared the many adjustments of transitioning into life as a military family. Although the goodbyes are still heart-wrenching and the road ahead is still full of unknowns and Semper Gumby, I am thankful because I can look back and see how God has used every part of this journey to shape me into the person I am now.
... I have learned to enjoy every moment we have together as a family. As most military families can relate, our visits are limited to a handful of times a year. We are now experienced in making each day count and being thankful for the time we do have together. Although I wish our time was not so limited, I am grateful for the perspective I have gained: Life is a gift and you never know how long you will have to enjoy it.
Second, I have experienced the camaraderie of the military community. Only other military families can truly relate to the joys and sorrows we experience, and I have been beyond blessed to receive support and encouragement, as well as wisdom and advice from those farther along on the journey. As our family moves into the unfamiliar territory of a deployment, I know that there will be many Marine families that will help us find our way.
Last, I have realized the importance of actively supporting our military. Now that my brother is a Marine, I better understand the many sacrifices our service members make. Last December, I started sending care packages to our deployed troops. In giving back, I have found an incredible amount of joy. Seeing the recipients' gratitude for something as simple as socks or deodorant is immensely humbling. I am inspired to be grateful for the basic amenities we are blessed with, such as running water, stores nearby, electricity, etc. I have also been encouraged by the many neighbors that have jumped in and graciously donated care package items, given money for shipping, and written letters to be included in the boxes. I love being a part of something bigger than myself and being a blessing to those who give everything for the safety of American citizens and the freedom of the oppressed.
As we celebrate National Military Family Month, may the legacy of love, honor and commitment continue to burn brightly in the hearts of those who serve our country and their families. Semper Fidelis!