When my husband first went on active duty after serving in the Reserves for longer than most people keep their cars, I was nervous/excited/scared/but mostly excited. I have at my core more than a bit of nomadic spirit. I like to wander, probably because we moved around so much as a kid. One of the most valuable lessons I’ve learned is that in the military, you develop fast and firm friendships that can last for a very, very long time.
When we got to our first duty station, Eugenia took me under her wing. She fed my family, left her door open so that I could use her washer and dryer, and hugged me through the growing pains of the Army. Wendy and Minda showed me how to have fun, class, and deal with the challenges of being an Army wife while keeping your sanity and sense of humor. Our next station led me to friendships with Sherry, Janet, Jennifer, Christina, Kara, and Beth; ladies who know how to laugh and take care of business during the rough parts. They were/are my sisters and we were lulled to sleep by the sound of artillery and small arms fire. …and Beth’s potty mouth. 😉
Here, I found Terri, Paula, Blair, Patricia, and Kim. Kim’s husband was in a different company, but she answered questions for me anyway. She went from being “that nice lady who shares FaceBook pictures with me” to “honey, I’m going to Kim’s today. I’ll see you later, after I’m sunburned and have laughed so hard my face hurts.” She took me shopping for hours and hours for the perfect dress…and eventually let me borrow her favorite one “because it’s perfect”. She’s consoled me, let me vent, hugged me, fed me, and generally became what all Army wives come to know as The Army Family. And like all Army Families, she PCS’d (permanent changed of station).
This last week the kids and I piled into the car and drove up to haunt Kim and her husband Scott and son Eli. Scott works with The Old Gaurd, loves coffee as much as I do, and is the friendliest bull-dog of a soldier you’ll ever meet. (“I’m the 1st SGT, it’ll be just fine.”) The Thomas family opened their doors, made us feel welcome (Kim put a Beatles book in my room! I slept under a family-heirloom quilt!), and took us all over DC. Kim arranged a Photo Safari for me for my birthday, which led us from the White House to the surrounding sights. We went to Arlington, where Scott works when he’s not at Dover, and saw the Changing of the Guard at The Tomb of the Unknowns. (there will be posts with photos later). I saw Audie Murphy’s grave, The Mast of the Maine, and the resting place of our Honored Dead. My kids played with the giant horses that pull the Caissons. I will never forget that trip.
So thank you, Kim, for being so wonderful. Thank you, Scott, for babysitting and cooking and brewing all that java. Thank you, Eli, for sharing your toys and your bed and your time. Thank you, Thomas family, for exemplifying what Army Family can mean. ❤