The older I get, the more memorial day means to me. Yes, it’s a needed day off (though being a sahm, not sure it’s really a day off) but the recognition of something honorable is more apparent.

Last year, our best friends made a life-changing decision. Chris and Tasha were our first ‘couple’ friends. We met them when we were engaged through our church. Well, technically, I grew up with Chris’ sisters, and met Tasha once or twice before, but we really got to know them right before we got married. They would come over for late night games of risk, or the boys would play x-box while Tasha and I talked.

It’s kind of funny, but in same ways, were the same couple. Tasha and I are both loud and boisterous. We say what we think and we are both a little OCD. We have lots of energy, love to sing, love to cook and share similar views of life. Chris and Trey are both laid back. They enjoy their video games, the same type of tv shows and love to eat our cooking. šŸ™‚ Its odd to find a couple so close to yourself, and actually like them! We had a couple of really close years, then drifted apart for a while. Trey and I had Addisyn, and a couple months later, we rekindled the friendship. Addisyn, to this day, calls them Uncle Chris and Aunt Tasha.

They have been married for a couple years more than we have and had been trying for a baby. In February of ’09, Tasha got pregnant with their first. Three weeks later, we were pregnant with Tyce. Experiencing pregnancy with someone close to me was both nice, and a little scary. We both have serious morning sickness, and not-so-easy pregnancies. Paige, their daughter, showed up 2 weeks early. As excited as I was for them, I admit I was a little jealous. Tyce was my patient child that showed up 2 weeks late, so our children are 7 weeks apart.

Paige was four months old when Chris enlisted. I still remember Tasha telling me. I was a little shell-shocked. We had grown SO close, especially with having children the same age, and now they would be leaving. Boot camp began in May. Tasha and Paige stayed in TX, while Chris was gone for 8 weeks. Those weeks were hard, but so much fun. The girls stayed over at least two nights a week. With Chris gone, Tasha wanted the company and Trey works late nights, so it worked out perfectly.

Then August came, Tasha packed their life up and drove a u-haul to Virginia. Chris spent the next 6 months in training. I admire her so much for her strength and courage through this time of living somewhere she doesn’t know or have any ties to, and not being able to see her husband but for hours at a time occasionally. I don’t know if I could do it.

I remember where I was when I got the phone call. I had taken my kids to a park when I heard from Tasha. They had gotten orders, and they were coming home. Well, not home per-se, but as close to it as possible. They would be stationed two hours away and we would once again get to see our friends, if only occasionally!

I write this because I believe that their decision as a family to choose to be in the military changed our life as well. It changed both sets of their parents. I know it changed their siblings lives, and most importantly, their child/childrens lives. It was a decision not taken lightly. It was a decision for the betterment of not only their lives, but a nation.

I don’t know what drives most men and women to enlist, but I do know that I am grateful. Oh so grateful that their are people who feel it is their calling to protect and defend. I am grateful that I am blessed to live in a country that is free and protected. I feel proud that I know someone that has sacrificed already, even without ever being deployed. I know the sacrifice that is demanded out of the men and women that defend America. I don’t pretend to know what its like to be a military family, but I’ve had a pretty close up view. I can’t express how humbled and grateful I am for families like our best friends that have chosen to be a part of more than just the status quo. I feel honored to call Chris and Tasha my friends- no, my family.

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This memorial day, I will attempt to explain to my 3 year old the meaning behind this day. She may only understand that Daddy is off and we get to spend the day ‘playing’. But when she is old enough to comprehend, she will be proud she has an Uncle that is part of the US Army.

So, I end with a humble thank you to all the men and women that serve our country. Thank you to my Daddy, who served long before I was born. Thank you, Chris and Tasha for living out your calling. Thank you to my many friends and relatives that have given, are giving, and will give. I am humbled and honored to call you my friends.

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