We are born into a family, related to them by virtue of birth.
And some of us, me for instance, are adopted into a family, related not by blood but by love, chosen to be a family. My mother often reminded me that she CHOSE me.
We have family that we marry into and family we gain when our children marry.
We have family born of old friendships from our years growing up.
Families come in ALL forms…….Thankfully!
And then there is the family that is related by a common bond, born out of a shared nomadic life—a life in the military.
My husband served 30 years in the Air Force and we moved A LOT. Everywhere we moved to was new, foreign and a little scary for this shy girl.
Our first move away from home was the hardest for me. We were moving many states away and it would be the first time I moved out of the northwest……away from my sister, my in-laws and my friends. It would just the three of us—my husband, our three-year-old son and myself…..alone. I was nervous and scared. I was shy and making friends had been hard for me every time I moved as a child. And now we were moving to a state in the northern tier, in winter.
I didn’t know how I was going to survive the cold and snow, let alone survive without my support system.
Despite the long months of snow covered ground and roads, and despite the isolation in a time when we did not have internet or cell phones to stay in touch with long distance friends and family, I thrived in our new home.
I made friends.
And I learned during that first assignment away from home that the Air Force was a family. We were all related through this common bond of service. My support system grew and the bonds of those friendships grew stronger every day, lasting all these many years later.
Each time we moved, our family grew. We were so very blessed to be given this family and to be there to support each other through moves, deployments, long hours, births of children, deaths in families and so much more….through everything–the good, the bad and the difficult–our Air Force family was there and I could always count on them. We celebrated together, we spent holidays together, we laughed and cried together and we took trips together. This was a family I did not originally choose, but am so very grateful for, Every. Single. Day! My Air Force family made the good days better and made the struggles survivable.
My husband retired from the Air Force a couple of years ago and we are no longer moving around the country. But that does not change the family we have in the Air Force. We are blessed to still count all those friends we made through our military life as our family. And no matter where we go, we have family to visit—around the country and the world.
It is a blessing to us when we get to visit with our military family—to catch up with their lives and laugh with them again. When we see them, we pick right up where we were the last time we were together, no matter how long it has been.
Over the past couple of months, we have had the opportunity to visit with those family members while we were traveling…..such a blessing to have so many to visit wherever we go.
And we have been visited by family as well, while they were traveling through……just last weekend we got to spend a few hours with friends, family really, who were in the area for a short visit.
Families come in all forms—through birth, adoption, marriage and shared bonds.
I am truly blessed to have such a large family, in ALL forms!