So, you know by now that I’m the non-custodial mom in what is not always an easy situation. I live over 800 miles away from my three older children and that can be draining and frustrating and … well, honestly, a blessing.
Don’t start throwing tomatoes – let me explain. You normal parents out there, you tuck your kids in every night, cook them three meals every day, correct homework with them often, listen to their stories again and again, re-hear jokes 25 times a week, get tired of telling them to do their chores, be nice to their siblings, and stop giving you THAT look…..
Me…. I yearn for tucking them in, even though it gets to be a chore for you. I wish I could remember the joke that Chloe told me last week because it made her laugh so hard – even though it never did make any sense to me. Listening to them argue is actually missed when you only do it for a maximum of 6 weeks a year. So, whereas you might get tired and drained by being a parent in the normal every day things, my 6 weeks a year are the most precious moments I could possibly have in life – and I bet you can’t put together 6 full weeks of beautiful memories in a single year because you simply don’t have to because there will always be tomorrow. You think.
While the kids were with us, I marveled at how openly they accept their half-sister, Rhyan, and their “step-dad” (though we never use that term). They just flat out love them, because it’s not in them to even think that they should be feeling something differently. In fact, Faith drew me a picture that was entitled “My Family” and had seven perfectly labeled stick figures, including their father, Chris, and Rhyan.
We spent time at the pool and on the beach. We played Nerf guns in the back yard. We hung out with friends and I was amazed at how wonderful they all were with the kids. We lit fireworks off the banks of a lake in front of a buddy’s house. We had long talks that were full of the REAL stuff of life – listening to their thoughts and feelings, making sure their hearts were right, and encouraging them to always be themselves.
To my amazing family who housed and fed us, thank you. It’s been a long three year journey for us, but you have absolutely no idea how precious you are to me, each and every one of you.
To Dave and Katie and Janelle and Cody, greater friends than I would have ever imagined we’d receive in this very odd duty station for a Marine – you guys ROCK. Treating these kids like they were just part of the normal every day crowd was amazing. Cody – thanks for all you did to show the kids what a real man is about. I know you think you did nothing, but I can’t even begin to list all of the little things I saw from you that make a REAL difference in the lives of kids. Katie – you are absolutely phenomenal and my number one God-send. Thanks for being you, always – it makes a difference each and every day in my life.
And last but absolutely not least, thanks to my amazing husband. He survives more than most folks even dream possible in this life, and most of it happens right here in the states. It’s not been an easy journey, bridging my past with our present and future, but he steps up to the task moment by moment. Christopher, you help remind me there’s always hope for tomorrow, there’s beauty in the past, and the present is for cherishing the moment. You teach the kids that there’s something bigger out there than themselves and still manage to remind them that they are precious to the world just as they are. Thank you for being absolutely irreplaceable.