Friday, April 22, 2011

Reconnecting with Army Friends

This blog post is courtesy of Traci at This Fabulous Army Life. It describes the bond created between Army Families and how, even after years apart, reunions are always welcome.

Army kids reunited after years apart.

On a recent Block Leave trip, my Family was able to connect with one of our favorite Army Families. They were our next-door neighbors at Fort Hood for a couple of years and we survived a deployment together, complete with sharing meals, kids, frustrations, joys, and time.  In the Army, your neighbors are not just the people you nod to as you get into your car in the mornings, they become family.

In our time together, the wife of this Family watched my kids, listened to my woes, and took care of everything from shoe-tying to diaper-changing for my kids when I sprained my wrist while our husbands were gone. In return, her kids were always welcome in my home and spent more than one Friday night eating pizza and watching movies with us.

When my water pipes burst that deployment winter, she was there with me, fighting the raging fountain of water, clad in our pajamas.  On the first day of school, we shared a traditional school bus cake (her tradition, but one that become ours, too).  We created a six-week rotating walk to school schedule where one parent would walk all the kids to and from school for a week then trade with five other families on our block.  When it was time for her to birth her fifth baby, I went next door to sleep in their house until her older kids woke up.  In April of 2007, we sat on my sofa watching the horror of the Virginia Tech (her alma mater) shootings unfold on the news.

Our kids became psuedo-siblings and played together daily.  We planned a front-yard flashlight Easter egg hunt one Spring, and bought matching Gerbera daisies for our front gardens, at our childrens' request.  Many a meal was eaten at one another's homes, and a few restaurants saw the gaggle of us dine together as well.

A few weeks ago, when we posted on Facebook that we would be at Disney, I immediately got a text from her asking where we would be that week as they were headed to Disney for a vacation as well!  We were driving from Fort Hood; they were driving from Fort Stewart.  It was easy to coordinate a meeting spot and we met up the next day.  The kids were excited to see each other and, over ice cream, began reminiscing among themselves.  "Remember that time we went to the zoo in Waco and they had that cool slide with the otters surrounding it?"  "Remember when we got in big trouble for cutting the canvas on our wooden playset and tried to blame it on the the little kids?"  "Remember when we used to have pasta picnics at your house?"  ... and on and on it went.

It was so much fun to see them!  The baby who was born just weeks before they PCSed to Fort Carson was now four years old!  Their oldest, who was in 4th then 5th grade here, is now a beautiful high schooler, enrolled in ROTC and talking about boyfriends.  All the kids had changed so much, yet there was not a single awkward moment.  It was just fun to see them again and catch up face-to-face.  They are one of our favorite Army Families and will always have a special chapter in our Army lives.