Andi wrote a great post about the sacrifices our extended families make when we live the military lifestyle. Missed births, birthdays, holidays, graduations, etc. It's hard for us and our family when we can't be a part of those special days. (If you haven't read Andi's post, I encourage you to do so!)
This post is about an amazing sacrifice my own family made when DH was wounded. I don't think I have thanked them enough or could ever repay them for their time, energy, and love.
When DH was wounded our kids were 5 and 2 years old. Once I knew I was headed to Walter Reed, I called my older sister and asked her to take care of our kids. Without hesitation or question, she said yes and we immediately started the ball rolling to get my kids from Kansas to Montana! My sister has two kids of her own - twin boys! At that time they were 4 years old. So she was willing to take my two kids, on top of her own two and her busy life as a mother and wife. She took care of a 5 year old boy (our son), her two 4 year old boys, and our two year old daughter. NOT an easy feat!!! Plus the fact that we had no clue how long my DH would be at Walter Reed (we were there 11 weeks - the first time).
What you have to understand about this whole situation is the fact that my older sister and I did NOT get along growing up. She is 4 1/2 years older than me and I was always "in her way." My mom always told us "If you weren't sisters, you would never be friends because you are so different." Granted, we grew up and matured and developed an amazing relationship as adults, but as early as 15 years ago we were at odds about the world.
I know it was not easy for my sister and her husband. We talked on an almost daily basis. Some days my kids' emotions were all over the map. They just didn't really understand. They knew their Daddy was "hurt," but they had no idea why they couldn't see him and why I had to go take care of him (and they couldn't come with me). It was also hard for me because I felt torn between my husband and my kids. I knew I needed to be there with DH, but my heart ached for my kids.
On the flip side, my kids were able to spend some serious quality time with one of their aunts and uncles and two of their cousins. Although we live really far from them now, there is a bond that will never be broken - for that, I am truly grateful. I grew up not knowing my extended family well at all. My siblings and I swore we would make sure our kids knew their extended family.
Despite the fact that my DH was wounded, I am forever grateful to my sister and her husband for taking our children under their wings as though our kids were their own. And the bonds that were created among all of us will never be broken.
To my sister, I LOVE YOU!!! And I can never tell you how much I appreciate you!