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Extended Family in a Military World

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With my brother and his fiance in California this summer

My husband and I are both from California. Both of our families are in California. Most of our extended family is there, too. Since my husband joined the Army, we have lived in Germany and Tennessee. Although Tennessee is much closer than Germany was, it is still too far away. We can’t just hop in the car on a weekend and spend some time with them. Plane tickets are expensive and the journey across the country with three little boys is quite stressful. I believe that someday we will be closer to them. Either we will be able to move back to California or be able to be stationed there for a few years. They won’t always be so far away but for right now we struggle with what a lot of other military families do, not having family close by and not being able to see them as often as we would like.

We know what we are missing. Birthday parties, holidays and get-togethers that we just don’t get to be apart of. We are the “family from out-of-town” who gets to visit every so often. The Grandparents have to go too long between visits. We have to depend on our friends the way others depend on family. We spend holidays with them when it doesn’t work out to spend it with our families. For some reason Christmas is the hardest holiday for me to be away from my family on. There is just something so family centered about it and it makes me sad to think we are celebrating it too many miles from home.

As hard as all this is, I think I have gotten use to it. I know I will see my parents every 4-5 months. They will come out to visit or we will go visit them. I know that we are living this life because of my husband’s job and I am okay with it. I think it helps to know that it won’t always have to be this way, at least I hope not. It is just a season in our lives when we have to be far away from our families. As a military family I have accepted that we are not able to live near our families right now. This is how we and many other military families deal with the distance…

Connect on social media, share photos with each other and chat often: I know the Grandparents love all the photos I am able to share online.

Phone calls: It doesn’t cost any extra for me to call my mom on her cell so we talk often.

Plan visits when we can: It has been hard for us to visit California the last few years but we were able to go this summer and the boys and I should be out there again this spring.

Try to get stationed close to home:  Not always possible and sometimes frustrating depending on where home is. The closest we could get is three hours from my family and about eight or nine from his.

Time with family is something Military families give up but it also makes our visits home that much more special 🙂

Are you far away from your family? How do you handle the distance?

Don’t forget to enter the Military Family Great American Roadtrip Giveaway! Also, be sure to enter our ZAGG giveaway on facebook: a charger for all your devices on the go and earbuds, valued at $150. Ends 8/11.