The Best Friends

Y’all, I about lost my mind making it to a wedding last weekend, but I’m so glad we made it happen! But mostly to the best, best friends who made it possible. We can blame 98.9% of that on the military, and why yes, I’ll explain every bit of it to you in painstaking detail. So, Steve’s good friend Paul asked him to be in his wedding (near Quantico) months and months ago. Steve excitedly accepted the offer. Conveniently the wedding took place on the tail end of my maternity leave, and is halfway to his parent’s house at Martha’s Vineyard (where we are long overdue for a vacation!), so we started to plan travel for the wedding and a family vacation afterwards. (Mistake #1 – planning when your spouse is in the military). Inconveniently to the core, cue jump school. The hubby was told he was to report to Fort Benning, Georgia for three weeks, completely killing any hopes and dreams we had of our great wedding/vacation idea. (I’ll add that this also meant the hubby would be missing his own birthday, Mitchell’s original birthday party date that has now been changed, the Daddy Daughter ball where they take their daughters to a dance dressed up in their uniforms, maybe Father’s Day, my return to work, and Aubrey’s start at daycare). Oh, how we love you, Marine Corps. 

WELL, by a stroke of luck that never seems to happen in this military life, the hubby thought he would be able to drive up for the wedding weekend, and I had forgotten to cancel our hotel reservation. He could meet us there Friday night, in plenty of time for the Saturday wedding! Buuuttt I had already pushed up our daddy-less Martha’s Vineyard vacation (we’re still going!) by a day and made plans for a pitstop on Friday night in Pennsylvania with our dear military friends, Lindsay and Matt. We are long overdue for a trip to see them too, and somehow my best friend still hadn’t met our new baby, so we put the hubby’s name down as the check-in person on the hotel reservation and said – sorry, see you Saturday. But we were going to make it to the wedding! 

Minor problem – we still had to tell his mom to change our arrival date and ferry reservation to Martha’s Vineyard for the second time (I felt terrible at this point), and we were three days out from the wedding weekend with no sitter for the big kids. (Aubrey still goes pretty much everywhere with me and I love it). I started texting some of our friends at Quantico, but of course, it was for ALL DAY Saturday to take our two and three year old (not exactly relaxing), with three days notice. Let’s reemphasize last paragraph’s point about how much we love our friends Lindsay and Matt. I was venting to Lindsay via text message about the whole deal when she suggested leaving them in Pennsylvania for Saturday night. Hadn’t even thought about it. A quick consult with Google Maps and I realized this would work. I could drive down to the wedding (three hours away) with one baby (what?!?! – who am I?!), and not worry about the big kids for a whole 24 hours, free to enjoy a wedding with just my husband and an easy-peasy newborn. It would only tack on one hour to the trip to Martha’s Vineyard the next day to pick them up, and I could feed Aubrey for our first pitstop on Lindsay’s couch and not a gas station parking lot. 

Why write all of this out for everyone to read? Some of my favorite posts are other military spouses talking about the “adventures” the military throws at them. I use the term adventures because it’s the nicest way I can think to put it. Someday I will want to look back and laugh at this crazy life of ours. But mostly, to recognize the amazing friends we have picked up along the way. In what other life would we have a wedding in a city six hours away  from home and know a handful of people on a military base just down the road we would trust to watch our children? Or friends that we consider family, where our husbands lives have literally depended on each other in combat, willing to drop their weekend at the last minute, excited to watch the crazier two parts of our three ring circus while we enjoyed at least the first part of our original planned vacation. 

And THEN, less than 24 hours before the wedding, the expected happened – you guessed it – no wedding for the hubby. Marine Corps, you are such a love-hate relationship! We were both so frustrated at this point, but this is really, truly so typical for our little military life that we should have figured this would happen from the get-go! Shout out to Hyatt for letting us cancel two nights in the hotel without making us pay – silver lining! So off to the wedding I went with Aubrey, big kids with Lindsay. I joked that I was going to make her husband come out of retirement and put on his dress blues for the night as a plus one (complete with a Purple Heart because he’s awesome). It really was a beautiful wedding and I’m so happy I could make it! But goodness, the hubby can’t seem to catch a military break these days. As much as I hate doing things like this without the hubby, I feel even worse for him having to miss our kids exciting milestones and these fun events. But, boy, are we grateful for sacrifices he makes for our country, and for our family. 

The funny part was, making it to our OWN wedding nearly seven years ago was about like this, also thanks to the military and a very poorly timed hurricane in North Carolina. So while we can thank the military for some pretty unexpected and crazy series of events for the past seven years, we can also thank it for some amazing friends we would have otherwise never had. In this case, these friends, who drove 22 hours to Florida to make it to Mitchell’s first birthday and help us announce Julia’s pregnancy to our parents. The friend who was the only other person who knew about little baby Aubrey and helped me tell the hubby. The friends who has taken all of our family pictures for the last few years. The friends who we shared many fun nights with living just across base housing. The friends who invited us on their Disney World vacation. Who traveled seven hours to be there when your husband comes home to meet his first son, but pack up and leave right after homecoming because they also know you want the house to yourself! Who also traveled this distance to help us throw Julia’s second birthday party this year. The friends who completely understands the fact that we are still waiting for military orders that were coming two months ago, then two weeks ago, and now who knows when. And who have shared some really hard times among all the good ones. I could go on, and on, and on. This life sure is crazy, and our journey thus far would not have been nearly as fun or possible without the people we have met. Funny thing was, I had these pictures sitting in a blog draft since the winter meaning to post them from when Lindsay and Maybree visited last winter. I try to get my favorite photography up here on the blog and never got around to it. And the even funnier part was, the post was already titled, “The Best Friends.” We love you guys! 

I’m sure I’ll be back in the coming day with updates from our travel and fun, and we have a few days to get ready before we’re back home and back to daycare and back to work. I really do love this crazy life we’re living, even though it’s really crazy sometimes. 😉

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