Sacrifices for our families

As many of you may or may not know, the military has come into my life in a big way over the years as my childhood sweetheart joined at 18 and I ended up marrying him. He’s been in now for longer than I care to count and we’ve not seen much of one another over the years- maybe a month or so each year? We have three beautiful kids together and are finally getting some time together. It’s funny when you’re separate for so long that the time back together becomes so precious to you. I think you make better use of the time than if we were together all the time.

To anyone who knows a military family, they know how much the parent(s) sacrifice being away from their loved ones. Tonight I took a local military family out for a family ‘Christmas’ session. I met the mum before we landed in the states via a mums group on Facebook of all places. We connected over the twin similarity and eventually got to catch up a few weeks into settling here.
As they saying goes- we’ve not looked back since. It’s like they’ve always been apart of our lives.

This little man is five, and is the current boyfriend in my four year old’s life. haha. He officially asked her out one night at dinner and although I’m quite sure they have no idea what that actually means, I can be certain they treat each other beautifully and play so well together. He is a sweetheart and a half.

Mister C and has been absent of a constant dad around in his life- not by choice. C’s dad is in the Navy and has been deployed more days than anyone cares to count, but he adores his dad above all others- including super heroes. He was looking forward to another year at least with his brothers, mum and dad, but dad’s program, as usual, as been changed and they deploy again next year for 7-9 months. Yes. 7-9. Can you imagine being a child without their parent for that long? So they’re holding onto each and ever second they can until that ship sails out of the bay.

During our family session yesterday, I asked the little guy, ‘who is his hero?’ and he said his daddy because ‘he sails away from me for so long to protect me with his big ship.’ I then asked what is the hardest thing for him having dad away?
He’s not there to tuck me in at night, and I love it when he puts me to bed.’ Holding back some tears from all of us witnessing his moment I asked him one last question, So what’s the best thing about him being home?
‘I get to give him a cuddle whenever I want to.’ My little man I think you just broke every mum and dad’s heart across the country. They all want to come tuck you into bed each and every night now. You are a beautiful soul.

I just caught a tiny moment after he said about not having dad there to tuck him into bed and I adore the connection. He is so vulnerable and sad but strong as well. It was only a split second and he was back to cracking jokes and laughing again.
This little guy’s amazing, resilient, caring and one for which I am blessed to have in my life and have met such a beautiful family. He has twin younger brothers who love him so much. They apparently cried for the first week Mister C went to big school as they missed him. You can see below they just love to laugh and be around each other.
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I asked the twins what they love about daddy and one said Tigger and the other said superman. They’re still three and show their love rather than talk about it. This little man DEFINITELY loves his cuddles with dad.
You have welcomed us into your home with open arms and friendship beyond anything I could have asked for or imagined. Your family will get through the next deployment and the one after that, only this time  you’ll have us there right along side you to support, talk, cry and laugh with you when you need it. Oh and hubby will be over to help with the lawn and garden stuff you need!
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With such caring, resilient children they will constantly remind you how much they love you. Not always with words but with their actions towards each other and people they meet. When you’re having a ‘walk out of the house to re-group’ kind of day, just remember to take a photo from tonight with you where they are all kissing you and giving you a hug. Get your strength from them when you need it most.

Thank you for sharing your family with me tonight, It was an honor to photograph you xxx

XJC

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