by Allison Perkins.
On Thursday, my family is coming over for Thanksgiving dinner.
There will be gaggles of children playing in the yard.
There will be men, young and old, yelling at the tv set as football rivalries play out in front of them.
There will be women in the kitchen, gossiping and laughing while the scent of turkey, yams and pumpkin slowly waft from the oven.
My newborn baby will be passed from one set of loving arms to the next and cooed at with absolute adoration.
Our children will inevitably argue and then fall back into each other with absolute glee as they begin their next game.
This is my family.
My family is my friend, and Navy wife, Melanie who I barely knew when we volunteered to organize vacation bible school together three months ago. By the end of a week filled with unruly 3-year-olds and difficult volunteers, we weren’t friends, we were battle buddies.
My family is the young family of a soldier who works for my husband. They stepped in to watch our children when our youngest was born just weeks ago. At the time, we barely knew each other. Now, our children consider their children among their “bestest” of friends.
My family is Army wife Marie, and her son who attends third grade with our oldest boy. Her husband is deployed to Iraq. Until we called to invite them, she wasn’t sure what the family would do this year without dad at home. She couldn’t bring herself to begin to make plans.
My family is the contractor who works in my husband’s unit whose own wife and infant daughter live thousands of miles away in Indonesia. At work, the men scuffle and argue over the best ways to do things. Some days, they might even call each other a few bad words. A lot of bad words, really. But on Thursday, they are happy to be together. Grateful, in fact.
We all are.
This is my family. No matter where we live, every Thanksgiving, we are surrounded by family. We gather with our co-workers, neighbors and some people we barely know – military families who have come together, thousands of miles from the families they know by blood to become a family in spirit.
This Thanksgiving, I am grateful for my military family.
The entire Operation Homefront family is incredibly thankful to all who have shared in our mission to support the families of our deployed military members and wounded warriors. For those spending Thanksgiving far from home this year, we thank you, and wish for a safe and happy return as soon as possible to your families. There is always a place waiting for you here!