Valuing Family Time

Yesterday was Veteran’s Day and we are so blessed to have several family members and friends who have served in the United States Armed Forces. It is truly a blessing to be surrounded by individuals and families who pursue liberty and justice and are committed to preserving the freedom we experience here in America. 

As a military family, we have developed a unique perspective on family time. Time is never guaranteed in this profession so we have learned to make the most of when we’re together. It is so important to steward our resources and one of our most precious resources is our time. Time is ever passing, constant, and once lost cannot be regained.

When my husband first started the process of entering the military he had an overnight appointment for the required physical. We realized this would be the first time we had spent a night apart in our entire marriage! We had opportunities to spend weekends away with friends and family, but until that point had always chosen to remain together. I cherish those early years as so many nights, days, weeks, and months have been spent apart since then. These time apart had taught us how to make the best use of the gift of time and not to take it for granted.

As our children are all still in elementary school, we are in a season where family dinner around the table is a nightly expectation. We use this time to catch up on the day’s events and check in with each other. Our dinner times aren’t reminiscent to 50’s family sitcoms. There are tears shed over finishing vegetables and sometimes raised voices when the table is used as a drum one too many times, but the effort to meet together every day and to put down our screens and other distractions builds unity within our family.

We do enjoy exploring new places together, but overall our family are homebodies and we love spending time together within the walls of our own home. Filling the everyday normal with happiness and laughter makes this a place where we want to return and where we find comfort. Unfortunately, our soldier is called away to work long hours or be away for days, weeks, or months at a time but there will always be our home and our hearts waiting for him when he returns. We create a home where we want to spend time and where there is comforting memories and the assurance of love. 

It can be easy to waste away the days that are spent “just” at home. We can each go to our own corners and do our own things without really interacting with each other at all or we can choose to be together and to enjoy one another and go build our relationships. We’re a family of introverts, so solitary time is respected and necessary for peace. But we also prioritize family time and learning that sometimes we do things we don’t particularly want to do so that we can spend time together. Sometimes I take my reading outside so that the boys can play safely in our corner of the neighborhood. Sometimes the boys have to play a game of their brother’s choosing and wait their turn for their preference. Sometimes there isn’t enough time to do everything everyone wants to do, but we know that tomorrow we’ll be together again. We have learned that being together is better than being apart and we make the most of our time.

Though we would prefer not to spend so much time apart as a military family, we are so grateful for the lessons it has taught us and the life it has provided for us. The days apart make the days together so much sweeter and we make sure to strengthen our family every chance we get.

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