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What You See Isn't Always What You Get

This picture is a moment frozen in time within my heart.

It's a day I wish I could erase, filled with tears and heartache.

This was the beginning of a new normal. Without the backstory, you could quickly assume this is a sweet picture of a father and his sons. Oh, but there is so much more to this moment.

My husband's smile in this picture masks his nerves and anxious feelings. What could be portrayed as happiness in this picture is sadness.

My oldest is pictured hugging his father, not knowing how to sort through his feelings. Instead of focusing on the fact that it is his 4th birthday, his head is filled with many questions and worries.

My youngest, not even a year old, is perfectly content in his daddy's arms. He doesn't have a care in the world, and yet everything about his world is gearing up for change.

This picture embodies the day my boys learned first-hand what a deployment feels like. As a military wife, this day will continue to go into the books as one of the hardest. It put a permanent scar on my heart.

Although everyone looking at this picture can see smiles…

I see a final hug. I hear the screams of my 4-year-old calling for his daddy as we drive away. I feel a tightness in my chest as I recall the events of this day and navigate how to help my boys through the season.

As hard as it is to reflect on the memories that deployment brings, this picture also provides me with hope.

I look at this picture and remember just how fast time flies.

I can look at my boys and see how resilient they are. I reflect on my marriage and how the difficult seasons have strengthened us.

I am thankful for all the goodbyes, heartaches, and tears. Without them, we wouldn't be who we are today.

Despite military life's challenging circumstances, there is ALWAYS HOPE to be found.

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