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Several years back I had an experience that changed my life forever. I was at the airport when a blue Ford F-150 pulled up. A woman in an Army uniform walked out with her daughter in hand. They were smiling, but it was one of those smiles that you knew would lead to something else, kind of like the calm before the storm. The husband came around with these huge green bags; bigger than ones I have ever seen. It was clear that she was expecting to be gone for a while. The man and woman had a small conversation. He then leaned over, gave her a hug and kiss, and simply smiled. They both looked down at the little girl, reminding her that her presence had not been forgotten. What came next nearly broke my heart. The woman kneeled down on one knee and whispered, "I'll be back before you know it." They hugged and the woman stood up, grabbed her bags, walked away, and gave a small wave when she reached the baggage check-in. As soon as the truck had come, it was gone. Just like that.
I was that little girl. Looking back through all of the moves, deployments and daily challenges, I have realized that I did not choose this life, but rather it chose me. It gave me opportunities to experience different traditions and lifestyles, to have family and friends all over the world, and most importantly, gave me the right to brag about my hero — my Mom.