Recently, I was thinking about a conversation that my husband and I had about growing up in the same small towns our whole life. We discussed the fact that what were the chances that two people would meet and end up traveling the world together and leave the only hometowns we ever knew. Besides, having college endeavors. We also began to talk about our girls and how sad we thought it would be that no matter how much we get to see in this world as a Marine Corps family that our children will never experience going to the same schools as their neighborhood friends for all of their educational career, how they will never have just one bedroom that was always theirs, or having family at every sporting event and birthday party. Just the thought of this made me pretty sad for them. But, then I started thinking about all of the places God has led the Marine Corps to take us. Although we have not lived in just one small town in the past 13 years, but 4, we have been a part of so many wonderful experiences that only a small town can offer. My children have learned through these life experiences the same core values that C.L. and I learned, but so much more richly. These small towns like our own, has taught them that every community really is a village. Every mama knows your mama so it is best to listen to them. They have learned that local football games are a big deal, friendships are easily made and broken, they have learned that each family has a belief system, but the best place to be is at your local church. They have learned that acceptance in a small community is essential to survival so reaching out to others is a must. We have had and continue to have a storm of children through our house on a daily basis. So I have learned to take each fingerprint as an opportunity to love and nuture and I know my neighbors have and do the same. Being in a small community gives a sense of security, love and pride. It is something that can't be felt in a big city. The feeling gets lost in a rush of people and traffic. The smog wears it down. It is in the small town that people take time to say hello, check on their neighbor, lend a helping hand, or pick up groceries at a local market. It is where you have friends that cheer a family on from the side lines just like a real family would because they are loved so much. It is where children have friends that are as close as cousins could be. These areas and special people have helped us redefine the word family. It is where the "slow" people live. I am thankful to be one of those and happy that my children are becoming a part of such a special group. If being part of this group means the things above, then please count us in. Our small towns may not be fancy and may not have the highest end equipment that the bigger places have, but they do have people who care. People who recognize you when you ride your bike down the road, the "boys" are the local heroes, and everyone has an opportunity to be famous, if only for a second in a small town.
So although we as a Marine Corps family have not been placed in one area forever, we have had an opportunity to be a part of some pretty special places. We have taught our friends our southern traditions, that mason jars make the best glasses, deep fried dishes are a must for comfort food, Saturday morning breakfast is open to everyone, hugs were given when they were needed and a hand was lended when in need. My children have shown me that it is not about how long we have been somewhere that matters, but the imprints that we leave behind.