My husband, Dave, is a captain in the army reserves. He is the company commander of a unit in central Illinois. This weekend they had their annual family day. The plan had been we were all going to grill out and have a picnic at a sweet little farm near the unit. It started storming as we were driving down (2.5 hours drive). The weather looked like it was going to storm all day so we had to figure out something else to do. Some of these soldiers were coming in from Iowa, Indiana, Missouri, and Wisconsin just for this family day. We didn’t want them to have to sit around the unit the whole time and then drive back home. I called a blowing alley to see if they had anything available and they did! When I told her there would be around 80-100 people coming in an hour there was a long pause on the phone.. Surprise!
family days make you feel included and connected. Because reserve families don’t live in a military community, we don’t have a way of communicating with each other, or even meeting other reserve families. Even though at these family days we don’t get into deep conversations about being military spouses, it is still comforting to be in the same room with people you know go through the same things you do. Dave is gone a lot being in the reserves. He misses a lot being in the reserves (why do drill weekends and training always fall on birthdays, weddings and when your baby is born??). These family days help us connect with other families and I’m thankful for that.
Everything turned our good despite the weather. The bowling alley was perfect. Besides us being there, I think they only had a couple lanes being used. After we were bowling for a while, the owners started calling people up to get pizza lane by lane on the intercom. I went to go see what was up and the bowling alley was giving free pizza and sodas to the unit and their families! That was so thoughtful and nice of them!! For us to show up with 100 people, with little notice, on a Saturday morning, they were great and very welcoming!
Gianna had a blast and did a little dance after every roll. After Morgan would “grandma roll” her ball she had enough time to get a bite of pizza and popcorn before the ball even reached the pins… it was an adorable game, in slow motion.
When the rain let up for a bit we went out into the parking lot to give awards. Dave awarded a Purple Heart to this man. He turned around and talked to the unit but we couldn’t hear what he was saying. It wasn’t meant for us. But you could tell from their faces it was something heartfelt. I’m glad we got to witness it.
The girls had fun helping draw tickets for raffle prizes and then we all started to say our goodbyes and head home.
These get-togethers are important, I wish we could have more. Distance and funding make that hard so we appreciate the yearly picnic we do have.
I need to start fundraising for the units Christmas party. Any ideas on how to do that? I plan on baking a bunch of treats and driving down to the unit on drill weekends to sell and make money that way. Dave suggested a car wash… That would be a pretty ridiculous car wash. I picture Gianna swinging a sign around, Morgan splashing and rolling in mud, and me washing one car an hour because I’m a neat freak… Maybe people would donate to our carwash because they felt bad for us.. ha.ha..
I hope you had a nice weekend! Thank you for reading!