September 26, 2007 Edition

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Value of family

Amber Adams
Staff Writer

I have always had a great appreciation for the closeness of my family. Our family is quite large, as my mother is one of six, my dad, one of four, and my biological father, one of four. I have been blessed to know most of my grandparents and still have several living.

In February of 2006 my brother-in-law joined the Army, and over the last year-and-a-half my appreciation for the value of family has grown. Casey is my husband's younger brother, and when Clint and I were dating he was very irritating. He always wanted to hang out with us or go to the movies with us. There are six years between the two and having an 11-year-old boy tag along was not my idea of the perfect date.

As we grew up, and Clint and I married, Casey became less irritating and more like a younger brother of my own. When he left for boot camp last year, I cried with everyone else. When he graduated and was preparing for AIT, I was very proud. When we found out he was going to be stationed in Germany, I felt a mixture of relief and sadness. I knew Germany was a much better alternative than Iraq, but I hated that he would be so far from home.

He spent a month with us last fall before he left for Germany. I enjoyed having him home though Clint took up most of his time. (Not that I blame him.) We have talked to him nearly every week over the last year, and sent pictures back and forth through MySpace and e-mail, but it's not the same as having him home.

He took leave earlier this month and was in for two weeks. It wasn't nearly long enough, but we were happy just to see him. I spent the whole first week he was here sick and didn't get to do any of the things Clint and I had planned with him. This made taking him to the airport this time even harder.

Casey called his mother with some good news early this week. The new orders he received on Monday said the Army is shutting down the base, and his group will be re-stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, within a year.

While he's here, Casey and I fight like brother and sister, but I'm never glad to see him leave, and I can't wait until he's back on U.S. soil.

It is such a cliche, but I have to say, oftentimes we don't realize how much something or someone means to us until they are gone.

I cherish every moment with my family.

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