Best family portrait ever (source)
I loved seeing all the kids on the metro last week for the annual take your kids to work day. It made me kind of wistful for the days when my kids were younger and I could pull them out of school at will for airshow preview days and other cool events. Which reminded me of one of the most unusual events I've ever been a part of...
It was early on the morning of December 26th, 2006, and the house was packed with family. My clock radio went off and the first coherent thing I heard was the announcement that former President Ford had died. My husband sighed and said, "Well I guess you are headed in to work." At the time I was assigned to Andrews and my squadron was responsible for the airfield. At Andrews we actually exercised the funeral plan, so everyone was ready. But still, all eyes would be on our flight line, so it was all hands on deck.
As the event schedule solidified, I realized that my family would be able to witness a part of this history taking place. Our building looked directly on to the Air Force One parking ramp, and there would be a formal ceremony for when the casket arrived. My grandfather, a WWII vet, my mom, my husbands parent's, my husband and kids all came on base and were in place early. Then we watched in awe as the ceremony took place. I remember a TV nearby playing the CNN feed, and it was EXACTLY what we were watching through the windows.
So much is written about balancing work and home life, but when you are 100% a family, and work for an organization that is 24/7, "balance" just doesn't happen. Instead what worked best for me was to merge them together whenever possible, and whenever it would benefit both. I loved how my airmen stood up straighter and smiled when I would introduce them to my parents, husband or kids. I loved seeing the smile on my son's face when he got to sit in the trumpet section of the Air Force Band or the awestruck look on my daughter when she got to meet the first female Thunderbird pilot. Don't ever be afraid to involve your family in what you do - whether in combat boots or in flip flops, whether you work in a cubicle or are working a shift at the high school concession stand, whether you are paid or volunteering.