Today’s You Know You’re a Mom comes to us from Ingrid Cribbs, the wife of a Naval officer, Michael, and the mother of 15-month old Anna, the strawberry-haired, playful, opinionated, [slightly] dramatic rendition of both Michael and Ingrid. No really, she looks exactly like both of them.

Can you see the resemblance of both parents? Not yet? Well, keep looking.
Can you see it now? Oh man. So darn cute.

Ingrid is on deck today as our You Know You’re a Mom because here on Memorial Day, and every day, I want to honor not only our service members who sacrifice their lives in so many ways, but also their families who tirelessly adjust and create new lives around themselves wherever they go. Ingrid and Anna make unique sacrifices to their lives when Michael is out on a deployment, and she often does not hear anything from him at all for weeks or months. What an incredible life to live, don’t you think? Requires such courage. I text her every so often and just tell her how brave she is because that’s really all I can say. Because it’s true. 

A little history: Ingrid and I have been friends since college. We ended up in nearly all the same predicaments at almost the same time, including an internship that led us into youth ministry, together. This was a year of unprecedented wackiness, and I’m so thankful we had each other for sidekicks during this roller coaster. Ingrid married the man of her dreams a few months after I married mine, and when my little John was only 3 months old, Miss Anna came on the scene. So our history of doing major life transitions right next to each other remains pretty consistent. And it’s made our friendship that much more fun.

Ings and I at her wedding. 

Ings and I in LBDs: she’s 5 months and I’m 8 months here, early October 2010.

Since her marriage, Ingrid has lived in various cities and states around the U.S., adjusting to the military lifestyle with grace, creativity and the usual joie de vivre we expect from her. Ingrid adds fun and life to every situation she’s in, and I wish I could spend real-time with her and her daughter, Anna, as they grow up together.

Ingrid and Anna, doing some girl time.

And now, without further ado, here’s Installment #8: Ingrid’s You Know You’re a Mom moment, Military-Mom style: 

You know you’re a military mom when you’re walking out of the gym and staff members you’ve never seen before are calling your daughter by name and she looks back at them like she knows them.
I’ll explain.  I married an amazing Naval officer who has no ordinary Navy job.  He is one of the few nuclear submarine officers who serves aboard the USS Alabama.  The U.S. submarines are our country’s silent protectors that are secretly scattered all over the waters waiting for the orders to strike.   
What does this have to do with the gym?  Well because of his job he spends up to 16 hour days being trained or leading others to effectively do their job.  Then they deploy for months and no one knows where they go.  We have limited contact with them and go on with our lives.  This drove me crazy until I joined the YMCA when Anna was younger because they have childcare.  It doesn’t come cheap, but to have that 1.5 hour break to exercise has worked wonders.  So we go almost every day even when working out is the last thing I want to do or have the energy to do.  We go because I know I will have a break and my daughter loves it.  Apparently they love her too.  I mean they see her almost every day! 
What I love about military kids is that everyone knows them and loves them so dearly. 

Ingrid, this is awesome. Thanks for sharing a glimpse, and we know it’s only a glimpse, into your life as military mom. I’m glad your daughter is so loved. Thank you so much for your sacrifices that you make, alongside Anna and Michael. Thank you for loving your husband so much that you’ll follow him anywhere, and for caring about and investing in our nation and it’s people, and folks like little old me. You’re a great friend, and I know you’re adaptable, fun-loving personality make this adventure possible. I’m proud to call you my friend.

Happy Memorial Day to you and yours. Hug a military service member and his or her family today. Tell them how thankful you are for all they for us, out front and behind the scenes. We are a grateful nation.

{And don’t forget: send your You Know You’re a Mom moments to}

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