The friendships formed within the military lifestyle are special. And friendships during long deployments are among the most sacred. More often than not, you’re away from family, thrown into unfamiliar situations, and dealing with death, fear, and pain associated with missing a spouse. A group of girls became my family for 16 months up at Ft. Drum – our husbands were deployed from February 2006 to June 2007. We cried together, laughed together, shoveled snow, attended memorial services, and held strong when a four-month extension was announced two weeks before homecoming. We were more than friends, we were family.
As is the case with the military, soon after homecoming we all went our separate ways. We would email, Facebook, and even talk on the phone. It wasn’t the same but that didn’t matter – we had gone through too much together to let a silly little thing like distance to weaken our bond.
The five of us spent a weekend together back in March 2009 in Cincinnati, OH. I was 7 weeks pregnant at the time and extremely sick. But I didn’t care, I was just happy to be with the girls again. Since then, some of us would see each other from time to time (e.g. Clay and I visited Jackie up in Alaska this past summer) but the five of us didn’t have the opportunity to get together until this past weekend in Pittsburgh, PA.
While I’m sure some of our family and friends were perplexed as to why we chose a northern city as our destination in the middle of January, I absolutely fell in love with Pittsburgh. It was the first I had spent any significant time in the city and I was blown away (although, maybe I’ve just been in Oklahoma too long…). We stayed downtown and took in as many sights as the weather would allow. Don’t worry – we also ate, drank, and shopped a lot too.
Disclaimer – I didn’t want to haul my camera around so all of these pictures of from my iPhone, hence the quality (or lack thereof). Here is the view of downtown Pittsburgh from Mt. Washington. We took the Monongahela Incline, the oldest and steepest incline in the United States, to the top and soaked in the lights.
The obligatory shot in front of Heinz Field, home of the Pittsburgh Steelers.
We ate at the Primanti Bros. Restaurant in the Ship District.
We split a couple of sandwiches (they’re huge) and cheese fries. I opted for the steak and cheese and an Iron City beer. The consensus was that the sandwich was okay. I really liked the coleslaw but wasn’t a fan of fries in the sandwich and the steak and cheese itself didn’t hold a candle to a Philly cheesesteak. Nonetheless, we’re glad we stopped by a Pittsburgh legend.
Because I wasn’t 7 weeks pregnant this girls weekend, I enjoyed some drinks.
Don’t worry, I had beer too. Bottle and draft – I am an equal opportunity beer lover.
After a long day of shopping, some cheesecake hit the spot.
We’re like the Golden Girls.
I missed Clay and Weston a lot but I was so thankful for the opportunity to spend some time with the girls. We will have another reunion in a couple of years, and I know it will be just as sweet. After all, we’re not just friends, we’re family.