Growing up, each summer I would visit the library weekly and walk out with a huge stack of books taller than my head. I would curl up on my window seat and read hours upon hours each day taking myself to far off fantasy worlds that only existed in the books I read.
My daughter, now 13, is a mirror image of me. She begs me to take her to the library weekly because the 12 books she checked out last week have all been read through at a speed record pace. It’s incredible to see her enthusiasm for reading is stronger than mine ever was.
As I got older, though, those fantasies were substituted for the real world, and my time for reading books was given up for dishes, laundry and all of the other “real fun” things that keep a family in working order. I began to live Cinderella’s lifestyle, without the glass slipper.
But I still enjoy picking up a book or two each summer, though I now carefully select them, instead of grabbing stacks off the shelves like my former youthful self once did.
I was extremely excited to read 15 Years of War, not because I have a penchant for military novels, but because Kristine Schellhaas‘ life mirrored mine, but in a parallel dimension sort of way. Kristine and her husband Ross, are a military family, as are we, but they are Marine (unlike our alternate universe of being an Air Force family). They, like us, were married in 2003 (see the similarities). Another interesting quirk about our two families was I spent 5 years of my childhood in Boise, Idaho, as did Kristine. That window seat where I found my love of reading was in the same town that Kristine and Ross fell in love.
There is a saying that the military is a small world, and I truly believe that. There are 318 million people in the United States, yet, at one point in my life, Kristine and I may have actually been at the same grocery store when I was nine years old. And nearly 25 years later, here I am reading the story of how two people endured two wars, countless moves, training exercises, loss and love. It was an incredible story, but that’s not the half of it.