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Month of the Military Child

April is the Month of the Military Child, it recognizes the important role military children play in the armed forces community and the daily sacrifices they make and the challenges they overcome. So this month we showcase the Riley Family.For those of you that know the Riley's, you'll know that we were blessed to have them join us here in Madison for a little over a year before they moved to Georgia last Summer. But, our military mama's never truly leave us. As they say, 'it's not goodbye it's see you later'. So with that being said, read below to hear their military family experience, and join us in wishing them all the best in their next adventure in Germany.

"Hi! I’m Sonia Riley. I’m a military spouse. My husband has been in the Army since before we met. We’ve been together for ten years, and married for five. We have an almost 3 year old little boy named Liam who keeps us on our toes. In just five years we have moved four times, to three different states and are currently preparing for our fifth move overseas to Germany.

As a military family, times of separation are part of our lives. Away from my husband, away from family, from our daily normal. Slowly learning to successfully navigate through this journey as a family.

Liam joined us amidst a deployment. My husband was deployed to Korea when I had Liam. Spending just 8 days with his dad before saying, “ see ya soon”. Andy would return 6 months later. Since birth he’s had to adjust to change. He’s been rolling with the punches like a champ. Thriving in all our temporary residences. Like a dandelion, blooming wherever the wind takes him. Planting roots and ready for adventure. He is resilient, his spirit can’t be broken. He is strong and kind hearted and is very alert of others feelings. He is aware that friendships are treasures, he holds them dear and loves his tiny people hard!! He knows the houses we dwell in are not our own, but we make them homes with our love for however long that adventure is, and then we pack up and do it all over again.... and again.

Blooming wherever the wind takes him .... Liam has been rolling with the punches since birth. Andy was deployed to Korea when he was born.

With every move, one of my priorities has been to find Liam friends. Because if I find him friends, I make friends! A win win for everyone. Coming to Madison/ Huntsville, and not truly being associated with the military establishment here on this particular assignment, was a first for us. To not have military comrades a call/ text away, was something completely new to us. As I lobbied in our house for the unpacking the first couple of weeks we moved there, I began to do some research on local mom and child friendly activities because I was ready to immerse myself in everything this new city had to offer. One day out a local park with Liam I noticed a group of moms jogging with their strollers up and down the hills of this park. I was interested and wanted to be in their group. After some intensive google searches I found FIT4MOM. I signed up for my first free class and fell in love with these mamas! They were so welcoming and ready to work our with me and was I. We were in Madison for a year and I love and miss it everyday. Experiencing new motherhood with like minded mamas was a dream come true. Finding FIT4MOM in this chapter of my life was a blessing. Who knew that finding this group would bring me great friendships along with respect and greater admiration for my body and it’s strength.

Finding new people and making new friends doesn’t come easy, but just like with anything .... The longer you work at getting better at something, the easier it gets."