DESTIN, FLA. -- Greetings from Destin, Florida! The kiddos and I are here for the weekend. This place is a little piece of heaven on Earth.

Everything is here: gorgeous beaches, great shopping, tons of restaurants and about 50 members of my husband's family. Did I mention that we're here for my husband's annual family reunion'

But my husband's not here. He's still at Fort Jackson.

A special place exists in the Army. It is a place somewhere between a deployable unit and an overseas assignment, and that place is called TRADOC.
TRADOC is a magical place where my husband comes home every night, but he's not really home because he just eats dinner and passes out in a coma. TRADOC is the type of place where federal holidays disappear into thin air because someone always has to be with the Soldiers.

So, even though we planned for my hubby to attend the reunion for the first time in four years, at the last minute a tasking came up and he couldn't take leave.

However, we already told the family that we would be there. No one had laid eyes on our precious new baby boy yet, and they were itching for some baby time. Being the outstanding Army wife that I am, I put my Superwoman cape on and decided to take the kids to Florida. But, I wasn't going alone - I had to bring in reinforcements.

What do you do when the hubby is tied up in Army business but your life is racing on at the speed of light'

You call your "sistah" friend, and that's exactly what I did. You know that friend you call in the middle of the night to vent about the injustices of your life' The friend that you could never call if you got arrested because she would be sitting in the jail cell with you'

I hope that God has blessed everyone with such a friend.

In the Army, those friends become our family. These special people help you through life because they often know you better than you know yourself. My sistah Brande and I have known each other since we were 12. We've been through boyfriends, babies and bad times together. When I called her, she was excited to join us in Florida and brought her kids along for a great beach trip.

Given the realities of life, we don't get to see each other that often anymore so the trip has been a reunion for us also. We're getting quality time with the kids; we're reminiscing about the old days and talking about dreams for the future. Although she is a new face to the other members of the Lunderman family, she has been an unwavering fixture in my life for decades.

When I was deployed to Afghanistan, she was the one who sent funny e-mails that kept a smile on my face. When my toddler took a bad tumble, she calmed me down and assured me that her child had survived much worse without any lasting damage.

If you are talking about family, it doesn't get much closer than the two of us. I honestly can't imagine a family reunion without her. So, everyone is where they should be - minus my husband, who is stuck in TRADOC land.

But we will keep having a great time this weekend for him anyway.