In my memoir, Standing By: The Making of an American Military Family in a Time of War, I write about our experience during my husband’s deployments, and since the last inauguration I have watched with great interest as Mrs. Obama has met with military families around the country to brainstorm on ways to improve the lives of spouses and children left behind. It’s a privilege to speak directly to the First Lady about our own situation. Her words, gestures and actions, and the President’s, underscored their depth of understanding for the challenges military families face during wartime. My brief time with them gave me comfort, as well as the confidence that comes from knowing that the people making decisions about our lives sincerely appreciate the sacrifice inherent in service.Throughout the evening, I thought of the many military families I have met throughout my husband’s career, and the hardships they have experienced because of the ongoing wars. I also remembered the tremendous ups and downs that my husband and I have experienced together. The evening was especially poignant because it was our wedding anniversary. Eight years ago, standing side by side in wedding dress and service dress blues, neither of us could have imagined where we would be today. That’s part of the magic of the military lifestyle: surprises lurk around every corner. For us, the magic still beckons, and the lights flickering on the White House menorah last night illuminated truths I had almost forgotten.