OCEAN SPRINGS, MS (WLOX) - Every deployment seems to get harder for the Reynolds family of Ocean Springs.
Major Michael Reynolds, a native of Jamaica, is stationed at Keesler Air Force Base. His career has taken him all over the world, but the deployments and the emotional toll that takes can be challenging for the family.
Michael recently came home from a 183 day deployment to Afghanistan. It was his fifth time to be deployed in 15 years, and it won't be his last.
The Reynolds family includes Michael's wife Lisa and their two children, an 8 year old boy and an 11 year old girl. As they get older, they seem to miss their Dad more with each passing day.
"It's tough," Michael said. "It actually brings tears to my eyes. At times, it is very emotional."
Michael's wife, Lisa, has always been there for her husband and her children.
"The kids and I also serve, because in a sense, it takes a whole family" she said."
As a military spouse, Lisa Reynolds has certainly learned that over the years. Lisa said when Michael is home, he is totally devoted to his family. But when he is deployed, the kids hurt.
"You know, Dad is not there for my first soccer game. Dad didn't get to coach soccer this year. Dad missed my first swim meet. He does not get to be there to see some of their major events in their lives," she said.
On their daughter's recent 11th birthday, Michael, who was on deployment, took a moment to reflect. What he realized, was painful.
"I realized then that she is little, and in a few years she will be off to college, and during that time, it seems I was never there. I was always gone. And that is when I realized, I have missed a lot of her life."
Michael and Lisa understand that devotion to duty and devotion to family is a pretty difficult balancing act. But they are a team, and that makes it work.
Lisa told us that communication is the most important thing in their family. As for Michael, the love and devotion he has for his wife is pretty obvious in what he said as we were preparing to finish our interview.
"I am very grateful for my wife. She has handled and went through a lot through my deployments. She has always been there for me. She is my best friend."