Foster family comes home for two-month vacation

Published 1:50 am Monday, August 10, 2009

NATCHEZ — Rebecca and Skylur Foster are far from home and close to home at the same time.

The Fosters are at the end of a two-month vacation, splitting time between Natchez and French Settlement, La., visiting family and friends. Today, the mother and daughter duo will board a plane for the nearly 15-hour trip to their current home in Germany.

When The Dart landed on Eastwood Drive, Rebecca Foster was gearing up for a Saturday evening barbecue with grandparents, Brenda and Robert Cantu, while Skylur enjoyed a swim in the pool.

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“We always come here for the summer,” Rebecca said. “Being so far away, this is just about the only time we get home.”

While being in Mississippi and Louisiana for the summer may feel like home, there actual home is on Grafenwohr Army base where husband and father James Foster is stationed as a U.S. Army specialist.

This summer Rebecca and Skylur, along with grandma, have taken several trips including day trips to Blue Bayou water park, Dixie Landing amusement park and a trip to New Orleans to visit the aquarium and do a little shopping.

“I got a real Build-a-Bear with my grandma,” Skylur said. “That’s been the best part, and just getting to see my grandma.”

Skylur said the oversees experience isn’t all its cracked up to be and longs for her visits to her grandparents.

“It seems like five years before I get to see them again, but it is really only a year,” Skylur said. “I wish we didn’t have to go back yet.”

Each summer when the Fosters return, Skylur meets up with old friends like her best friend Jade Collier.

“I wish she didn’t have to go back yet, too,” Jade said. “I wish she could stay and go to school here.”

Skylur will be a third grader when school returns to session in two weeks. And each year, Rebecca said the start of school brings an adjustment period for Skylur.

“When we get back, most of the friends she made last year will be gone,” Rebecca said. “That’s just the nature of the military, but it is hard on kids her age to make new friends each year.”

But living in Germany has afforded the Fosters a several opportunities to travel within Europe, something Rebecca is happy with.

“I’ve gotten to go all over, Amsterdam, Prague,” she said. “But there is one place I haven’t been yet — Italy. And I’ve got one year to do it.”

One year because at the end of that time period, James is scheduled to be deployed to Afghanistan, and Rebecca and Skylur will move to Natchez full time.

James had already spent 15 months in Iraq, and during that deployment, Rebecca and Skylur remained in Germany.

“That was hard,” she said. “Every day was hard emotionally and physically because there is only so much you can do alone while being so far from family.”

So when James found out he was scheduled to go to Afghanistan, the decision to return to the States was an easy one for Rebecca.

It’s also a decision Brenda is happy about.

“The military is a very good thing,” she said. “But it is hard on every member of the family.

“If they weren’t coming back, I’d go over there and get them.”

And Skylur sure wouldn’t put up much of a fight.

“I’m ready to come back and go to school here,” she said.