Ask any military family, and they'll tell you....
"Hugs are the best things ever, and I don't get to hug her anymore," said 14-year-old Tiana Ballard. Her sister, Air Force Airman First Class Laura Max is currently stationed at Eielson Air Force Base in Alaska.
Even from the cold screen of a laptop, seeing and hearing a loved one, thousands of miles away, makes things that much warmer.
"I'm scared, but I'm very, very proud of her," said Kelly Tuck, Airman Max's mother.
"I'd be happier if they were home under my wing, but I've got to let them fly," said Margie Tuck, her grandmother.
Airman Max has been away from home for nearly a year working as a photo-journalist.
"She loves what she's doing," said her brother, Stephen Razis.
Max is the oldest of seven--just one of many soldiers in her family.
Her mother, was a combat medic who served in Iraq. She was sent home after being injured in a mortar attack earlier this year.
"They know what they want to do, and they're doing it," said Margie Tuck.
Margie, Max's grandmother was one of the first female helicopter pilots in her Navy squadron. That's where Margie says she met Laura's grandfather, also a navy pilot, more than 40 years ago.
"As a military family, you have to accept [that] this one's not going to be at the table, or that one is not going to be at the table on Thanksgiving or Christmas," Margie said.
It's a tradition, though, they're proud to continue. Airman Max's brother, Stephen is off to basic training next year.
"Our families have done it for many years, and now it's our turn," he said.
"That's what keeps this country free, is their sacrifices," said Margie.
A true legacy of service--the term military family could be considered an understatement in this case. Airman Max met her husband, Army Staff Sgt. Adam Max in the military.
Her brother, Michael Razis, is also in the Air Force. He is expected to ship out to Korea in January.