Happy Veteran's Day

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Tonight I sat down to look for a certain Instagram photo.  The one from spring 2013 of my husband, myself and our little Celia.  This is by far, not the best picture we have ever taken.  Trust me, I'm kind of particular.  My eyes are half closed, a purple hood is covering part of my daughter's cute face, and my husband is making a goofy smile; not to mention its half snowing/raining around us.  But its one of my favorites.  Its a time when we are the happiest, you can see the excitement radiating off of us, with little patriotic balloons shimmering in the background.

My husband had just gotten back from a deployment, tour number two for our relationship and the first one with our child.  But I'm not going to go into detail about that.  Its not important to this story.

As I was scrolling through the images of the last couple years, I found our growing little girl, with her cheesy little smile and the silly things she does and says, places we had gone together, food that we had eaten.  But there is a time frame where the images are slightly different when my husband was gone.  There are fewer of Daddy's face, except the occasional Face Time screen shot.  Images of cookies I baked to mail to him (which weren't very good to be honest), several of me and the little version of Celia, and places we had gone and food that we ate without Daddy.

Don't get me wrong, it wasn't all bad.  I went on trips to see friends, I read some good books, regained my independence and really remembered who I was as a person (you know, not just a mom).  And I feel we had it pretty good.  I got to talk to my husband often, and even Face Timed frequently (which I think helped Celia a lot).  Technology is an amazing thing.

But this was temporary for us.  Or so I thought.  'Assumed' would be a better word.  The deployment is just a period of time.  A start date and an end date.  But thats not accurate at all.  Regardless of what they are, these experiences during this period of time affect us more than we realize.  We are maybe more appreciative of the people in our lives (especially the ones that shovel snow, you know who you are), or more willing to take risks in life, than before.  Sometimes I wonder if we would be the same people if we didn't have these experiences.

Looking through these photos reminded me of the not-so-easy times when my husband was gone.  But I also saw how it changed us, individually and as a family.  The good memories that followed of birthdays, holidays, road trips, reconnected family, eating meals together; these are important to me.  I am thankful for everything I have, even if I'm not the best at showing it everyday.

To everyone that has come before and played a part in our country's history:  thank you.  Thank you for not only the period of time that you invested in our country's freedom (whether voluntary or not), but thank you for being strong afterward in a society that may not recognize your struggles.  You are thought of often.  Happy Veteran's Day.