I guess it’s no surprise to anyone that this has been a tough year for us as a family. I say tough over hard because hard implies bad. tough implies that something is worth fighting through to get to the end outcome. this year definitely qualifies as tough, no doubt about it.
I’d be lying if I didn’t say that I’ve had my moments. I’ve had days that were considerably better than others and days that were considerably worse. We have been incredibly blessed as a family to have the most dynamic and compassionate support network on the planet to encourage in the bad days and celebrate with us in the good. the old saying “I’d rather have a few good friends rather than a bunch of fair-weather friends” has never rung more true to me than in this last 7.5 months. I’ve been blinded by people’s true colors on both ends of the spectrum, but feel closer than ever to the people who I love and who love me in return. In that respect, this deployment has enriched my life beyond what my words can express.
We’ve traveled a lot and have plans to travel a lot more in the next 4.5 months. It’s really refreshing and so downright fun to be welcomed completely into people’s homes and becoming part of their daily-life families for a while. We are headed out next to see our nurture-over-nature aunts, uncles, and cousins. We will be there for our “cousin w’s” 2nd birthday party and we just feel overwhelmingly lucky to be part of this special time with him. It’s amazing to watch these tiny humans grow into amazing little people. I am eternally grateful for these little children in my life who are my borrowed babies like my sweet w and my sweet r.
With all that said, I’ve been unusually snarky the past 4 weeks or so. It’s especially disconcerting because I’ve been so acutely aware of how blessed and happy I am. what a contradiction, eh? it’s like my plate is full of love and happiness and joy but I’ve only got 3/4 of a broken plate to work with in the first place. I guess I’ve underestimated just how much the holidays mean to me. It’s been harder than I imagine not having us together to bake cookies, sing carols, cuddle, and just kiss each other goodnight. I know it’s only temporary and that we will all be together next year, but somehow I still feel almost guilty for enjoying the holiday at all- so I guess that’s why I’ve been full of holiday jeer. I am trying to be better- I will keep trying too.
it’s also that time of year again when baby j turns another year older. I took 1 fine, 2 in stride, but 3…. oh 3…. is keeping Kleenex in business. every time I think about my baby turning 3, I cry. I swear it was only yesterday I was baking his 1 year birthday cake and watching him learn to walk, and holding him when he slept. tonight I got a glimpse back into those moments when my nearly 3 year old boy crawled into my lap and laid his head on my chest for a snuggle. I had a million things I thought I *needed* to be doing, but in those moments where I held my beautiful baby boy, time did not move forward and I held my 37 pound miracle got as long as he’d let me. he only stayed for a moment but I made mental notes of the way his skin smelled and felt against me, the way his eyelashes tickled my chest, the way his back rose and fell rhythmically with every breath, the way his legs draped across my legs like he was my missing puzzle piece. it was such a special moment in our all too busy lives and I wish I’d have forced myself to remember when he was a baby more often. my big boy is turning 3. he looks like a boy, talks like a boy, walks and runs and falls like a boy. but in my mind he is still my tiny rosy cheeked wonder that heard my heart from the inside.
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