Thanksgiving 2014

Cousin Time
Cousin Time

I am delayed in saying Happy Thanksgiving to everyone, but I was happily enjoying some vacation time in Texas. I went with my family to visit my older sister, her boyfriend, and their newborn daughter. It’s been years since my older sister, Leslie, and I were privileged to spend time together for the holidays. I think the last time we were together for any holiday might have been high school.

During my military service, I missed Thanksgiving and Christmas with my family in 2004 and 2006 due to my deployments.

Below is a photo from the first deployment that shows how efforts were undertaken to provide a comforting atmosphere to our deployed service members on holidays. I did not take the photo myself but was given this image and many others as a collection from Nathan shortly prior to leaving Iraq in 2005. I had several 35mm disposable cameras on hand for the deployment and for some reason, I never thought to take photos of certain places like the chow hall.

meat tree01

I feel very privileged now as a civilian to have the freedom to visit family for the holidays. I am not the best at sitting around and relaxing, but it is nice to do so in the company of family. We enjoyed a very simple home cooked traditional meal of turkey, mashed potatoes, rolls, deviled eggs, and stuffing. Thomas and I picked up a pecan pie and a cherry pie from Sprouts to contribute to the meal.

My husband spoiling his baby niece.
My husband spoiling his baby niece.
Little squishy squish and myself
Little squishy squish and myself
Avery, her Auntie, and baby cousin
Avery, her Auntie, and baby cousin

Before we left Texas, we went out to breakfast with my sister at Cracker Barrel.  We made some tentative plans for a late summer/early fall visit in 2015. Being that we are the closest family to each other, I know how meaningful it will be for our daughters to grow up and see each other every couple of years, given their only child status. We had a good laugh about how my older sister once desired a big family like the one we grew up in and we shared with her how we entertained the idea of a second child for about six months after Avery’s birth.  Life seems a little easier when you are the parent on an only child, in my opinion.

IMG_6041

And because the heart of my project is never far away, I have some fun background information to share. I don’t believe I’ve mentioned before that I come from a military family. My dad was a sailor for 15 years and I think my mom would get a kick out of the fact three of her four daughters also gravitated towards military men as partners. Leslie’s boyfriend previously served in the Army; my sister, Megan, recently married her love, who serves in the Coast Guard; and as I’ve previously mentioned, my husband is a Marine.

On our trip home, I tried to remain vigilant to markers of military service. I encountered an older man wearing a Green Beret Foundation shirt. I also noted two cars with U.S. Air Force Retired stickers; one car with a U.S. Navy Retired sticker; and one car bearing a Semper Fidelis sticker.

I love my state.
I love my state.

 

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