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.
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.
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.
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.