This is looking back on a Thanksgiving past; just last year as a matter of fact. It is my husband Phil's tradition to grill the turkey. He loves it because it is an excuse for us to invite our friends over early; thus extending the festivities.
The holiday season is a time for family. If you are not living around the family you've always known, then I believe it is customary to build one. When we lived in Alabama we did just that. We had a six person family. (only the men appear in the photo) We were relatively inseparable for about a year, then the Army split us up. Two of us went to Germany, two to Alaska, and two to Japan. At the moment there is only one of us in Germany and I miss the other five like the Dickens.
Relationships that Army families build with one another is truly impressive. Just last week I taught a class called Expectations and the Impact of the Army on Family Life. (It is a class in the Army's AFTB program) It's quite an interesting and in-depth topic, one that could be covered for far longer than the 60 minutes I had. None the less, in the lesson traits of a successful Army family are covered. Words like Patriotic, Adaptable, and Sense of Humor are highlighted. At the end of this portion of the class we share some of our own words. Mine changes every time. I mention this because today I change my word again. It is now Helpful. It's not a groundbreaking word, but it means a lot. Everyone that I have met in the Army, so far, is incredibly helpful and supportive. I think we all know what it's like to need something whether it be advice, a ride, a tissue, a meal, a dog walked, a beer; the list is endless. I find that my community is never at a loss for people with helping hands. We have all needed assistance, and we are all happy to pay it forward.
More specifically, recently I needed a Christmas tree. Without boring you with the details I'll say it was an emergency situation and leave it at that. Guess how long it took me to get a tree. Less than five minutes; no kidding. I had a friend donate her tree to my cause, deployed soldiers, and asked for nothing in return. Describing it as plainly as I have; it may seem inconsequential. I however, was saved by it . I am still impressed with how quickly my situation turned from being a problem, to being a blessing.
I'm sure there are a lot of communities out there that are like mine. From the bottom of my heart; I hope you've got one. I see lots of people posting things on the FB that they are thankful for. As cliché as it sounds; I am thankful for my Army community.
That being said, I will (obviously) not be spending this holiday season with typical loved ones. I have been invited to celebrate with a new family of friends; who I am sure will be just as wonderful as my last. I am looking forward to experiencing their new traditions and sharing one (or two) of my own. Yes Sarah Jackson, I will be bringing your Bourbon Balls tomorrow. I am sad to report however, that I do not see any Hand Pies in my future.
For some reason this particular holiday has me reflecting more on my life, and friends and family, and being American, than any has before it. I have been finding it equally as rejuvenating to look back on how I've gotten to my current position in life, and remember to use it as a tool to enjoy now. If you are interested in a few amusing anecdotes from the now, click here.