Since I started my blog, I’ve always published a Thanksgiving post.
Reading through my 2013 post this year actually made me tear up this year. I had come a really long way up to that point and, since then, have gone even further.
As you can see, many things in my life have changed since that post (HA! Case in point: I’m married now to my best friend who I met AFTER that post and have a bun in the oven).
This year, I’m very much thankful for all of the things I listed in my 2014 post, but have a few things to add to that list.
In that 2014 list, I talked about my Pap Pap. And I know it may sound crazy, but since he passed away I honestly feel closer to him than I did when he was alive. He’s helped me so much and I KNOW that he’s been a driving force behind where I am today.
My Pap Pap (and my Dad’s Dad) served in WWII, but other than that I can’t say I really knew anyone actively in the military growing up. I remember I used to wonder why anyone would sign up to go and fight? Why would someone want to move all around? Why would someone choose that lifestyle?
They were purely ignorant questions because I truly didn’t understand.
I met Josh right after my stem cell procedure (in fact, Josh was the driving force behind this blog post) and fairly quickly he told me he was in the Army Reserves. I had so many reservations at first. I honestly wasn’t sure I could date, or potentially marry, someone in the military. Could I handle it? Could I make the sacrifice?
But for two years, we dated off and on. We always kept going back to each other. I liked being with him, I liked how he treated me, I just really liked everything about him. Little by little, that whole military issue grew less and less in my mind.
Whenever he told me he would be deploying in 2017, I got really sad. I really couldn’t wrap my brain around it because, again, I had never been exposed to it.
I figured I would miss him and it would be a really hard year. That there’d probably be lots of tears, fights, frustration and me not wanting to deal with it.
Do I wish he was here to see me go through my pregnancy? OF COURSE.
Do I wish he was going to be here to meet our little baby when she arrives? WITHOUT QUESTION.
Do I wish that I could talk to him more often then a few times via text? ABSOLUTELY.
But, at the end of the day, I know he’s out there protecting each and every one of us. He’s sacrificing so much to keep all of us out of harm’s way.
Each night I lay in bed, I say goodnight to my baby in my belly and my husband halfway across the world. Then I lay there and think how crazy his job is.
And I don’t mean in a highly classified way (which it is- don’t ask me what he does because I have no idea). But, what I mean is he willingly is risking his life for not only our family but for millions of people that he doesn’t even know. He put himself in harm’s way to help fight bad people and to help empower good people to stand up for themselves. And he does it all without complaining.
Sure, I know he wishes he wasn’t in a remote place living in sub-par living conditions.
He absolutely wishes he could help be here with me during my pregnancy.
And I have no doubt that he wishes that he could be here for the birth.
But, when it comes down to it, he’s making an impact on a global scale. He sees it as his duty and mission.
It’s hard to put into words exactly how I feel about it.
It’s hard to express how proud I am of him.
How much I admire his strength and determination.
How much I took for granted all of the men and women who put their lives on the line to keep us safe.
I’m humbled by the fact that he chose me as his life partner so that I could learn more about this life. More about the hardships. More about how much as an American we have to be grateful.
I posted on my Instagram a few weeks back that life doesn’t have to be perfect for you to be happy. And it’s so true.
Chronic illness has taught me not to dwell on the negatives in life. If we focus our energy on them, then we’ll continuously be brought down. Life RARELY goes as planned. We need to find the sunshine in each and every day (and it’s there – we just have to look).
When I look at my current situation, I could focus on the negatives: Josh is gone for a year, he’ll miss the birth of our baby, I’m spending my first year married alone. When I think of those things, I get SO SAD.
But if I look at all the positives in my situation: I’m married to my best friend, we’re expecting our first child and we get to spend the rest of our lives together, I get SO EXTREMELY HAPPY!
I honestly am not sure that I would feel this way if I didn’t have health issues. I’m honestly not sure I would have learned that lesson had I not gone through everything I did with my health. Chronic illness has allowed me to see life through a new lens. A new appreciation for things that I didn’t appreciate before.
My Health Struggles. The years that I couldn’t walk, the years that caused me pain, the years that were miserable. They’ve helped me accept challenges and struggles and made me a stronger person. Without having learned these lessons, I honestly don’t think I could appreciate this year-long deployment for what it is.
My Husband. For making me the happiest girl in the world by marrying me and for making me so excited for 2018. I wish every day that you were home, but I know that soon enough you will be. And when you do, we’ll have our own little family to focus on.
My Support System. We’ve been through thick and thin with my health and this is just another bump in the road that you’re here to help me with. I’m so blessed to have you.
Our Nation’s Military. Thank you for putting your lives on hold to keep the rest of us safe. You truly are nothing short of a hero.
This year, I have such a full heart (and a full belly) heading into Thanksgiving.
Thank YOU for reading, thank YOU for your support, and thank you for always being a wonderful support to lean on as well. My friends who follow my blog and social channels are some of the most important people in my life.
I wish you nothing but the best this holiday season.
Happy Thanksgiving 2017.
Wishing you a pain free day!