The Past Year and The New One

Yes, this is a New Year’s post.

Yes, I’m going to reminisce about the last year and all that I have learned.

Yup, I’m pretty original, I know…

But it’s been one heck of a year for us and one that I don’t soon want to forget. It was full of ups and downs, but overall I would have to say 2011 has probably been one of my favorites. Odd right, saying it was one of my favorite years when J was gone for 10 months of it? Before you think I enjoyed the year having him gone for most of the time and having our family apart, let me explain. The deployment, or rather the separation of the deployment, was the worst part of the year. The deep, ugly, gut-wrenching, worst part of the year, but a lot of good came out of those 10 months.

Our family was made stronger in this last year. Our kids learned resilience and what the true meaning of family is. I gained greater appreciation of my husband, what he does for our family, and our relationship and marriage. I learned the importance of forgiveness and how looking past mistakes and stumbles can strengthen a person. J gained so much confidence and and saw great success. We learned how to communicate on a different level. When you are on opposite side of the world, you don’t have much choice but to learn better communication! This new connection between us has made for a much deeper relationship upon his homecoming. We both found what is important in life and reorganized to reflect our priorities. Our faith, our marriage, and our family became the most important things.

For the first time in years, we did not struggle. Sure, we struggled with separation and fears and frustrations, but those were minor and came with the nature of this year. Those types of struggles will always exist, but those I can handle. Those are small compared to some in the past. But this past year, for probably the first time in a very long time, we felt secure. Funny, to feel secure when my husband was gone, but him being gone is what brought security. This deployment brought financial security to our family. I am a bit conflicted by saying that this was a blessing for us, because J was put in constant danger to achieve this for us. I would never trade his safety for financial security. Ever. The only comfort that I have in saying this, is that he feels the same way and that he truly enjoyed his job. He believed in his mission and what he was doing, and if financial security for our family was a byproduct of that, then all the better. We never had to worry that his Guard paychecks would be delayed a few weeks. We never had to worry that he would not have work during the Winter months of the year. For the first time in years, we got ahead. We felt stable and secure. We finally feel like we are getting somewhere. And that is a wonderful feeling.

There were also a lot of fun times in the last year. I hate to think that the kids and I had fun without J, but that’s what he wanted, life to continue while he was away. The kids and I spent precious time together and learned to rely on each other. We travelled and I was able to give the kids and amazing summer spent at the lake. J and I were able to spend time alone together in incredible locations. To have spent 16 full days, just the two of us on vacation, was amazing all on its own. We had not gotten away together alone since Little Man was born. A vacation like that probably only happens once in our lifetime and I treasured each moment of it. It definitely helped us to realize that we really needed to make more time for each other!

We now go in to this New Year with a different outlook than prior years. We have always looked at each other at the stroke of midnight and said, “This is going to finally be our year.” This last year really was that, and I look forward to what this next one will bring. I’m not making resolutions, they never work and I always break them. Instead I am reorganizing my priorities and worrying less about the little things. I’m seeing the bigger picture and appreciating what I have. I’m going to enjoy each and every moment and slow down a bit so that I don’t miss anything. I’m going to accept who I am and where we have been. The past makes us who we are today. And no matter what this new year brings, this past year has made us strong enough to handle it. As long as we are together, we’ve got all that we need.

Happy New Year to you and your family. May it be filled with happiness and strength.
Blessings to you all!!