Thanksgiving mornings of my childhood were filled with the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, smells of deliciousness wafting in from the kitchen, and my father frequently running out to fight a kitchen fire, promising to be home in time for the meal (and usually succeeding!). As kids, we gathered around the TV watching the floats, celebrities, and balloons. As we grew up, we started helping in the kitchen, making mashed potatoes, pies, cookies, etc. When we moved to Virginia in 1996, we transitioned from the traditional "family" gathering and spent the time with close friends. At least once we did a non-turkey dinner and just made the sides. Throughout college, I always looked forward to Thanksgiving Break (it meant the semester was almost over!). Although one Thanksgiving I became one of thousands on the New Jersey Turnpike heading south, extending my 4 hour drive to 9 hours!
Thanksgiving 2006 brought an addition to our family, when I brought Steven home for the first time to meet my family. In 2007, we joined my grandparents, aunt, and uncle in California. Thanksgiving 2008, Declan and I were back in the States and Steven was in Afghanistan. We experienced our first Army Thanksgiving in 2009 with a potluck at Karin's house, where Peggy kept feeding Declan whipped cream. In a few hours, the kids and I will head over to Karin's again and celebrate our last Germany Thanksgiving for the near future. Steven will be joining us later, after he is finished with work for the day.
As I spend this (quiet!) time thinking about the past year, I realize I have so much to be thankful for. I am so glad that Abigail joined us and was born healthy. I'm thankful for my friends and family who supported me through another deployment. We are so lucky to have the opportunity to live in Europe, and we are blessed to have the consistency that the army brings us. I am so very thankful for all the people who gave so much to help us out this year, especially during the time I was on bedrest. Without the support and help from all those amazing people, I'm not sure I could have gotten through that trying time in one piece.
To my family: Words cannot express how much I love you. Thank you for listening without judging, supporting without questioning, and most of all, for loving me.
To my friends: Life would not be as much fun without you. Scattered around the world as we are, others cannot comprehend the bond we can make within only a few hours of meeting each other. I hope we will all be reunited one day.
To my children: Thank you for your patience while I learn how to be a mother. I cherish each second I get to spend with you and I look forward to watching you grow and experience life each day.
To my wonderful husband: You are my best friend and I cannot imagine life without you. You protect me, spoil me, defend me, listen to me, and love me, unconditionally, and for that I am truly grateful. I love you with all of my heart and I am so glad you are home with me this year.