As we welcome in 2012 I can’t help but reflect on what this past year brought us and what the hopes are for the New Year. 2011 was a year where we crossed the country with two little kids, two car seats, and one little Toyota Tacoma not once, not twice but three times. I drove in a snowstorm for the first time and also learned the lesson of why Jesse always packs the car for snow even if there isn’t any. We moved a total of 4 times, one of which I did alone with my tough as nails Mother, a sick baby, from Washington to Kansas, in 48 hours. My little brother got married. We lived in 4 different places, Tristan became potty trained, and Brianna grew up right in front me. But most importantly the Lemons family survived our very first deployment…a 12 monther!!!!
The deployment was probably one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my entire life. I am always proud of Jesse each and every day for the job he does…but after surviving a deployment I am proud of myself. I found grey hairs, a few pounds and then some, lost my mind a million times over, and lots and lots of tears. At the end of it all I learned you find emotions you never knew existed for example, that moment when your child does something amazing like walk for the first time and you’re feeling sooo overjoyed and proud. but at the same time you feel guilty that you are experiencing it and your spouse doesn’t get to, and you want to be sooooo happy, but you’re feeling like bursting into tears too because that moment is one you want nothing more than to share with your other half. It’s like an emotional melting pot. I learned a lot about the Army.I learned that the people you meet in the Army are a special breed of people. They understand you better more often than not than some people who’ve been in your life for years. They’ll help you move into your house just minutes after meeting you (Thanks Amanda and Bennett). They will listen to you complain about how you want to lock yourself away in your bathroom away from your kids and cry. They understand that life goes on, and time doesn’t stop so they help you carry on by inviting you over for dinner, play dates, help with your kids, take your garbage to the curb, put your garbage back…basically they don’t waste time getting to know you before being your friend…they befriend you and get to know you along the way. 2011 brought us to this little neighborhood, and they have been so awesome in making this year just a little easier. I am grateful for this year because I learned a lot about myself. I learned I can survive anything. I can do anything I put my mind to…hook up a washer and dryer, move a King size bed, drive cross country, put together furniture etc. I also learned to appreciate my husband, our marriage and our relationship. I realized how much the little things he does really change my life. Something as simple as waking up with Brianna in the middle of the night is one thing that I too often overlooked, was something I came to miss beyond words with him gone. I learned that saying I love you and never ending a conversation upset are two of the most important things in a marriage. I learned the value of life…it takes a deployment to make the reality of this life seem a lot more real. I knew what was involved in becoming a part of this lifestyle and up to this deployment we reaped the benefits, the adventure, the cash flow and I was handling all the challenges. This deployment I learned the tough stuff. I found that nothing makes my skin crawl like hearing a woman complain about her hubby’s weekend work retreat being so hard, or people asking “What are you doing to keep busy?”(um carrying on…what like I just pine every day crying and eating bon bons waiting for my hubby!!) or “I bet you miss him” or “are you worried about him coming back?” or my all time favorite “ I don’t know how you do it!!” I also learned who I can and can’t rely on. You learn that everyone’s lives carry on but those who truly care will still reach out to you no matter how busy they are. That people will disappoint you, and that fair-weather people will never change no matter how much you need them. I learned a new found and amazing respect for my parents who dropped everything for me so many times this year to just be there.
As hard as 2011 was for me, I wouldn’t change it for the world… Jesse and I are stronger, my appreciation for this lifestyle is greater, and my adoration for the Military woman (especially all the ones I’ve been fortunate to meet) is now real. Looking forward to 2012 I can safely say we have started some goals…first and most importantly is to make memories together again… ones that Daddy can finally be a part of. I will strive to make up for lost time and kiss and hold my hubby more than argue with himJ. I will lose those pounds I found in 2011. We will probably move again, hopefully see Jesse through Ranger School, SF Selection, and Captains’ Career course. My little boy will start preschool, I will work on finally being brave enough to start legitimately pursuing my goal of becoming a photographer. We want to learn to slow down more, turn off the TV more and just enjoy each other’s company in appreciation that we are blessed to all be under the same roof again. To all my ladies starting this New Year still waiting for your hubbies know that you are in my prayers and there is nothing you can’t do. I promise when you’re crying to yourself or drinking your 4th cup of coffee for the day…you will someday very soon look back at that and this and think “Damn it feels good to be a gangsta”. Ha-ha JK but you will feel like a superhero badass!! :)
P.s. THANK GOD for the new 9 month deployment plans, block leave, and SkypeJ