Thank You, Army!

With Thanksgiving having only been a few days ago, I am still thinking about the things that I am thankful for in this life. While I am always thankful for the many blessings that I have, the Thanksgiving holiday always makes me stop and take a deeper look at all that I have to be grateful for. While this year has been full of ups and downs, the joys and challenges of deployment, and just plain exhaustion, I am finding more things to be grateful for than ever before. It has taken this deployment to give me a deeper appreciation for my husband and our marriage and to find a greater strength in myself than I had ever known. So this year, one of the things in my life that I am most grateful for, even though at times I do my fair share of grumbling, is the Army and all that it has done for our family. And while I always am grateful for the Army and all of our armed forces for their service to this country, this year I am incredibly grateful for the Army's presence in my life on a much more personal level:

I am thankful to the Army:

- For providing a steady income for our family over this past year, when so many people are struggling to make ends meet.

- For making my children more resilient and giving them a greater appreciation for family and what that means.

- For revealing strength and independence that I did not know I possessed.

- For giving us access to affordable healthcare so that we may stay healthy.

- For giving me a greater appreciation for my marriage and showing me how deep our love really is.

- For showing me that this separation would make my marriage even stronger than before.

- For giving my children a greater world view and understanding of people who are not like them.

- For helping my children develop a sense of empathy and a desire to help others.

- For giving my husband a job where he has seen success and has given him confidence in himself.

- For helping me realize that it is OK to ask for help and not be superwoman, and for showing me the meaning of friendship.

- For helping me learn to say "No" and know that it's OK to do so.

- For making me realize I need to appreciate each moment with the ones I love, for you never know when it could be the last.

- For giving me a greater understanding of what love really is.

- For helping me to learn patience...and lots of it!

But most of all, I am grateful to the Army for helping me to appreciate the small things in life, like a moment spent cuddled with my child or the "I love you" at the end of a Skype call with my husband. Those are the things that matter most, rather than the physical "things" we get so caught up in, especially this time of year.

I know that I will still grumble about Army life in the future, but I will always be grateful for the things we have taken and learned from it. The deployments will still be long and I will still dread their coming, but I also know now that we are strong enough, as a family and a couple, to make it through them together. I will never enjoy seeing my husband walk away from me, be it for a week or for a year, but I will always look forward to and savor the homecomings. The butterflies-in-the-stomach anticipation of seeing him for the first time in months is something no other job could bring to our marriage! I can't wait to "date" him again when he returns...

So for all of these reasons and more, thank you Army, for all that you have done for our family! I will always be grateful...

What has the military brought to your life and marriage that you are thankful for? 

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