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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Feelings of Nostalgia

My husband enlisted in the Army nearly 8 years ago. Honestly, that doesn't seem like a very long time but in the Military community, it's a lifetime. I've grown a lot over the last (near) decade. I've learned a lot about who I am and who I want to be, the type of people I want to surround myself with, what I want out of life, what expectations I have, the type of mother and wife I want to be and so much more. I've experienced self discovery, heartache, tragedy, loss, overwhelming joy, pride, humbleness, burdens, trust, compassion, empathy, and growth.

To date, my husband has served two combat tours in effort of Operation Enduring Freedom. He's seen things I couldn't begin to imagine and as a result, is forever a different person. My family has been put through the wringers of PTSD and TBI, all of which are stories for another day. But I will say that it has taught me so much and made me a better person and wife. I've learned so much about what is important to me in life.

About a year and a half ago we made our most recent PCS to an Army post in the South. I've dreamed of living in the South since I was a little girl. I have roots down here and I've always felt a calling to the South. When my husband came down on orders for here I was over the moon filled with excitement and wonder like a small child. I've always been a country girl. Little did I know that a country girl from the West is so much different than a country girl from the South.

I respect the South and I do feel my southern roots down here, but there's one thing I've become to accept and love. I am a Northwest girl and I always will be. I belong in the West. I'd rather go to the rodeo than a high school football game any day. I'd rather go up to the mountains and have a midnight bonfire with family, friends and beer than hit up the Broadway strip in Nashville, concert or hockey game.

You see, in the Pacific Northwest we have a history unlike any other. We have so many things to boast about. We're about so much more than hippies, grunge, and rain. We're misunderstood by the rest of the country east of the Mississippi and north of the Great Divide. If you ever have the chance to visit, do it! We have some of the most spectacular and breathtaking mountain peaks in the world. We have hot springs, a rain forest, beaches, wild flower fields, mountains, gorges, pike place market, COFFEE, wine, countless vineyards, cowboys, car shows, boat shows, rodeos, ferry rides, orca watching, beaches, the freshest air, evergreens for miles, the largest apple industry in the world, endless beauty, countless beautiful hiking trails, state fairs, and a rich Native American culture. We offer a blend of all cultures and a diverse history of our own.

My love for my home state has grown intensely over the last decade. There's so much you take for granted when you live somewhere, I know this more than most. It's hard, in the moment, to focus on anything other than the negative. You see, my home town gets a bad rap. Yes, the crime rates have risen (they have EVERYWHERE!). However, when you can look beyond that to the beauty that is my home, you realize that there truly is no other like it. Where else can you get 4 seasons, hot summers, cold winters, 300+ days of sunshine per year, a days drive to a number of amazing state parks, minutes from the mountains, hop festivals and more!

I miss home so much. I miss how much simpler our lives were before the Army pulled us away. I miss family. I miss small town Yakima and having the freshest produce. Life in the Army has put such distance between us and the friends we used to have and family. I've never felt so lonely in my entire life. I often day dream of our future when the Army is a memory I can reflect on. I can't wait until the day that my husband and I can root our family, purchase our forever home and watch my children make life long friendships. Home is comfort. Home is where our family is. Even with all the drama and day to day none sense, family is the only thing you have at the end of the day.

If there's one thing the Army life has taught us, it's to live in the moment and to never take anything for granted. I see so many from my home town gripe about this and that and complain over petty things. But those are things that I yearn to experience again. "There's nothing to do here", yeah...I used to say that too. But trust me, all you have to do is get out! Take a step outside yourself and see everything there is surrounding you and the beauty of it all. The grass is not greener on the other side.

I just hope and pray that by the time we get to say goodbye to this lifestyle and re-enter the civilian world, and move back home, that we will no longer feel lost and forgotten. I pray that my children will still be young enough to remember their childhood growing up with the same family memories I grew up with. I yearn for the big family get together's and BBQ's and trips up to the mountains. I pray that we transition well from the chaotic and stressful life we currently live.

For now, I will continue to day dream...
...there's no place like home...