Let me just put it out there that as much as y'all may have missed me, I've missed you more. Since my last post (golly gee, how 19 days pass so quickly), we have been to Kentucky, Atlanta, Charleston, and, emotionally, to Hell and back. We have been living out of duffle bags and fueling up the Prius more than twice a month. And we have celebrated birthdays and anniversaries...some were highly anticipated, some were anxiety-filled.
Birthday Week was a huge success! Over the course of 7 (OK, Neal...eight days), I received Major Hugs, an Army teddy bear who stands on my desk and keeps watch over his troops, an Army wife car decal (which I will affix as soon as we move off of the Air Force base), 3 iTunes gift cards (Dear CNN: Seriously? $1.99 for an app? Is that money going to feed Pakistan or get clean drinking water to the Haitians? Because it better not be funding your Christmas party), a tiny pink MagLight, a bouquet of flowers, and finally, my iPod docking station/speaker system. Yes...I am spoiled, but I'm a pretty princess and deserve to be showered with Apple products.
Exactly one week later, Neal and I jaunted off to Atlanta for the night, mostly to distract me from Shep's 1-year "birthday," which falls on 15 September. Neal was Julie the Cruise director for that trip and from the moment we checked into our hotel, which had a lovely view of CNN Headquarters from our window, to the VIP tours of CNN that he purchased in advance, I was completely distracted. Meeting Rick Sanchez didn't hurt, either.
(Yes, that's me leaning towards Rick. I was just waiting for him to catch a whiff of the Star Power that I constantly emanate. Instead, I think he caught a whiff of La Tourists de Summer.)
And, of course, Andersondahling met me with open arms. We've been separated for so long...it seems like my men are always leaving for war-torn countries.
Anderson said he understood the separation was difficult and he would work harder to be home more. What? He didn't have to speak those words, he told me with his eyes. We're connected like that.
Did the 15th suck a lot? Yes, but the 14th sucked harder...not really knowing how I would feel the next day. I could look at the clock and say "A year ago right now, my water broke." or "A year ago this very minute, I delivered Shepherd...a silent baby surrounded by crying ones." But Neal packed so much into last Wednesday that I forgot to look at the clock. Sometimes mortals work miracles.
And now, I can no longer say "This time last year, I was pregnant." A year can change your life and occasionally, a year can suture a shattered heart.
We were home for barely 24 hours when it was time to hit the highway again. Since Neal will be deployed next year for our 5-year wedding anniversary, we took the opportunity to celebrate this year in Charleston...home of the Citadel and a large Civil War population who refuses to cross over. Well, Charleston does provide a more hospitable climate for haunting.
Now, we are headed back to Kentucky, where Neal will head on to his first of two conferences in Indianapolis. He will come home for a couple days and I will leave with him for the second one, continuing on to see Queen Elizabeth in Chicago. At the end of the week, we will travel back to Georgia for the October battle assembly and two days later, Neal will mobilize to Ft. McCoy for the month. I told you...there has been a lot of travel and very little home cooking over the past 3 weeks. That is not going to change any time soon.
I want to thank everyone for the plethora of birthday wishes. I would tell you about the first time I actually felt 32, but that's TMI-overload. So, let's just say that 32 is not the new 23. And thank you for your thoughts, prayers, comments and texts about Shepherd's birthday. We feel so elevated by your positive energy and support. Neal and I feel incredibly blessed to have each other, but we also have bottomless gratitude for our friends and family who have reached out to us.
Tomorrow, we will celebrate our 4th wedding anniversary, so I may, again, be noticeably absent. But then he'll be conferencing and I'll be waiting on furniture to arrive. What better time to surf around the blogisphere? AND...I've decided to launch one more blog...because I have so much extra time on my hands. And I'm going to let you all pick what it's going to be! So, vote now because it's going up in 2 weeks!
A) I want to hear more about your Army Life! I live in suburbia and think it would be intoxicating to be surrounded by men in flight suits all the time. Also...does the commissary really have the best sushi? Make it Army for me!
B) I realize that you have traveled a lot in the past 20 years. While some of these places are less desirable (hello, Macon GA), I would love to know what it was like to have espresso in Rome and high tea in Scotland! Make it travel for me!
And if you would like to suggest a blog title for this new project, there is a chance (OK, a very good chance) that it will win you some Daisy & Elm swag. (And by swag, I don't mean a plastic pen emblazoned with my logo or a business card magnet...I mean actual jewelry of your choosing).
Thank you, to all 96 of my followers, for hanging tough with me through the month of September. I can only hope that October will bring less highway miles and more blogging!
Oh, and check out my guest post for Krysten @ After I Do! I blogged while she moved. Happy Birthday, Krysten! I hope you've unpacked the box with all of your gifts!