When I awoke this morning, it could have been any other day in any other year. We were in bed and asleep by the time 2012 rolled in and only the excessive news coverage of last night's celebrations reminds me that it's a new year with new plans, new expectations, and new dreams. Otherwise I would still be writing 2011 at the top of my checks.
So, obviously I am returning well in advance of my anticipated February 1 date. And if I had come back when Neal's deployment was done, I would have been moved back over here around the middle of November. But I waffled about leaving behind new readers and returning to a blog full of good times and the saddest of sad memories. Ultimately, Magnolias & Mimosas best describes my affinity for the full white petals of the deep south trees and justified drinking before noon. And, of course, my enduring love affair with the ampersand.
I would do a year in review, but a) I am not much inclined to spend vast amounts of time and energy reciting the past and b) I think you would be less inclined to read it. Suffice it to say, Neal and the 352 were integral in closing down Iraq (and, consequently, in the quietly televised ceremony of troops crossing the Kuwait border and American flags being lowered for the last time) and I spent my time and our money trying to distract myself from his absence and my loneliness. But I also grew the business to a point where I am now able to pay myself a salary and I very nearly finished our wedding scrapbook...5 years in the making. We learned how to endure involuntary separation with more patience, understanding, love, and humor than ever before. We remembered how to depend on one another again.
And we are leaving 2011, the Iraq War (although, technically, it is termed Operation New Dawn since Congress never sanctioned the thing to begin with), and Skype as our only means of communication behind. We are looking forward to finishing our tour in Georgia and expanding our family when the time comes. But I don't think of today as The Beginning, filled with hope and promise and all that is fresh and new. I closed the door on 2011 the day the 352 arrived home. I welcomed the new year and all that it offered on a sun-toasted day in the middle of November. The Beginning doesn't have to always land squarely on 1 January. It's convenient for calendar sales and comparing resolutions around a break room plate of fiber squares, but it is not wholly necessary.
Therefore, for us, it's just another day. Except for these Paleo eggs that Neal urged me to try...just as I was reaching for the waffle maker.