Our next chapter

Well, I have been missing for the last month or so because we have finally moved from Oklahoma to New Jersey. Our trip to New Jersey is one that I won’t forget, the details of that will be saved for another post, but I will say that it was a great ending of a chapter for us. The next chapter seems like a big one, one where both of us will both hold adult jobs, take on a new city, state, and coast together, and start to experience new things and different places that the world has to offer.

In the last three years that we have spent together, we have had opportunities to learn more about one another, grow, and experience things together and apart. We have lived in 3 states, 3 cities, celebrated 2 graduations, pinned on some shiny pilot wings, and moved all the way across the country. If you asked me three years ago where I would be now, I could not have imagined that this is where life would have brought me. Anyone who knows me well knows that I have always said I would never live in New Jersey, but in this next chapter that is where we begin.

Just this week I accepted a job at a company as a Documentation Specialist. I am excited but anxious, to say the least. The project that I am being brought on for is a large task. In my own personal belief it would be completed by a team of technical writers anywhere else, however, the company I was recently hired by has not employed or utilized a technical writer before and they are going into this with little knowledge about the process, and how large this project truly is. So, I am going to make the best of this and gain as much experience as I can.

While I have just accepted a job, Jack has moved on to his next phase of training and is that much closer to getting into the cockpit of the KC-10 and beginning his exciting career. He is settling in and comes home daily with a new fun fact to share. With all that he has taught me this year, I think that I could make a great Air Force Pilot.

Since we have moved we are trying to expand our friendship group as we settle in. The hard part about this military life has to be the goodbyes to friends old and new. I am looking forward to visiting all the beautiful places that our friends end up in the future. That being said, Jack has had it made since leaving the Academy. At one point it was an ongoing joke that the boys wouldn’t end up together and of course, Enid was home to the group of five boys Jack considered his family away from home. Therefore, the last seven years have been spent with the same boys and we are now having to spread our wings and meet other people.

As we go into our fourth year together there are so many things I am anticipating, the new adventures we will get to take on this side of the country, spending time with our families, making and reuniting with friends and people from our new home, and continuing to learn and grow together and apart. I know that for the next several months Jack will be home every night, but in the near future, he could be thousands of miles away helping defend our freedom. I look forward to this next chapter and welcome it with open arms. It will have highs and lows that we will tackle and overcome together. So, here’s to us and the next chapter.

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Another year has passed

I feel like it was just yesterday that I raced you into Target from the car and laughed in your face because I was finally fast enough to beat you. You had a leg up on me until about age 13. Then, I could no longer blame a hole in the lawn, our lightening fast dog, Mika, or my rapidly growing feet for tripping me during the last steps of our races. Although, I would go back in a second to any of those tragic races where you would scoop me from the ground with scraped knees and tears in my eyes.

From the day you joined mom in heaven, I have learned to mend my own scrapes and bruises, and learned to dry my own tears, or laugh through them. But, sometimes I still think that having protector there would make life simpler. Bailey has stepped up and become one of the greatest young men, which is terribly hard for me to admit. He is my best friend still, and you would be proud to know we have outgrown our phase of bickering about what show to watch, fighting for the front seat, and wrestling over the last pair of clean soccer socks.

But, I think that without you, we have also learned to be distant from those we love, we have learned to bury feelings deeper, and learned to hold on to each other a little tighter. We have created our own language, one where we can pick up the phone and talk about anything in the world for hours on end and not mention what we are feeling, but the other knows. It is incredible because we always were told that we would grow up to be best friends, little did we know that there was no way around that.

I know that you are always looking over us, and shining your light as a guide to show us what is meant to be. Losing you was the most devastating part of my childhood, and without you, I learned to look to the Lord for solace. The Bible says, “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). And in my time of loss, I was comforted not only by God but by our family and friends as well. I am beyond blessed to have them, but I would give up anything to have you back, for a day, or month, or a year longer.

2,920 days…

At some point, I will have spent more days on earth without my mom than with her here, present in my life. As of today, I have spent eight years without her here to celebrate important parts of my life, as well as to see me through the darkest days. The last eight years have flown by at a surprising rate of speed. Bailey and I have celebrated three graduations, eight birthdays, Christmases, and New Years without her.

This year she would have been 50 years old, but the 19th of January passed as just another day on my calendar. At this point, my daily life seems normal without her, which is a hard pill for me to swallow sometimes. It makes me realize how little she would know me now, but it also makes me realize how much I have grown as a person. Every day I am thankful for the 14 years that I spent with her because her fight taught me how to be a strong woman who stands up for herself, her friends, and her family. It is one of the biggest lessons I take from my mom. She was a warrior who was clothed in strength and always knew that she gave me strength to carry on. Her ten-year fight for life was the most influential part of my childhood. She managed to be a mom, a nurse, a sister, wife, and friend during her best and worse days. I am never outwardly religious, but there is a bible verse that says “Be strong and courageous; do not be frightened or dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:9).

This verse is so significant because not only is the Lord with me in my times of doubt and need, but I feel as if my mom is too. Therefore, when the days are long, stressful, tiring, and give me a run for my money I know that there is something there to guide me.

Overall, the last 2,920 days have gone on without her, just as the days will continue to do. I am hopeful that she is smiling down on my brother, and me. I am still convinced she is my guiding light and will put me where I need to be when the opportunity is right. So, although these days have been exhausting, I have continued to live on and spread her spirit. She is my reason to live, fight, and wear pink.

P.S. let my mom be the reason all you women get a yearly exam!

In the blink of an eye…

In the last month and a half, I have come to the realization that middle America is wonderful in many ways except for in the job department. However, in the blink of an eye, we will be on to the next adventure. We are making due and slowly settling into a sense of “normal.”

Luckily, I have learned so much about myself in the last month and a half. I have learned that friends are a gift from God himself and that I should never take them for granted. I am blessed with girls who take time out of their days to spend time with me whether that happens to be on puppy play dates, lunch or coffee, craft days, movie and trashy tv bingeing, gym and yoga time and so many adventures. I have learned that getting out and about is important to keeping me sane and healthy, no matter what the reason or occasion.

I am enjoying long walks with Bruno and Jack on nights or days where the weather is nice enough. This time is my favorite part of the day. It gives Jack and me a time to talk about our days, our plans for the week, and all the little things that are swimming through our brains. We have enjoyed being able to spend more time together. Although I am sure at some point, we will both be itching to get rid of one another (only for a little bit). Lucky for us, we are both very independent people, and we learned so much about our relationshipbrun-in-socks, each other, and how happy we are together and apart in the last year and a half. However, as far as I am concerned the old adage is true, distance does make the heart grow fonder.

I am still job searching and hopeful to find something before we leave so I can make some quick money. In the meantime, I am keeping busy in other ways and letting my social butterfly wings flutter.

Everyone says not to wish time away, but we are both looking forward to finding out where we will go next, as well as the aircraft Jack will fly in the next part of his career. I am trying to savor every moment that we have before the harsh reality sets in that he will be gone approximately 200+ days a year. But for now, I am trying not to blink.

P.S. Since I have been bad about taking pictures here is a picture of Bruno in his favorite socks.

Reflection

Well, the end of the year has led me to some deep (maybe not) reflection. In 2016 I have been blessed in so many ways, almost too many to count and I am struggling to find the words to describe all these blessings and feelings that I am having about this year coming to a close.

This time last year I sat down with one of my favorite families, the Anthony’s. We had a wonderful dinner after a long day of traveling in slushy snow from Albany to Philadelphia. It was then I realized that I was blessed to sit down with a family who loved one another just like my own did. I have to say, Jack’s parents have accepted me and brought me into their family without question. I am so grateful for a “family” that is not my own. I have more than one of these families, but this one happens to be my favorite. I feel that I have my place in their home whenever and for that I am thankful. I am so glad that Jack continually supports me and loves me in more ways than I can count. I am sure that he gets sick of me but he never lets on, and for that I am thankful. I am glad that Susan gives me endless support whether it is little gifts from abroad, wise words of wisdom in a text message, or a hug when we get the chance to visit. I am so happy to have someone who treats me like her own (as does Dave).

I have been blessed with friends. I look at many years of my life and think that I would be nowhere without my friends. I look at all the people who support me, and I have never been more proud of the people I surround myself with. My best friends since middle school are some of my favorite people to this day. I was able to take a trip to Virginia for four short days, and Kelsey and Kayla were not only the best hosts, but they remind me day in and day out what I am capable off and the place where I am from. My roommates from years past have done nothing but lift me during the dark times. From the time these girls entered my life I have never had so many positive experiences, I would not be where I was without them, and I cannot wait to create more memories with them in the years to come.

My military friends, I have never been more accepted or understood by a group. We all come from such different backgrounds but fit together in such a beautiful way. We create such a dysfunctional family, and I would not trade it for the world. I have been so blessed to have these people surround me. They have been comforting, and supportive when I need it most. I don’t know where I would be without these people Jack has brought into my life.

My flesh and blood, they have been through so much this year, and I haven’t been there to hug or love them during their times of need which has taken its toll on me. I look at this past year and think that life has to get better (or we just have a dark looming cloud hanging above us). Overall, we have seen death, sickness, health, and accomplishment. If my family is not the strongest, I don’t know whose is. I am hopeful that in the future I am there to help them through these incredibly difficult times. I am hopeful that they all feel the love in this coming year and realize how important they are to me. I would be no one without these kind, caring, kind of crazy people. I am so blessed to have you, and I cannot wait to see the additions that are made in the years to come.

Also, to my closest people, I would not have been able to graduate and become the person I am without you. I know that mom and dad are looking down on me and that they are proud of all I have accomplished. I know that my brother is still my number one supporter no matter the distance. I know that my Aunt Sherra is one of my saving graces. And that my grandparents are some of the most loving, kind, and caring supporters, I am so glad that we were able to spend time together before the holidays.

Overall, I am thankful for my education. I learned so much about myself in the past year, and I am so thankful for the lessons. I am grateful for family, blood or not, for my health, and for countless other things. I am ready for this new year and for the trials and tribulations it has to give. I am ready for another move with Jack, another job, another city, state, or country. I am ready for all that life has to give me this next year, and I cannot wait to see where it leads. Bring it on 2017!

Is blood really thicker than water?

I guess you could say I have been independent since the day I could walk. I have never been the person who needs someone to lean on when the going gets tough, I’ve been the type of person who isn’t afraid to let people go because of the way that they treat me, I’ve never been the type of person to let someone’s words hurt me, but the worst part about that is when your own blood are the people you let go. I’ve been through a lot in my 22 years of life, and some of the people who were once closest to me have let me down.

Have you ever had someone compete for your attention and love, and they cut about two inches off of your height every time you talk to them? I have had a family relationship like that since I was 15 years old, and finally, I have realized I am better off without it. At 15, I had one person who I knew would be with me forever, my brother. He’s still there, and we are closer than ever, and part of that is because of the bond that we have built because of how we were treated by some people we’ve crossed paths with, as well as the events that lead us to those crossings.

This isn’t supposed to be about how terrible I have it, but it’s such a slap in the face when the people you thought had your best interest in mind, don’t. It’s a slap in the face every time you talk to them and hear about how you’ve hurt them, but that was to help yourself grow and glue the broken pieces of yourself back together after they were done knocking you around.

In the past week, I have come to realize that blood isn’t always thicker than water. That sometimes the people who care for you most are the people who you have made your family. I have the greatest guy that I get to “do” life with. I look at the big picture and know that I have “three brothers” who would stand by my side through any trial, I have numerous “sisters” who have never let me cry by myself, and “parents” who aren’t my own, but have opened their hearts, homes, and arms to me.

So, I have had the realization that I am blessed. God has put me here for a purpose, and some day I will know what that is, but right now. I am going to keep living every day with the people who love me most, blood or not.

To the people who have never let me question your love and friendship; thanks for being my people.

–Alex