What Veteran’s Day Means To Me.
It’s a bit of a juvenile title, I’ll admit. Reminiscent of the essay questions our teachers asked us to answer back in grade school.
Back then it might have meant a day off from school, sometimes a long weekend. It meant time to watch cartoons in the morning and time to build a fort in the afternoon. It meant playing in the snow, which had usually arrived by this time of year. It never occurred to me that one day it would mean something different.
Now it’s a day that honors a majority of the people occupying my world — former coworkers and bosses, old friends and new, the woman comparing cans of tomatoes next to me at the grocery store, my husband.
Now it means the memory of dropping him off at the airfield in the middle of the night, crying on the drive home, the roads slick with rain.
It means living alone for months at a time.
It means crackling, one-sided phone conversations and frozen Skype faces and wondering when I’ll hear him again.
It means hitting my knees, ugly crying on the floor, hating myself for not reaching the phone before it stops ringing.
It means adventure.
It means questioning what it means to be a wife.
It means living in places I never would have lived and meeting people I never would have met.
It means learning how to make new friends which, in a cruel, ironic twist, actually gets harder as we get older.
It means learning how to be completely self-sufficient and completely dependent at the same time.
It means getting thanked by old men in line at the pharmacy for tolerating — for enjoying — the life that I chose.
It means many people in the world hate my family.
It means many people in the world love it.
I don’t have any romantic, professionally shot homecoming pictures. I have this old video from his last homecoming, though. The kids were really excited.
(Oh, and I’ve since learned to shoot videos horizontally.)
Happy Veteran’s Day, Justin! Sixteen years and counting.