Monday, June 09, 2014

We are there

Today we went to the Nashville Zoo.

We weren't sure if the kids were ready ... especially Sidge. He's been doing better but is still struggling, especially when he gets around any other people. But we decided to take it slow and give it a try.

You can tell what a great day it was by this picture of Abigail in her car seat on the way home.

To say we had a wonderful time would be a huge understatement. At one point, I was pushing the girls on the swings at the park and the boys were running around and JB was laughing, and I, honestly, teared up. I just started crying right then and there. JB walked over to me and hugged me. And while he didn't cry, his face illustrated easily that he felt exactly like I did.

It was a perfect day. It was overcast. Not hot. No crowds. (Want to stress my husband out? Put him in a crowd on a hot day and watch him slowly lose his mind!) We strolled. All the kids were happy. There was no fighting. No crying. Just four kids taking it all in and seriously enjoying every minute.

Isaac was the navigator -- holding that zoo map and telling us where to go.
Hannah just rode in her stroller and took a nap in it and didn't make a peep the whole day.
Sidge was relaxed and able to enjoy himself without being overcome with thoughts and emotions. At one point he turned to JB and said, "This is the best day ... ever."
And Abigail just couldn't stop talking about those flamingoes!

I am not sure if I can adequately put into words how freeing it was to be doing something together as a family ... in America ... and to know that we didn't have to leave anytime soon. We could buy a yearly membership to the zoo (and we did!) because this is our home and we can stay here as long as we want.

I am so incredibly proud of my husband for his service to the military. I am very proud of our family for doing four years overseas. I will never regret or say one bad word about the military because they gave my husband his education and allowed him to do it debt free and gave us an adventure beyond our wildest dreams!

But there is something that hangs over you when you know, in the back of your mind, that your decisions are not your own. Any trip we have taken in the past, the military had to approve it. Any plans we made were always made with the possibility that the government might decide something different on our behalf.

Until now.

Now, we have picked where we live. And we can go where we want. And JB can go to work or he can quit work (without being arrested for going AWOL.)

In addition, while life in Turkey and on the island were wonderful ... we were so limited. There were no zoos or museums. And if there was, no one spoke English and taking a trip to these places took so much out of you that you often didn't want to go again.

We are a bit overwhelmed with life here. We got cell phones today and I'm seriously afraid of the thing. I also had a slight bit of panic when I entered a Chik Fil A at lunch time. The number of little cards people ask me to hang on my key chain is equally daunting. And how the heck do you get out of a Target without doing a happy dance?

But we are so, so, so, so happy to be home. Wherever it be in America, America is home. And we are there!


Anonymous said...

As happy as you are to be back in the U.S.A., Mom and I are equally happy! You may be a thirteen hour drive away, but that's small potatoes. I can't wait to come see you!

Anonymous said...

Once again your post made me tear up! I am so happy to hear that you all had such a fantastic day and that Sidge really enjoyed it! God is so good!


Julie E

Anonymous said...

Yeah!!!!!! So glad that you had the best day ever!!! (I'm with John, put me in the heat and throw a crowd on top of it and I am not the kind of person you want to be around!) Hope things continue to go well! Love you guys!!!


Jenny said...

I completely understand! It's just so much easier to do something like this when you don't have to worry about how you're going to park your American-sized car in a tiny spot, (on a tiny street), how you're going to communicate, will the restaurant be kid-friendly! Isn't it wonderful to be able to ask directions, or order your food without using hand gestures, or feeling exhausted after the encounter?! Happy for you friend!

Wendi Kitsteiner said...

Jenny, yesssss!!

Dad, I love you!!!!