To the Spouses of the 7-10 CAV Coffee Group:
Tonight (in my bright pink, footie pajamas) I spent too much time saying things that weren't even remotely what I wanted to say.
It came out jumbled and confused and not even the slightest bit eloquent. I couldn't begin to put into words what I was feeling in my heart. If I could, I would like to try again.
K, it seems fitting that my last coffee would be at your house since your first was at mine. I have known you for the least amount of time but you are one of a very small handful of people that I instantly knew would play an important role in my life. You have been a listening ear from the get-go, a guide, a role-model, a calming force. You filled a void that so many of us were greatly needing. Thank you for allowing me to learn from you. Thank you for being present. Thank you for the guidance and joy I know you will continue to bring.
When I left my "family" at Fort Campbell, I never thought I could have those same friendships again. When I came to this post, I thought that statement was to be proven true ... and then I came to this unit. I have been overwhelmed by the intense love and respect and care of every single one of you. The friendships made in this life ... well there just isn't a comparison. I have held your babies, watched newer spouses grow. I have seen some hard, hard times that have been pushed through. We have shared meals, Thanksgivings, football. Shared wine. Shared tears and I couldn't be more grateful for the strength you have passed along to me.
I have watched very good friends leave this unit and to J, and L, and C, and my very best, B, the very short time we had together is something I will always cherish. I think our relationship to one another is a once-in-a-lifetime kind of camaraderie and I am grateful for every time we had together. That last picture will be framed in the next house. I can promise you.
M, I said tonight that I know you will take care of these families that I am trying to learn to call "yours" rather than "mine". That transition and "passing-on" will be the hardest one of all for me. There are so many young spouses wanting so much to be guided and led and shown how to thrive. They are such an awesome group of women. Incredible. They have taught me so much about myself and about who I want to be. They have done so much to define who I am. They will test you, and challenge you, and you will be better for it. You will be a better leader because of who these women are. They are strong and eager and willing to serve. They are what I am most proud of.
S, I was so worried about not being able to say what I wanted to say that I almost didn't get it out at all. You have been my "proving it wrong". You have been a force of good that I needed to see and learn from. You have been respectful of my decisions, encouraging, and guiding. You have allowed me to see how hard what you do can be and you manage it in a way I cannot understand. You are what the families of this unit need most. You are present and open and welcoming. You have handled absolute ignorance with grace and poise. You have offered a friendship that has been a challenge for me to understand and accept. You have been the epitome of what it is to mentor. You have never hesitated to step in and explain what I had not yet experienced for myself while always encouraging, always guiding. You have listened to some of my biggest worries and have acknowledged them rather than belittling. I cannot thank you enough for that. The idea of not having you so close is difficult to process. "Thank You" is not enough.
Leaving this unit marks my C leaving combat arms. It marks a major change for our family. Your loved ones will remain. I have been honored to stand with you. I have been honored to fight through with you. I have been humbled by the goodness surrounding every single one of you who steps up to serve. I am grateful that our families will continue to have you beside them. I am grateful that I was given the opportunity to know you and share in your journeys. Day in and day out I am reminded of how very blessed I have been by you ladies. I hope that I have given back at least a portion of what you have given me. Words are not enough.
This life is full of comings-and-goings, comings-and-goings. Time goes by too quickly - much too quickly. There is always more to do, more to finish, more to start. Good-byes never get easier. Leaving never lightens the heart. But there is a comfort in knowing how small our world is, how intertwined our paths really are.
Thank you for building so much of who I am. Thank you for being the good, for finding the joy. Thank you for your kindness and comfort.
"I'll see you when I see you. And I hope it's someday soon."