I'm waiting on the fireworks to begin so Sean and I can ring in this new year together.
My brain is full and my heart is heavy, but thankful, after our New Year's do-ings. We headed over to a friend's house for a night of potluck and poker. Our poker friends, our Air Force friends, I don't know exactly how to define this group that centers around one person. She is the driving force right in the middle of every friendship that has formed among the people that were in her house tonight. If not for her, none of us would even know each other.
As we shuffled in to her domain with our crock pots and howdy dos, her husband mentioned she might be Skyping in to chat for a bit. I had one little moment of sadness right as we were getting ready to eat, but I was able to brush it off and pull myself together. The tears didn't really come back until the Skyping started. It's so surreal, this technology thing.
There is such joy in connecting:
both literally and figuratively. If you've ever tried to Skype with someone on the other side of the world, you know what I mean.
At the same time, though, it's hard to even know what to say. There is sadness from a friend.
Guarded smiles from someone who knows her time is coming.
And empathetic sadness from someone who's been there, done that, and missed some holidays, too.
Worst of all, is watching a kid talk to his mama via a stinking computer. There's just nothing like it. And this little turd, always knows just what to say to get an entire room of women weepy. There's not much you can do but love him.
It's such a normal thing, being at Kerrie's house. There's just this natural, hunt-for-a-baggie-without-asking kinda feeling there. Everybody's comfortable. In the midst of it, though, there's a feeling of unfairness. I get to be in her element, with her people, enjoying the antics of her little trouble maker, and she doesn't. Standing in her kitchen, picturing her sweeping or using some fancy kitchen tool(she seriously has the best gadgets), I can see her there.
She is everywhere...but there.
And so it goes. This is normal for us now. Someone from our group will always be missing. There will always be deployments and TDYs and PCSing. There will be reunions and send offs and holidays without. The flip side of that is learning to appreciate what we do have.
Friends that are like family.
Kerrie, as we ring in the New Year from the flip side, know that you are missed by a whole lotta people. A lot of grateful people who are friends because you cared enough to make sure we always got an invite.