Pre-Deployment Canada Day

This past Canada Day, Kimberly and I were able to enjoy one of the last chances we’ll have in a long time to just relax, sit around the house together, and enjoy each other’s company without distractions.  The following morning, we received our storage POD, and have been hectically tearing the house apart and making it fit into cardboard boxes, where our stuff will sit for months until we can get to it again.

Only two years ago, we spent Canada Day on the front lawn of Parliament in Ottawa when Kate Middleton and Prince William were in town.  What is normally a huge event anyway in the capital was especially packed with thousands of people from all over Canada and the US to see the young royal couple.  That was one of the weekend trips Kimberly was able to make to see me while I was posted to Kingston, Ontario.  Since then, Canada Day has been just a little more special to us and adds to the happiness of celebrating our awesome country.

This Canada Day falls only a short time before I will be deploying to Afghanistan on the final Canadian mission in that country.  As daunting and difficult as this this next challenge feels, we feel more empowered than ever given how we’ve prepared ourselves for it.  From planning a perfect pre-deployment vacation, preparing the house for new renters, storing my car, storing our stuff, freezing the dozen or so phone/TV/internet/mail/etc. accounts that are easy to lose track of, and just finding time to enjoy each other’s company, this kind of pace might turn most people into a ball of stress; and I can’t imagine adding children to the mix.  We have just felt like it puts us on a roll and can get so much done together.  Still, I just wish there was more time.

Time is so valuable, especially when spent on such a priceless thing: each other.  Kimberly has been more supportive than I could ever expect her to be with the near-heartbreak she must be feeling.  We spent a large portion of our early relationship apart, and it really doesn’t get much easier over time.  She knows how hard it will be, and even so, she doesn’t want to make it more difficult for me.  So, she puts on a tough face and tells me that we’re doing great.  And, we are.  We really are.

Sure there will be dangers and the unknown can bring all kinds of surprises.  But, we have been able to retain the appreciation for everything that we’ve been able to do, and for the kind of life that we’ve been given in this world.  Living in Edmonton has been wonderful, spending time with our families is a blessing, and we are so thankful that we can enjoy all the little things that life has to offer.  I couldn’t have been more content sitting on the grass with my wife, watching the Canada Day fireworks in Edmonton, and wondering how lucky we are to be here.  I look forward to next Canada Day, wherever we might be spending it, and to think back at how Afghanistan made our little family a bit more worldly, and how thankful we should be to have been a part of it; whatever it turns out to be.