As I sit here the evening before Thanksgiving Day, I have a pot of peppermint tea by my side, box of tissues at the ready. I have a head cold. I don't get one very often, maybe once a year, where I feel the need to stay home from work. I did this time. Through the haze of my stuffy head I ponder what I'm thankful for. Ok, I ponder about which I am thankful. Like knowing about dangling participles, and non-sequiters, and... dictionaries.
This time last year, I was (it seems to be still, not again) in a state of transition. I had just the week before returned from Afghanistan, after being away from home for 11 months. I was packing (oh, well, I call it packing) for a four week trip to Australia to watch a little known game called Cricket. (Joking!!! It's only little known in the US, and more about Cricket in a later post).
In a list, in no particular order, are a few things I am thankful for:
- My health... ok, maybe not today, but in the grand scheme of things, I'm not doing so bad.
- My family... I have two sons who have survived their childhoods with me as a mother, and now I have a grandson to spoil. He'll be 5 in February, and is the apple of his granmama's eye.
-My extended family... Although I lost my father in January, he's not gone. I have been able to see my mother and step-dad more this year than any other time, thanks to the Navy posting me to Phoenix, a mere 2 hours away.
- My network of friends... I don't mean the social networks that encourage you to gather as many "friends" as you can to show how "cool" you are. Granted, I'm on the big three (MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter) but if you look at my lists, you'll see they are limited to those I know, or those I'd like to meet someday.
-My Naval Career... I'll be planning my retirement during this year (keep Nov 2008 open if you'll be in SoCal) with my Retirement Coordinator, Lisa. Hey, she volunteered! But she thinks it's going to be in Phoenix, oops!
Through my over 33 years in the Navy, both Active Duty and Reserves, I've had the pleasure and privilege of serving with literally thousands of dedicated members of the military (both US and coalition), as well as civilian DOD workers all over the world. From Diego Garcia to Egypt, Kyrgyzstan, Afghanistan, Thailand, Philippines, Singapore and Japan it's been great. I've had stops in Kuwait, Qatar, Turkey, S. Korea as well. Not too bad in my opinion.
This brings me to an organization to which I give a thousand thanks. Anysoldier.com is a not for profit organization which lets YOU pick a unit to send goodie boxes to. Not just soldiers are represented, but all branches of the service. I was with a Joint unit but I registered my group under the AnySailor.com tab, and told a little about us. Nothing classified of course, but enough to let people know we were out there. Within a couple of months, our first box arrived. I used to call them Christmas boxes, because although they were addessed to me, I distributed them to not only my unit, but throughout the entire Joint Logistics Command and the HQ's of the Army's 10th Mountain Division. The generosity of strangers was overwhelming, and every sender was send a postcard from Afghanistan thanking them, signed by as many of us as would fit on 1-2 cards.
There are thousands of service members deployed overseas who receive no mail from home. This service helps minimise the disappointment of another mail call without a letter from home. If you read this (well, duh, you obviously are) and feel that you'd like to do something to support the troops, check out http://www.anysoldier.com/ and select a unit to send something to. Even if you only send a thank you letter, do it. Be sure to include your return address or email address because you will probably hear something back. I'll bet there are many friendships started with just a box sent with a letter.
I looked for a link for a Canadian or British site which does the same thing, but was unsuccessful. If you know of one, and it's a non-profit organization, add a comment and tell us.
This isn't just for the holiday period, but for the times when people forget that children are far from the homes they mis