It's in the little things, the joy. The other day I got to wear heels. My close friends can attest to my love of all shoes pointy or tall - not always comfy or easy to take care of. Just pretty. That's how I used to like my shoes. Then I got pregnant, and I didn't want to risk falling. So I eventually switched to Practical, looking forward to the day I would return to Just Pretty. When I had E. I think I tried for one entire day to wear my old shoes, but I realized quickly that it just wasn't going to work - juggling a baby, car seat, and diaper bag, I needed all the balance I could muster. Which required flat, comfy shoes - nothing too distracting to walk in or too high-maintenance to take care of. E. eventually got old enough to walk on her own, but with J. deployed I rarely went anywhere without her, and when I did I was usually on a mission to accomplish 42 things in 2 hours.
But J. has returned. And I get to wear impractical shoes once again. I wore them the other night to a coffee, and again today at church. I'm not always in a hurry anymore. And I'm actually enjoying free time again. Especially the free time we spend together. I was relating this to a friend - how truly happy I have been these past two weeks. And not because of any one thing in particular; in fact, the joy has been in all the little things. We carved a pumpkin and toasted seeds. J. & I sucked helium from his welcome-home balloons (haven't done that in a while). We took E. to her first movie. J. came home at lunch and the three of us went to coffee down the street. And today I got to wear pretty, pointy suede heels (admittedly, not the 3-inch wedges and heels I used to sport, but just as pointy).
Don't get me wrong; I found many ways to carve out free time during the deployment. And E. and I had a lot of fun together this past year. I am thankful for the bonding time we shared. J's return hasn't meant things are perfect. We're all still adjusting and we've had a few minor skirmishes; J. and I have a lot to negotiate and a whole uncertain future to try to plan. But we're together as a whole family again. And it makes all the difference. I am happy and complete and thankful. I wish I could bottle this up. I hope I don't have to. I hope this is just my new attitude.
While I'm on the subject of being thankful, I should note here that I have been truly touched that you've taken the time to email or comment on this blog - all along and especially around J's homecoming. I expected blogging to be an outlet for both my thoughts and my creativity. I didn't really expect to become part of a community. It's been a pleasant surprise. Your well-wishes and exclamation points made this past few weeks all that more giddy and special. I really mean that. Thanks.