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A year later, the moral of the deployment is: Take nothing for granted

By Sarah Kickler Kelber

The Baltimore Sun

5:46 PM EDT, August 7, 2012

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A year ago today, my husband left for Afghanistan -- or at least the first leg of his long journey there to begin his deployment with the Marine Corps. He’s been home for five months now, and I’m feeling reflective about what the past 12 months have taught me.

I was thinking this would end up being a list of the lessons learned from that time in our lives, and the time since. But it all kept coming back around to this: Take nothing for granted.

We are the lucky ones, to all be home and healthy and happy. It could easily have gone another way. Being apart (and yes, under fraught circumstances) and now reunited has been a reminder to enjoy our time together when we can get it -- as a family, and as a couple -- to appreciate our family, our friends, and above all, our time.

To all who gave us so much support during the deployment and offered us thanks, I must say: Thank you. But also, don’t forget those who lost loved ones, or who were injured, or returned home to job troubles, or who deploy again and again. And after my seven months of temporary solo parenting, I ask you to please remember the full-time single parents, and offer them a hand, too.

A year later, for me the lesson is gratitude. In the coming year, the goal is to keep that as my primary attitude each day.