First, I had the weekend in DC at the TAPS conference. I stayed in a room with 4 other of my widow friends and it was sooo good to see them and catch up. I would say all in all the weekend was a success. Not only did I get some serious bonding with my widsta sistas, I got to meet quite a few people I'd only talked to online as well as meet new friends. I enjoy events like this because even though they are full of grieving people, there is always so much laughter - just more proof that there is definitely still life left to be enjoyed even after the death of a loved one. Spending time with my widstas always makes me feel more sane. Of the 5 of us staying together, at 24, I ranked oldest which makes me sad. I wasn't, however, furthest out, nor was I shortest, I was right in the middle. Our group had younger people than me but we are all in a bit of different places in our grief journey even though we all lost our guys in the same deployment (or for one of my friends the battalion that replaced ours, so still basically same deployment). Some of us are dating, some are not, some want to, some do not. It is always good and refreshing to share widow stories and feel like there are people in the world who totally get you, who don't judge your decisions, and who support you 100%. I really feel the ladies who walk this journey with me that I've become close to will be lifelong friends. We enjoyed DC as well as the conference, doing a little shopping, and even got to dress up for the banquet. We attended some seminars and learned how others are coping with their grief (and saw even more that we're not nuts!). The memorial day concert in DC was beautiful and definitely had us in tears at times, it's crazy what the national anthem will do to a group of widows. I had such a blast and while the circumstances that brought us together are of the crappiest, I am blessed to have these ladies, and the others who didn't attend this time, in my life.
The following weekend I went to Myrtle Beach, SC for a hair show. It was good that I went because it gave me 18 extra hours towards school which was awesome because I was a little bit behind. I learned some really neat cutting techniques, bought lots of cool stuff, got SO MUCH inspiration just from people walking around, and got to know some of my classmates much better. We definitely had a great time. The only down fall was the benefit night that was held at House of Blues that we had so much looked forward to was a bust because my stupid brain wanted to rebel and give me a migraine. It was luckily not a super bad one though and I made it through in Myrtle and finished up the weekend just after getting some good sleep. Man I hate those things, they always ruin things I want to do - I am definitely ready to go back to the neuro and try something new to combat them. Ok, getting off topic here, the hair show was fun and it definitely helped reinforce my desire to be a beauty therapist (heh, I love that term) and made me feel like I am on the right career path.
After Ariana had gotten lots of grandma time over these events, I was sooo super stoked to have her back at home. I had missed her so so so much. She is getting so big and I just love spending time with her. She has come up with all kinds of new words now, and hearing her speak is always such a delight. She says hi, grandma, mom, dada, dog, bad dog (my favorite), bird, yes, no, truck... and others that I can't think of right now. She also knows her dad. This for me is just such a thrill. The other morning I was in my bathroom getting ready and she was in there with me. She went into my room and grabbed a picture frame with photos from our wedding and brought it to me, pointed at Jonathan and said dada! Then she grabbed another frame with just a picture of Jonny and I and pointed at him and said dada again. She KNOWS and it is just awesome. She will always know. It makes me so happy that even though her dad may not be able to be physically in her life he IS in her life and always will be. It makes my heart smile and makes me feel like he is in some small way here with us.
Now I am trying to figure out what to do with my summer school break. I only get 2 weeks, actually not even - 10 days to be exact - and I want to do something fun. I was thinking of heading to Disney World but I think July in Florida will be icky. Ariana hasn't been to Disney yet though so I really want to take her - maybe over winter break when Florida is less hot and Disney is less packed. So that is up in the air what we will do if anything, maybe we'll just spend the 10 days together having fun in the sun (and in the house on those sticky days!)
Hope everyone is doing well, God bless!