Goodbye, New York.

It all started with an air mattress.
Bubba checking out the movers
As we finished cleaning and stood in the bare rooms last week, I couldn’t help but think about how it all began. 
I ended my last day at work on April 15th, 2011 and headed home to eagerly pack my car. After months of separation, my new husband and I would finally be together, in the same place. Our own place. I set my alarm for early the next morning and eagerly awaited the buzz to go off so I could reunite with my soldier. 
Of course I couldn’t sleep due to the excitement, and headed out earlier than expected. As I made the drive to New York for the first time, I was overjoyed and so excited to start our new adventure. We knew he would be deploying fairly soon after arriving at Fort Drum, but wanted to take advantage of every second we had together before he left. It may have seemed like a waste to some people but I’ll never regret the experiences we shared that month before he left. 

Our first home
We slept on an air mattress until our furniture arrived. We ordered pizza and ate straight out of the box. We drank wine. We laughed. We explored our new surroundings. And we truly experienced the newlywed lifestyle I had always envisioned. 
A few weeks later, we discovered a little addition would be joining our family. Turns out there’s not much to do without TV and internet and apparently, our little blessing would be a result of that. As if the transition into deployment wasn’t enough of a change, we had now added a pregnancy into the mix. Boy were we in for a lot of changes all at once!
When D Day (deployment day) came (May 30th, 2011), I sat in what would become Bubba’s nursery and collapsed at Zach’s feet. I cried. I was scared. I was mad he had to leave. But he picked me up and held me until it was time to go. We said our goodbyes at Battalion and I returned home, to where our new puppy Charlie was awaiting me with slobbery kisses and puppy cuddles. 
Charlie on the day Daddy left
I chose to leave our new “home” and stay in Ohio for the duration of his deployment. It was too hard to be in that house, alone, and think of the new memories we had made. It had only been a month but it felt so empty without my other half. I would return again, when he returned to the states, and we would start our life again there. 
When Z returned from Afghanistan (March 6th, 2012), I looked forward to making our house a home again. I hung signs, made dinner, and prepared for his return into civilization after a 10 month deployment in the Middle East. The house that had brought me so much sadness was instantly flipped to bring us together for something happy. We were a family, and had a united home once again. 
My sweet neighbor made me a sign when I came back before Zach’s arrival
New York never really felt like home. But the life that Z and I had created together, the family we had started, was what became our home. The walls and floors and rooms were just apart of a house that we happened to live in. Home is where the three (and soon to be four) of us are together. 
Bubba’s first day in New York
I watched Bubba take his first steps in that living room. I walked across the street to that open field and cried when Z told me his deployment orders had been cut. I cooked our first meal as a married couple in that kitchen. We had parties, and play dates, and family dinners in that dining room (which became the play room). We made memories there that I will never forget. 
Turning in our keys and access card

But as we leave that house and set forth into the new chapter of our lives, I don’t feel sad. I feel thankful. I feel thankful for everything we have experienced up until this point and I’m thankful that it is just the beginning. I look forward to making new memories and turning another house into a home with our growing family. 
As our days dwindled down, I looked at the empty walls, packed boxes and dirty floors, and couldn’t help but smile. We ate pizza straight from cardboard, we watched movies on the laptop, and yes, you guessed it…
It all ended with an air mattress. 


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