The last week of June was an emotional week for me, and I started pondering the myriad of emotions I had felt.

On Monday, my husband assumed battalion command. The pride I felt that day is immeasurable. The time, effort, sacrifice, and hard work he puts in every single day for his family, for his Soldiers, and for our country makes me the luckiest lady in the world.

On Tuesday, I celebrated my birthday. Another year of happy times and challenging ones. Another year of learning and growing and another year ahead to be better.

On Wednesday, I flew to England to bid farewell to one of my mother’s two sisters. For our family, our aunts are an extension of our own mother. When they love you, they love you like you are their own. When they care for you, they care for you like you are their own. When they celebrate you, they are celebrating their own. My aunt played such an instrumental role in my life from helping to raise me to being my biggest cheerleader.

So as these emotional filled days cast their net on my world, I felt the need to dissect them. I felt the need to think about the emotions we all feel at some point and how do we reconcile them within.

Happiness and pride.

Self-reflection, being present, and looking ahead.

Sadness and celebration.

It’s is amazing to me the roller coaster of emotions one can feel in a matter of a few days. And I am thankful for such a support system — at home and away, in-person or virtual.

The greatest thing is knowing no matter where I go, I have family. The same goes for you.

You have your family; your spouse, your kids, your folks, your siblings, your cousins, the list goes on. You have your friends who are family. And then you have your Army family.

And as I reflect on the roller coaster of emotions we feel on a daily basis, I am drawn to courage. A noun that is describes as the attitude of facing anything recognized as dangerous, difficult, or painful, instead of withdrawing from it.

For me, courage is what the dictionary defines but it is also finding the strength within through the good and the bad. It is recognizing your emotions and using them to drive you to grow.

In all the emotions, I experienced last week - I draw on my courage. I draw on my strength. These qualities are supported by those in my life that I know I can count on. The people I can count on for a kind word, a huge hug, or a just a shoulder to lean on.

As an Army spouse, you are often away from your family or your hometown support system. Location is not a prerequisite for your friends and family, but there is something to be said for having a circle of pals where you are planted. Basically, built-in friendships. A group that envelopes you. A group who understand how you feel during the celebrations, and understand how you feel during the moments of sadness.

Your Army family lifts you up. They are there for the good times and bad.

I find this exceptionally comforting as we continue on this Army journey. I find knowing that every single move, there is a group of lovely humans who sit in the seat next to me. They understand. They are there when you need them and they know you are there when they need you.

So, as we navigate all that life throws at us, good and bad, remember to draw courage and strength from those around you.

Live by those qualities so you can give back to all your support systems.

Take the time to grow all your circles with love, care, and kindness.

Reena O’Brien is a military spouse and Herald Correspondent. She lives on Fort Hood.

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