You wouldn’t think that being in Iraq, there would be much to be thankful for. On the other hand, you might think I have a lot to be thankful for.

I’m on the side of the latter. I have a ton to be thankful for today and while I’m not going to bore you with the details, I will say that like Memorial Day, I had a lot of strong emotions that I couldn’t figure out where they were coming from. We were in the chow hall, and our dfac puts on quite a display. There were table cloths and decorations and bottles of sparkling wine everywhere. It was really great. But in the midst of it all, in the middle of hearing everyone wish each other Happy Thanksgiving, there was a knot in the middle of my chest.

I don’t know why. I have so much to be grateful for, not the least of which is the fact that I was sitting at the table with my husband. I mean, you can’t ask for more than that. But the knot was there and I had a hell of a time stomping it down. It’s been on the edge of breaking through all day and I don’t know why.

My daughters are safe and happy and healthy, along with my mom. I’ve got the most amazing friends and mentors in the writing community and in my personal life. There is no indirect fire today. My soldiers are safe, a few days from getting out of here. Sitting over here on the FOB, seeing the colonel and the command sergeant major and everyone walking through the chow hall wishing everyone Happy Thanksgiving, I should have felt relief. I should have felt happiness to be sitting near my husband and knowing I’ll sleep tonight in a bed next to him.

So I’m not going to complain, only state that there is a knot that I don’t know the origin of and I can not name. I refuse to dwell on it. I refuse to be anything less than incredibly grateful for the blessings in my life and the lessons that I’ve learned this year, most of them difficult pills to swallow but in the end, they made me stronger.

I don’t know what the coming year will bring. I only know that today, I am grateful for so much.