Packing Away the Medals

Medals2edwmThe movers came today to pack all of our household goods, and they’ll return tomorrow to load everything for shipment to Germany. Surprisingly, today wasn’t sad. It’s my first Army PCS, but somehow, I think I’ve already accepted that purging and packing are part of Army life.

There was a pang of emotions when I took our race medals off the bedroom wall, though. The medals from our first date (a half marathon) went into the same box as his Ironman medal and my “Running Through Deployment” medals.

I know that race medals aren’t something that every military couple can relate to, but most couples have something in their home that’s the equivalent of our race medals. Maybe it’s a collection of some sort that’s been gathered on each vacation together. Maybe it’s a series of framed photos. Maybe it’s the fancy place settings in the china cabinet — the ones that were passed down from a grandparent.

As I boxed up our medals, I became reflective. Races have become part of our story; a series of events that have intertwined our lives with those of our family and friends. A series of events that have taken us to different parts of the country, and have allowed us to see cities by foot instead of car. A series of events that have aligned subtly to phases of our life together.

I remembered our first date. I remembered the first half marathon we ran with his sister and brother-in-law. The excitement of cheering at, volunteering for, and celebrating at the finish of the Ironman he ran with his dad and brother-in-law. Getting to cross the finish line of the first half marathon my brother ever saw me run — while Nick was still serving in Afghanistan. Running so many races in the U.S. — without him here — last year, and sending him pictures of me at every race’s finish. And most recently, I remember running my first full marathon with him on the sidelines, cheering me on as I pounded the last 26.2 miles of his deployment into the pavement.

We’ve come a long way in the years we’ve been together, and I’m glad we’ve kept the medals that help remind us of where we’ve been. Here’s to hoping that whether it’s medals or photos; beer steins or china, the next several years in Germany bring as many good memories together as the last several years have.

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