Most of you celebrated Thanksgiving Day 3 days ago. I did too, in the traditional sense, but it was TODAY around 6am this morning that I really experienced Thanksgiving. DS had a 6:30am flight back to WP. There we were at the airport early this morning with many other SA families telling our cadets/mids goodbye. Sad faces and some tears as we all watched them stand in a very long line to go through security. Many other WP cadets were there as well as 2 USNA Mids, a USCGA cadet and a USAFA cadet. All of us parents were watching them weave around in the Disney World like line. Watching as they passed through security and out of our sight. We consoled each other. Some teary eyed. How was Thanksgiving? I can't believe it went by so fast. It is so hard to say goodbye. When is this going to get easier. Can't wait to have them home again for Christmas. Etc. Etc. Etc. Then - there he was. A young Private. Weaving around in the same line. In ACUs. His parents were standing right beside us. As he got to the place where his parents were standing - a quick hug from them before he had to move along. We heard the word 'deployment'. No complaining about the quick Thanksgiving. No complaining about saying goodbye. Just solemn but proud faces. A WP mom standing next to me teared up. It hit me like a ton of bricks. This family was sending their son off to somewhere a lot harsher than the environment that our DS was going back to. Their son would not be back for Christmas. Their son was most likely going into harms way. They would not see their son for who knows how long. Their son may not come home. There I was, feeling sad about sending my son back to WP. Where he is safe. Where he is well taken care of. He will be home in 3 weeks to a warm house, an abundance of food, friends and family all making a big to do over him because he is a WP cadet. I don't have to worry about him day in and day out. Unlike that young Private's family. How small and petty I felt. So today is my REAL Thanksgiving Day. I am thankful that DS has been given the opportunity to attend one of the top schools in the world - that it is paid for (how unbelievable is that!), that he is paid (even more unbelievable), that he will graduate in 4 years (unlike most of his high school classmates), that he will have a job when he graduates (also unlike most of his high school classmates) and that he has a promising future whether he chooses to be career military or not. I am thankful that he is at the best training facility for future Army officers (sorry - I'm a little biased). I am thankful that he will be trained and educated in superior fashion before he is an Officer and on Active Duty. I am thankful that I will have 3 more Thanksgivings, 4 more Christmases, as well as Spring Breaks and summers before I will be in that Private's parents shoes. I am thankful for that Private's family for raising him to be the kind of person that he is and then being able to let him go. I am thankful for that Private and pray for his safety. When we take DS to the airport on January 2 to return to WP after a wonderful Christmas break, I don't think that I will be wallowing in self pity about him leaving. I will be thankful for these baby steps in saying goodbye. Today was the best Thanksgiving Day that I've ever had.