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Weathering storms


The weather in Fort Liberty has been ever-changing and I can’t figure out if I should have my winter coat, winter jacket, or no jacket and an umbrella. 

I always have my sunglasses because the sun is either in full force and I mistakenly think I hibernated and woke up to summer with the warm temperatures. Or the sun’s gone AWOL, and we miss it for a few days when it’s overcast. I’m then unsure if I woke up in the middle of the night with how dark it is when my alarm has rudely interrupted my sleep. 

As a Pittsburgh native, I’m trying not to complain because I am elated to have escaped the disturbingly cold temperatures and dreaded snowfall. My husband on the other hand misses the snow and wants a snow machine to bring him a “real winter” in the “North Carolinian winter.”

I guess that would be a fair trade. Anyone have a snow machine?

Leaving another month behind — although I don’t know where January went or how February has passed so quickly — we find ourselves barrelling toward spring and I wonder what the weather will bring. I do, however, know that February brings us quite a few things to celebrate: Black History Month, Valentine’s Day, President’s Day, and in our home, my son’s birthday. I try to discuss all of the wonderful things that we celebrate this month with my children, keeping in mind their age, explaining that there is a significance to each beyond a day off from school, and even cake.

They seem to have no problem understanding the significance of my son’s birthday — he’s turning 5 — so of course we have cake to celebrate! The reasons behind the day off from school, the candygrams, and celebrating a part of their cultural background have proven to be more complicated, but interesting, nonetheless.

Living on post I have found it especially important to teach my children that people come in all colors, shapes, sizes, and from places all over the world. I encourage them to ask questions to get to know the people around them, to be kind even when someone is different from them, and to learn from everyone they meet. 

As adults, I think it’s important we remember to really hear the messages that we are giving to our children, and to take our own advice. It can be easy to become more closed off, to follow patterns, and to shut ourselves off from accepting another culture, race, or even opinion. But February is a month full of reminders to break patterns, to love, and to celebrate.

For me, my favorite way to learn about people, to celebrate, and to truly connect with others is to do so around food. Sharing a meal with someone leads to conversation and new experiences, and who isn’t happy when they are eating? Invite your new neighbors over for dinner, and make something that represents who you are, whether it’s tied to your culture or it’s something you make that fills you with love because it has sentimental value.

Try something new from a friend that’s from a different culture and ask them what they love about it. Food is only one way, and if food isn’t the way to your soul like it is for me, there are so many ways to learn something new about someone. Sometimes we should follow in our children’s footsteps, and welcoming new people with different backgrounds with an open mind is one of those times.

Life, like the weather, is colorful and ever-changing. Sometimes it’s great, but sometimes it’s not the best. We get what we’re given, and we do with it what we will. But we are mindful of the temperature and prepare in the ways we can. Make the most out of living in Fort Liberty, love your neighbors, get to know them, and learn about the world around you.

While you make your way through February, remember that all the things we celebrate this month have significance and they are not just days off work, days to eat chocolate, and it’s not just the second month of the year.

For those who have soldiers heading into a deployment or to JRTC, or to anyone struggling, a word of encouragement from Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.: “If you can’t fly then run, if you can’t run then walk, if you can’t walk then crawl, but whatever you do you have to keep moving.”

Fort Liberty weather, Winter clothing, Sunglasses, Snow machine, February celebrations, Black History Month, Valentine's Day, President's Day, Children's birthday, Cultural background, Diversity, Inclusivity, Food culture