What the Last Year’s Taught Me

Reagan Gibbs is a dedicated volunteer, a stay-at-home mother of four, and a two-time military widow. She's also a self-proclaimed work in progress reflecting on the last year with Team Rubicon.

Last year was a big year for my family and me. I learned several lessons, with four having the greatest impact. Many I hope will stay with me for years to come.

I am enough.

I’ve spent most of my life telling myself, “I am enough.” I can’t say it did much good until recently.

I used to try to overcompensate for everything. I wasn’t pretty enough, so I did things I’m not proud of to fit in. I was not smart enough, so I became loud to get heard. I was not strong enough, so I hid in my room till whatever it was went away. I just wasn’t enough. Or at least I never felt enough. But guess what? I am enough.

This past Christmas, I tried to overcompensate for what I thought my girls would be lacking this year. I spent more money than I should have. I got really sick during the holiday break and ran myself into the ground trying to make it all perfect for them before realizing at the end of the day, it didn’t matter to them. We were all together in our new home, spending the first of many holidays to come. We couch-cuddled, rented movies, made cookies, and the world went on. The house was a mess and the world went on. The perfect meal didn’t get made, but what we ate was just fine, surrounded by a handful of friends, and the world went on. I am me, and that’s enough.

Focus on what I have not what I had.

Ever since my children’s father and stepfather died, I have tried to overcompensate for what I thought they were missing in their lives. Yes, they would always miss Mathew and Thomas. I will always miss them. It’s as much a part of who we are as the air we breathe. They were both great men, and the world has a hole in it now that they’re gone. But, my kids are surrounded by great people, not as a replacement but as an extension.

It wasn’t until I couldn’t go on anymore, was so tired and sick and just plain done with it all, that I actually focused on what we had and not what we were missing. I sometimes get so sad I can’t breathe, but when I stop and look around at my girls playing and just being in the moment, I realized I was the only one not in the moment with them. It’s ok to enjoy those moments, even when you have loss or things don’t turn out as you had hoped. What we did have was each other. And that was really wonderful.


Family isn’t always blood.

Ben is my family. It’s not every man who will take on the baggage a widow carries, much less a two-time military widow. He’s been with me, fought for me, supported me and loved me for the last four years. He’s been there for me and my girls with no regrets. We’ve even been blessed to have an amazing baby girl of our own.

Team Rubicon has given me another family. The men and women of TR have taken me in and helped me grow, though I doubt they realize just how much they’ve helped me. We have a saying about starfish, and for a long time, I felt I was a starfish stranded on a sandy beach. In all actuality, I was never just a starfish. I was a bird with a broken wing. I didn’t think I had anything to offer this amazing group of people, and some days, I still feel inadequate, but they don’t care. They pretty much told me to get off my ass and start flying again, and many have flown with me when I felt like I might fall. I have more confidence in my abilities, my skills, and myself than I ever have before. These people are family. They are not blood but they are family, no less.

Thank you for helping me realize that I can fly again.

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I have limitations.

I have a bad habit of overloading my wagon to make up for my shortcomings. But doing too many things halfway only makes you look like an ass, not like a super human. We have limitations. There are things we can’t do or will never get to. And there are things others will do better than me. That’s ok. We are not meant to do it all or be the best at everything.

If you love doing something, do it, and hone your talent. In my opinion, it’s better to be gifted at one thing than mediocre at several. There are only so many hours in the day. It’s ok ask for help and it’s ok to say you aren’t able to do something. Sometimes “no” is the best answer. I have too often tried to do too many things at once and never doing any of those well, just because I didn’t want to say no to anyone, let anyone down, or admit that I had limitations.

It helps me to reflect on these lessons and by sharing them, I hope others in my extended Team Rubicon family recognize how much their passion and guidance influence my journey.


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