Perspective

It’s the time of year to look around and be thankful for all that we have.  And by that I don’t just mean the material stuff, in fact, I think this time of year the material stuff should matter less and the “other” stuff more.  A few days before Thanksgiving I had a miscarriage, one of the reasons I haven’t been around here much, and it was such a low point.  Times like that, even despite the holidays, it was easier to focus on the negative.  Until my husband snapped me out of it.

We don’t live in a big McMansion, we don’t have luxury cars, we don’t have lots of extra digits in our bank account, in fact if you keep on the notion of what we don’t have it could be pointed out that we don’t often have a lot of time together.  But we do have each other.  And as cliche as it may sound that’s everything.

Being a part of a military family has given me incredible perspective.  Perspective that I don’t know if I would have if flyboy was working nine to five in an office.  I think we appreciate more of the little things.  Every holiday and birthday spent together is special because, well, you don’t know if you’ll be together for the next one.  So much time is spent apart that the time together is what matters.  Not the dollars in the bank or the size of your house.

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Veterans Day – A big thank you

I didn’t forget Veterans day yesterday. Hardly. I thought a lot about it I’m just always running a day or two behind lately. I thought a lot about the men and women, past and present who deserve a great deal of thanks. The veterans near and dear to me, my grandfathers, one here, one not here, my father in law who missed the same parts of my husbands life that flyboy is now missing of his boys, and my husband, one of the few (very) good men.

Thanks to those for whom a “business trip” meant taking the beaches of Normandy and Iwo Jima, or the jungles of Vietnam, the mountains of Afghanistan and the sands of Iraq.

Thanks to those who because of their service miss so much at home. Thanks to those who have missed births, first steps, first words, first birthday, first snow days. Thanks to those who year after years miss anniversary and holiday dinners, for whom being home on a three day weekend is not a given.

Thanks to those who are away more then they are home, for whom work is not really work but a way of life that far too often can interrupt “real” life and really, becomes your life.

Thanks to those for whom this is more then a job.

Thanks to those for whom without we and much of the rest of the world would not be free.

Thanks to those who serve and while its Veterans day, thanks to those families who by standing in the wings offering love, support, and stability, also serve.

And thanks to those who have served and never came home, who are remembered in photographs, videos, and the hearts and memories of those who love them.

Somehow thank you doesn’t seem like enough.

From the mouth of babes

I am learning that almost everything that comes out of the mouth of Dash-1, my very extroverted 3 1/2 year old, requires explanation on my part.  And it often leaves me wishing that we lived in an area with a larger military presence with some of the stuff that comes out of his mouth then maybe when people smile and nod they’d really mean it. 

Rather then do the whole smile, nod, and slowly back away.

My dear flyboy has been working 16 hour days this week while down at the rife range, I mentioned in passing to the boys that daddy would be working very hard this week.  Dash-1 wanted to know if he was flying, I explained that he would be on the ground doing something else.  I’m not sure how flyboy explained the rifle range to him but during a trip to the library Dash-1 walked right up to the librarians desk and with a very straight face told her. “My daddy is shooting guns right now.  Big guns.” After a pause he added, “and he’s very good.”  Then he walked away. 

I should add that he has a strange habit of sometimes squinting his eyes and turning his head while he speaks so that it seems like he’s giving you the evil eye while talking to you. 

The librarian just looked from him to me.  She called after him to ask him if his daddy was a police man.  He nodded no which REALLY caused her to look to me for an answer.  So I explained.  It was cute really, he was proud of his daddy, but it was a smidge awkward. 

Then comes the first real day of school for him.  The first day to be left all by his lonesome.  It went pretty well until the teachers asked me to review some snacks because of his allergy.  So when he saw me standing around he lost it. Full water works.  And then came the daddy angle.  He started asking if daddy would be home when he came home from school and I quote, “if daddy would be staying for a while or if he would just be going again like he always does.”  I’m pretty sure all the moms were staring at me with that one. 

In case you were wondering we are the only military at the preschool.

Ah to be around a bunch of others like us.  Seldom when we go down to the larger base and dash-1 breaks out with one of his comments is there a need to explain.  When I was visiting family down at Parris Island or when I run over to Quantico when I’m at my folks, I’m around a bunch of people like me.  Other moms who balance being mom and dad too much of the time and who are trying to figure out this parenting military kids thing just as I am.  Its comforting really.  And so much less explaining.

I’ve been thinking…

A daily read of mine, New Girl On Post had an interesting post up on whether or not you would want your son to join the military.

I’ve thought about this a lot.

I know my boys are young little ones and while it seems like the time for that decision is light years away one of the first lessons learned in parenting is that time flies. First sleeping thru the night, then potty training, nursery school, riding the big boy bus, first job, first girlfriend…. all right so perhaps I am a bit ahead of myself.

But seriously sometimes they do seem to grow up overnight.

When I was pregnant with Dash-1 flyboy was deployed so I was alone at the ultrasound when the tech told me that we were going to have a boy. The first thing that I thought about was, oh God my baby is going to go into the military.

Flyboys first reaction when he called the night after was and I remember this perfectly, crappy phone connection and all, “Oh my God a son. I don’t have to pay for a wedding!”.

We will not push our sons into the military, neither of us is grooming for that. Both have college savings account and higher education is very important to us. We joke about the boys going to a service academy and flyboy buying a very nice car with their college money, but its not a predetermined path in our house.

But I am also not blind to the fact that its a very likely possibility. Both of flyboy’s grandfathers were in the military, his father was a career Marine, and then there is my dear flyboy and well we all know what he’s doing with his time.

It seems to me that there certainly is a chance, a darn good one at that, that one of my boys will join up. I’d even make a bet and put my money on the Corps.

How do I feel about that?

Let me put it this way. I sit in my comfy glider chair at night when I’m reading stories or just sitting with one or both of them and I sometimes find myself kissing the tops of their heads. Their short hair is just so soft after bath and it smells so fresh. I kiss their heads and its as if I am trying to capture those moments forever.

And I think.

I think that these simple moments must be the memories that so many moms of very grown, very capable, and very honorable men who paid the ultimate price must remember.

When I think about the fallen, I think about the wife and the kids left behind, but now I also think about his mom. The one who watched him grow up from a boy to a man and then into a warrior.

Who is now left with the memory of nuzzling his soft little head in a rocking chair.

I had thought about our kids joining up briefly before we had kids. I thought about the statistics of it logically like I outlined, but once I held my baby boys I felt the emotion of it.

Irregardless of what path they take in life military or college, they will leave the house at some point. They will go forth and start their lives as productive, responsible, young men. As a mom I want nothing more. And nothing would make me prouder to see my sons in uniform like their father.

But there is something in me that knows that if they choose the military it will be a different sort of striking out. They maybe made into men a little earlier, a little rougher, and a lot further from my reaches.

Thank God I have time.

What are you thoughts about your kids following down the military path either joining or marrying into it?

Words from my mouth

Sometimes my life is a bit like an out of body experience. Not in a bad way, not at all, its just that sometimes I find myself saying things that ten years ago I couldn’t have imagined coming out of my mouth.

Since becoming a wife and mother the following strange things have come out of my mouth.

“Have a great day. Oh wait you forgot your gas mask.”

“Please find another place for this crappy piece of tank, I just chipped my pedicure on it.” Flyboy brought home a piece of an Iraqi tank his first deployment over there. Its not too big, the size of a large laptop. But really does it belong in our living room?

“Do not brush your hair with the fork your eating with.” Around here we use clean forks for that.

“Daddy just flew over the house lets go inside and get cleaned up.”

“Get away from there, the cow is about to poop on you!”

“Please don’t your finger in the dog’s butt.” To his defense, it was the first time that Dash-1 had really been around dogs at my in laws and at the time the dogs were bigger then him and well… their butt was eye level. Never underestimate the curiosity of a 18 mth old!

“Thank you for offering but we don’t share boogers.”

“Please take your underwear off your head and hand Mommy her wallet.” Yes I keep spare underoos in my purse, elmo ones to be exact, Dash-1 was sitting in the cart and all of a sudden the cashier starts laughing. I turn to look and what do you know Dash-1 is wearing his spare underwear on his head and shaking his money maker.

“Why are there shoes in the dishwasher?” Still no answer to this one.

“Please, those are tampons, not torpedoes.”

You know whats even stranger…. as I type these things out they don’t seem all that weird to me. I’m becoming used to it all and at least I’m polite I do say please a lot.

Got Mail?

I’ve been trying to come up with something to do for the boys. So often daddy is here when they go to bed and then when they wake up he’s gone, sometimes for a day or two, sometimes for weeks and weeks. It’s getting to the point that Dash-1 asks every night, usually several times a night, if flyboy will be here tomorrow.

So I’ve been thinking…. what to do…..what to do….

And when I was getting the last can of green beans out of the little box for dinner it hit me.

Mail.

Dash-1 and I (all right so it was mainly me) took the box and wrapped it with brown paper. Careful to leave the little flap because every good mailbox has a door. When it was finished it looked great. Much better then the ones I used to make in grade schools for my valentines. Good to see my crafting has come a long way since then.  But the decorating it was all them.  And you can tell.

The mailbox right now has a place at the corner of the dinning room table. Flyboy puts a little note in it at night and when he’s away I’ll put notes and treats in there from him.

Dash-1 got so excited when he got his first note from flyboy that he was jumping up and down, hugging the letter, and wanted to call flyboy to thank him right away. Apparently dash-1 was so loud on the phone the eight guys that were briefing at that moment could hear him. Dash-2’s excited was a bit more underwhelming but that goes with the age.

Who knows how long they’ll find this exciting. I hope for a while. We’re enjoying it as much as they are.

A snazy star

I finally have a service star to put up in my house. Take a look folks and prepare to be jealous.

Isn’t it fantastic?! It’s beautiful if I may say so.

For those who aren’t familiar with the service star flag, it started during World War I and they were originally known as “Sons in Service” flags. A small flag vertical flag was hung in a window with a blue star for each serving son and or husband. If tragedy stuck and a service member was killed in the line of duty a gold star replaced the blue star. At one point there were almost a dozen variations of the service flag for wounded, MIA, captured, distinguished service and a few other outcomes.

Almost six years as a Marine wife and I never had a service flag in the house. As strange as it sounds, I never felt a connection with it. It’s strange that something that is used to proudly display a family’s service and sacrifice never really called out to me.

Until I saw this one.

It didn’t call out to me, it screamed. It’s beautiful, its patriotic, and it was homemade with love by my mother. Well not the frame, we got that at the big W-mart.  But everything else was sewn by my mother, who as you can see is an amazingly crafty gal.

I’m visiting my folks and was flipping thru one of my mother’s quilting magazines while the boys were playing and I saw an article about patriotic sewing for the troops. How could I not turn to it. I saw the blue star wall hanging and immediately asked my mother if she could do. I ran out to the material store to pick out some colors and set the old gal off to work. This woman can turn scraps into a gorgeous handmade quilt so its no doubt that it turned out as beautiful.

I am so excited to get home and get it up on the wall in a place of honor.  I might even wait until flyboy gets home to hang it so I don’t leave five holes around in my wake.

Well done ma! Thank you and I love it more then you know.