Old Wounds…

I have a scar on my right leg.  It has been there since I was in the first grade.  Shortly after school started, I was playing with a neighbor on their swing-set and as my Mom had called me to come in and start homework, I walked up the hill from our neighbor’s house.  Half-way up the hill I fell.   What I didn’t know at the time was that I had fallen on a scythe cut branch and a piece of it had broken off, puncturing my leg.   I had a gaping hole where it entered.  Of course, it caused quite a stir when I got inside our house and for what seemed like months on end I was unable to walk, missed school quite a bit and went to the doctor.  Although this all happened sixty years ago, I remember many things about it like it was yesterday.   After several weeks (or it could be months) the stick actually fell out of my leg through the same hole it punctured.

To look at the scar, it’s healed.   The skin is softer, smoother, and lighter, but it’s healed.  Until I hit it up against something, then I know it’s there.  It hurts worse than hitting my leg even an inch above or below the scar.  It’s an old wound.

Old wounds are not always visible.  They are old and they blend into your body and for most of the time, you do not think of them.

Years ago, while living in San Diego, and going through a difficult time, the Lord showed me these verses in Psalm 55. 12 For it is not an enemy who reproaches me,
Then I could bear it;  Nor is it one who hates me who has exalted himself against me,  Then I could hide myself from him. 13 But it is you, a man my equal, My companion and my familiar friend; 14 We who had sweet fellowship together Walked in the house of God in the throng.

It talks about being hurt by a friend, a confident.  I haven’t thought of those verses for a long time.  I know I have reread them often, but the poignant meaning they held for me hasn’t hit me until the last few days.  I thought that wound was healed.   I thought it didn’t cause pain anymore, and yet, it has.   That wound has been hit up against something sharp the past week and I have ached because of it.  It has been opened up again, not a gaping wound, but enough to feel it ooze out and around my spirit.

I actually did not think about old wounds until this evening.  Psalm 55 goes on to say, 16 As for me, I shall call upon God, And the Lord will save me. 17 Evening and morning and at noon, I will complain and murmur, And He will hear my voice. 18 He will redeem my soul in peace from the battle which is against me,

I have gone back and forth in my thoughts and prayers this past week.  I have complained and murmured. I have sputtered and spewed.   But, tonight, as I stopped long enough to hear, I heard “old wounds”.

Old wounds are there for a purpose.  They have taught us a lesson in the past.  They are reminders of the lessons we were supposed to have learned.  Sometimes we forget.  We enjoy where we are and what we are doing.  We relax.  Then that proverbial coffee table appears out of nowhere in the dark and we hit that shin, or that knee and pain appears.

So, for now, I am aware of that coffee table and I am going to turn my focus on the One who hears my voice.  He will restore my soul and maybe this time that old wound will be healed  for good.

Thanks for stopping by today,   Cathi (DAF)

 

Sharon…

I first met Sharon when I was her brother’s secretary.  She, along with her Mom and her brother were visiting and came into the office to spend time with her brother.

I confess the first time I saw the family walk into our offices I was very intimidated.  I didn’t know what to say or actually how I was supposed to act.  I remember Sharon was so sweet, she smiled and we exchanged pleasantries and shortly after they all walked out.

Through the years,  I grew to love the family, and we are very close friends. Today I talked with her brother and sister-in-law.  We talked about Sharon, and like that first day meeting her, I didn’t know what to say.  Tears ran down my cheek as we visited on the phone and we talked about Sharon.  She passed away today and this world lost a very special person, although Heaven gained a mighty warrior of faith.

As is typical, the words, she is out of pain were said, along with words she will be missed. Kind words with good intentions, but, so sorely lacking in what was desired to be said.  So, as I can usually express myself much better in writing, I have taken to this blog to express my thoughts.

Sharon had a wonderful laugh.  The kind of laughter that is quiet but filled with mirth and life.  Her eyes twinkled when she talked about her youngest brother.  Those eyes reflected years of memories and adventures they only knew about.  She was proud of her brother’s family.  I saw that many times while sitting on a couch with her as she watched her niece and nephews and their children experience life.

She loved to pray and we often talked about prayer and in particular, praying for her brother when we were together.  I knew when I prayed for him and his wife that there was a strong back-up pray-er that joined with me.

It has been several years since I last saw Sharon.  We actually live across the country from her and her brother.  But, with relationships that are not just friends, but family, time and distance does not make a difference.

After hanging up with our friends today, my thoughts have gone back to the conversation we had.  Things I wish I could have voiced are still rambling around my brain, it will take a few days for them to connect into coherent thoughts.  I have also thought of my two sisters and how difficult it would be to say good-bye to them.  Time quickly passes and there are times when you don’t call or check in.  There have been too many of those times in my life, and I will not recover those missed opportunities to tell my sisters how much they mean to me.

So, as my rambling comes to a close, allow me to say once more, the world lost an amazing woman today, one who encouraged me, challenged me and in the short visits we would have, made an impact on my life that I will carry with me until I see her once more in eternity.   Each person we lose here on earth makes heaven just all that more sweeter.  As I end this, I will text my sisters, just to check on them.  Thanks for stopping by today, Cathi (DAF)

Around the Table…

Do you remember the first day of school?   You go into a classroom and look around at all the strangers wondering who they are and if you would ever have anything in common with them.

In the fall of last year, hubby was being seen at the VA hospital locally and it was recommended to him to start the MOVE program.  So, a few weeks later we found ourselves in a similar first day of school situation.  We entered the classroom and hubby sat down at the table.   I sat along the wall, not really knowing what I was supposed to do.   It turned out that I, too, could participate and be a support for hubby while he went through the class.    I moved to the table where he was seated.

The facilitator has taken a group of out of shape veterans, seeing them shed inches and pounds and outer veneer to become a caring group. It has been a fascinating journey for me.   Much the same as a school room environment, I have discovered that the strangers on the first day of this class do have like interests and struggles and humor.

Each week we have a different topic to discuss and discover. I initially went thinking I would be waiting weekly in a room, trying to keep myself occupied while hubby was in class.  What has happened is so different.  I have learned so much these past weeks, about myself, my diet, my activity levels, about health and wholeness, diet, nutrition, mental attitudes, exercise, the list goes on and on. I cannot say enough positive about this experience.

Although I knew that this room would be filled with veterans, I have to remind myself often of that fact.   Of course we found the Navy veteran, as they hold a dear place in our hearts, but, each branch of the military is represented and I love listening to stories before class begins.

There are three women veterans in the room.  From outward appearances you see a young mother, a middle aged women perfectly put together, and a grandmother who uses a walker and babysits a grandson while participating. It takes a conscious effort on my part to remember that these three women were once military personnel.  I have sat in the room looking at them trying to conjure up images of them in uniform.  I long to hear their stories.   They fascinate me.   They are incredible women, having taken the oath to support and defend our country.

The men in the room are great fun.  Having been a Navy wife I am used to seeing and being around military men. I enjoy the camaraderie they enjoy.  They are brothers in arms and it is obvious.

There are three military wives.  We are easy to pick out.  We sit beside our husbands.  We smile at jokes, or when they say something.  We look like supportive and caring wives, which we are, but, we are so much more.  We know separation.  We know long days and nights of taking care of home and children.  We are strong women, similar to, and yet different from the women veterans in the room.    We too, are veterans of a different kind.

We have two more classes.  I am saddened to see it end.   I know the things I have learned are a part of our lives now.   They will not be forgotten.  To our dear facilitator, Amy, thank you for all your hard work, time, effort and care you tirelessly pour into each person who attends.  Your faithfulness in your job lives in each individual who enters that classroom.  Your enthusiasm lingers in the minds and memories of those whom you serve.   Thank you for your service.   You serve our veterans well.

For those in the classroom, you have blessed my life.  You have brought smiles and laughter to me when I entered not wanting to smile that day.   You have each made an impact in some way in my life, and for that I am grateful.

For those of you reading, take good care of yourself, you are worth it.   Eat right, think about what and how you are eating.  Get some exercise, it will encourage you in many ways.  Thank you for stopping by today.  Have a very happy 2020.   Cathi (DAF)

 

Grandma Challenge…

For the past few weeks I have seen my Facebook friends posting photos of their grandchildren with this explanation: Every day I select an image from a day in the life of being a grandma and post it without a single explanation.   In turn you are to nominate a friend to do the same.    Two days ago, a dear friend of mine nominated me.   I smiled and thought about it, as I usually do not share pictures of my grandchildren.  Only when I have the permission from their parents.   In this day and age, there is a fine line in sharing and over-sharing, but, I digress.

So, yesterday I shared a picture of Little Man and myself.   A sweet moment captured by my youngest and a photo that I love.  I can still remember the moment, the feel of his tiny body so comfortable, no squirming, no jiggling, just a tiny newborn with that fresh newborn smell.   Now he is all boy.   Lots of movement and noise and talking.  I wouldn’t have him any other way.  Of course, that newborn smell is long gone.

Today I posted a picture of Little Miss, curled up in her little bassinet, sound asleep.  Another precious picture.  I remember when that photo was taken, it was a warm San Diego day and she was only in a diaper with a little bamboo blanket on to keep the air off of her.  This morning I face-timed with Little Miss who, in her excitement for seeing us at Christmas had a list of thoughts she wanted to tell me in preparation for our visit.  I have laughed rethinking the conversation in my mind.  Gotta love a five year old with an active imagination.

The thing about this challenge, as they call it, is no explanation, how in the world does any grandmother not explain and tell a story about their grandchildren? That is literally impossible!

As I thought about this sharing of photos, I came to the realization that moments in a grandmother’s life is not only her grandchildren.  I thought of when I became a grammy for the first time.  Seven plus years ago, when Little Man was born, it was a hot July day and my life changed forever.  I saw my daughter and son-in-law walk in with this tiny bundle.  That moment is etched in my heart and mind.

The next time I felt that way was two years later, on another hot day, this one in October.  I stood with hubby outside a hospital room and heard the first cry of Little Miss.  Tears of joy welled up in my eyes.   A new life, a new child, a new little girl.

These moments bring to the realization that these lives, these two precious lives are ones that I won’t be a part of completely.  In conversations about your grandparents,  how many are in the present tense?  For most of us, words like, was, were, did, had are in the sentences.  Past tense words.  I remember,  a phrase commonly used in talking about grandparents.   That’s part of being a grandparent.  We strive to make memories so that when our sweet babies are grown, they, too, can say, I remember.

For me, grandma moments are not restricted to Little Man and Little Miss.  My moments are those when I channel my Mother-in-law without thinking and find myself reacting and saying things she did when my girls were small.  She is present in my heart and mind whenever I am with my grandchildren.  I know she would have loved her great grandchildren dearly.

Seeing my daughters and their husbands with their children also are some of my grandma moments.   Watching them interact, discipline, explain (for the umpteenth time) things to the kids, play games, build things, and laugh with them does my heart so much good.   Seeing a foundation built into my grandchildren by their parents is a visible reminder that there is a legacy being built.

I am blessed to have two more granddaughters.  Two beautiful girls (although one is grown now) who were gifted to me by my son-in-law.  Two girls I didn’t have the honor of seeing as infants, but feeling a bond with them I never imagined.   They bless my heart, hearing about their accomplishments and wishing I could wrap my arms around them often.

A grandma’s challenge is multi-faceted.  It reflects so much that goes unspoken.  Like a diamond catching the light, the heart of a grandma will flash a glimpse of laughter and surprise, it will reverberate with a pride that cannot be contained in the heart, but beams through facial expressions.  A grandma will hold out her arms waiting for a hug and hoping the child will absorb not only the hug, but deep love and emotion that is in the hug.  A grandma’s challenge is to plant deeply the roots of all she is into her grand-babies, so that in years to come, any and all conversations about her will bring to the foreground the love and comfort she put there.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.   Cathi (DAF)

Iconic? Not me…

Did you ever wonder how long it took to think of and write iconic opening lines to books?

This thought came to me the other night while trying to get to sleep.   Actually, Herman Melville came to mind,  ”Call me Ishmael.” Wonderful!  Hooks you right in.  I love it!

And Charles Dickens, one of my favorite authors,  how long did it take him to start the Tale of Two Cities?   ”It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.”  Incredible opening.

J.R.R. Tolkien, In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit. “ A wonderful beginning to The Hobbit.  

So many books start with a few words that immediately draw you in to the book.   Opening lines are important.  They are the first impressions, and like your own first impression, they can either elicit sighs of “WOW”  or “UGH”.  There are no in-between.

Today, after almost thirty years of hesitating, I wrote my own first impression.  Will it ever join the iconic list I mentioned above?  I don’t think so.  But, after much thought, much skirting around the problem and a whole lot more procrastination, I did it!

I still have research to do, and more character development, but, it has begun.  So, without further ado, here it is….  Why is it that the bed you wrestled with nine hours previously is now the most comfortable place in the world?

And that friends, is the result of almost thirty years.   What do you think?  Be gentle, as I don’t have another thirty years to wait for the second chapter!

Thanks for stopping by today,  Cathi (DAF)

 

My Veteran…

Tomorrow, November 11th is Veterans Day.  In all the years that I have had my blog, I have never written a post to honor my Veteran on this day.   I have shared about him and some of our adventures, but never on this day that honors Veterans.

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This is hubby and I.  Yes, it is an old picture, but one of my favorites.  This was taken the summer before my hubby joined the U.S. Navy.   We had been dating for a few years at this time.  Neither of us had a clue as to what our future held, we were having fun, working, and being young.

In November of that year, I woke early to meet his father and him downtown.  The sun was barely shining and a bus arrived that would take him to Pittsburgh, PA to be processed into the Navy and from there he would take his first flight to Orlando for boot camp.   It was a sad good-bye for me and after the bus departed, I went home, changed and threw myself into work for the next few weeks.

He was able to come home for the Christmas holidays.  I was overjoyed at the thought of him coming home.  I anxiously waited to see his parent’s car pull up in front  of our house, and I immediately ran to the front door to greet him.

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At the door stood a familiar face, a familiar smile, and arms that felt so wonderful.  But, this was no longer the high school boy I had been dating.  Before me stood a military man.  He left as the kid from high school, but came home so different.  He had left the world we both knew so well and he came home a sailor.  It took a couple of days for me to realize that he truly was the same kid I fell in love with, it was just that he now was part of the U.S. Navy.

During his brief visit home, we were engaged to be married.  He placed a sparkling diamond on my finger and we once more said good-bye.  We were beginning to see a pattern here that would repeat itself often throughout his career.

I planned our wedding and thirteen months later, we had our day.   A part of our wedding had a John Denver song, “Follow Me”.  The lyrics say, “You see I’d like to share my life with you And show you things I’ve seen Places that I’m going to places where I’ve been To have you there beside me and never be alone And all the time that you’re with me We will be at home Follow me where I go what I do and who I know Make it part of you to be a part of me Follow me up and down all the way Take my hand and I will follow you”   I selected this as I thought it was romantic and sweet.   Little did I know that it would become a way of life.

The day after our wedding, our adventure began.  This man, who has been in my life since I was 15, has served our country.  He has given me a number of adventures.  We have lived in many places.  He has missed birthdays, anniversaries, holidays, school events, life events.  He met his youngest daughter eight and half months after her birth. IMG_0426He has had to switch mental gears often, becoming a gentle Daddy to little girls after a day or weeks of being solely a military man.  He has made hard choices to leave the comfort of a home to be where he was needed.  We learned that sometimes sacrifice was a priority, and I never saw him grumble about it.

We watched his career continue for almost 21 years, and then the girls, now in high school and middle school, watched with me as we saw him enter a retirement ceremony as an active duty sailor and leave to the tune of boatswain’s mate pipe as he walked out a Veteran.    A few short steps and our grand adventure was over.  No more deployments, no more separations.

There was a time when I looked at him and could see the readiness of our military.  I could see him bounding up ladders on a ship.  I could see his ready smile as he saw any of the ships moored on the base.  I could feel his excitement, his love, his devotion to his career.  It was honorable.  I often stood amazed that he could be so devoted to family and at the same time be so devoted to his service to his country.

Now, I look at this man and the admiration is still there, although there is no bounding up any steps, let alone ladders!  This man not only gave his life and youth to serving, but, he took me along with him.  The love for his country and for the military easily spread to my heart.  The adventure of his Navy career was short in the great scheme of life, however, it was one that filled my heart, and my mind with memories, remembered aromas from places we lived, and echoes of laughter and conversations with those we met and carry in our heart.

Veterans are truly special people.  You see them often.  The old men and women on the street, or at the stores.  They are the young men and women, some crippled visibly and some not so visible. They deserve honor.  They deserve praise.  Yet, I am partial to my Veteran.  He is my favorite.  I have followed him, and will continue to take his hand, for when we are together we are home.

Thank you for stopping by today.   I appreciate it, Cathi (DAF)

Juggling…

I have a faint memory from childhood of having juggling balls.  I remember looking at the direction book and practicing with them.  I think I was able to get up to three balls.  I was excited at what I could do, but when I tried the fourth ball, I became discouraged and quit.

Isn’t that how it is when we are trying something new or going through new experiences?   We step out confident, and then that fourth ball comes into play and all of a sudden we are all fingers and toes and can’t hold onto anything.

How did this memory come back to me, you ask?   Well, here is how it came back from the dark recesses of my mind.   That mind of mine is a scary thing, as I really don’t have to let you know.   I am certain you could perceive that from reading this blog!

Hubby and I are starting a new regiment in our old age.  We are watching what we eat, how much we eat, when we eat and along with that, we are exercising.   We had been faithfully walking until the rains hit starting a bit last week and continuing into this week.   Knowing we couldn’t afford to just go to Costco and walk around there to get in our steps and exercise, we pulled out our Wii system that had been packed away since before we moved.     Yes, we did move five years ago, but, let’s not get into that.

As we all know, Wii’s are those game systems that help you move.   I did the normal favorites of mine, finding out I am much more unbalanced and slower than the last time I used it.  Plus that Wii board groans when I step on it, which I personally think is very rude of it.    Anyhow, I am going off on a tangent…

One of the games is hitting soccer balls with your head while trying not to get hit by random objects, mostly shoes or stuffed animals.  I haven’t broken ten hits of the balls.  I have, however been hit many times by shoes and stuffed animals.  Each time you are hit with a shoe, the system makes a sound like a splat! The first time I played I was laughing so hard that there really was no way for me to hit the balls.   I played a few more times just to keep laughing at myself.

Last night as I lay in bed I thought of that game and being hit by the shoes.  That is when the memory of the juggling balls came to mind.   The shoes were virtual, they really didn’t hit you or hurt you, but I still remember the feeling of the juggling balls that dropped on my toes.  They fell with a thud and I felt each one on my feet.

As a child, I hurt each time I was hit by a flying ball.  It must have hurt if I can still remember the feeling.  That thought brought this thought to mind, as we get older, the things that are thrown at us can either continue to hurt or we can stand our ground and not have it affect us.

Juggling is not only about tossing balls into the air with a flourish, it is about concentration, ability, agility and confidence.  I confess I possess little of what I just wrote.   But, I do have the Lord on my side, who gives me all the concentration, ability, agility and confidence I need especially when life starts throwing not only balls, but random objects at me.  I may not hit all the balls with grace, but I am learning how to dodge those random objects thrown my way.  I may end up a bit bruised in the process, but, I am still standing and that my friends is victory.

Isaiah 43: 2 says: When you go through deep waters, I will be with you. When you go through rivers of difficulty, you will not drown. When you walk through the fire of oppression, you will not be burned up; the flames will not consume you.NLT

With having this assurance, I can stand, not only on that Wii board, but, in my daily routine and know that flying objects that appear out of nowhere trying to distract and discourage me won’t  overthrow me.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate your visit.  Cathi (DAF)

 

Little Girls…

Little girls come into your life and they nuzzle up and reach in and steal your heart.  They do this easily and quickly.

I always wanted to have five boys.  That was my dream when I was young.  I wanted enough boys to have a pick up basketball team.  I always thought I would have a household full of boys.  They would grow up and look down on me and be in my home to eat all my food and make me laugh.  Yes, if you would have asked me in my early twenties, that is what I would have told you.

Then, near my mid twenties, our first daughter was born.  Suddenly, little girls were my world.  Lots of pink and ruffles and sweet little smiles.   A few years later her sister was born.  Again, lots of ruffles, but, lavender this time.

My girls carry my heart with them wherever they go.  I have gotten used to not having all my heart with me.   My girls, as they often do, grew up into beautiful women whom I am proud to know.  I am even more proud to be their Mom.

My youngest married first and she gifted me with a grandson, my Little Man.  He is a joy in himself, full of laughter and jokes and sly smiles.  He is a soccer man, and is improving all the time.  He loves his rock and roll music, and will talk about music all the time if you can keep up with him.  He makes my heart smile.

A couple of years after Little Man, our Little Miss came to us.   This little girl, this little gift.  She came a bit early and was really small.  Her size did not deter her personality though, as it was full grown and ready to be presented to the world.

Granddaughters are so much different than daughters.  They melt your heart even sooner than my daughters did.  I saw my husband melt within the first few hours after her birth.  It was different than with Little Man.  With Little Man, he was proud.  I could see his chest popping out in pride.  This was his Grandson.   In a moment he was in the future with him, working on cars and going fishing and doing all the guy stuff he had experienced when he was young.

When Little Miss was born, this man of mine became jello.  He held her and melted.  I watched him do it.  He looked at her and his heart was now in her little fingers.  It has remained so to this day.

Tomorrow, Little Miss turns five.  She is our Halloween pumpkin.  She is giggles and long stories.   She is a ballerina on her toes, leaping and in the next minute she is chasing her dogs and trying to hug them.   She is wanting to wear frilly dresses but not let her long locks be touched by a hairbrush.  She is a range of emotions like the range of the Appalachian mountains, it just goes on and on.

She is our precious little one.  The one who has her Mom take pictures of her in her church outfit so I can see how she looks.  She poses with one foot out, like a ballet position.  She is a true little girl, the sugar and spice, but also a measure of snips and snails and puppy dog tails…

Happy Birthday my Little Miss.  May your joy be complete and may this year be one filled with adventures and excitement.  You are loved.   Grammy.

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Thanks for stopping by today,  Cathi (DAF)

Confessions and Memories…

I discovered today that there is actually a National Day of the Deployed.  Never heard of such a thing, and yet, when I looked, there is actually a day for those who are currently deployed, or have been deployed as a day to honor their sacrifice and commitment.  So, to make it official, I thanked my hubby and son-in-law for their service, and then I got off of Facebook and started to do my ironing.

As I was ironing, I figured I would write and wax poetic on how wonderful these two men are in serving in the Navy.   I would try to make it sound great and noble and I could feel good about writing that.

Then, as I was in the middle of ironing hubby’s shirts, reality hit me.  I like ironing.  In fact, I like doing most housework.  As my daughters used to tease me, I am a 50’s housewife.  Not like Donna Reed, with heels, dresses, aprons and perfectly coiffed hair, no, I am more of the likes of Roseanne.   I prefer tennis shoes, jeans (the old ratty ones), stained tee shirts (sometimes with holes in them), my hair is all over the place and please, make-up?  No, not around the house…

I truly became a 50’s housewife while my hubby was deployed.  When you spend months at a time on your own, raising a family, you have got to start to fill your time somehow.  I started cleaning.  Scrubbing down walls in frustration and anxiety when I didn’t hear from him for weeks.  Back then we did not have e-mail or video chats, we had snail mail and yes, sometimes a snail was faster than mail arriving at my home.

I could watch the news and worry.  I could read the newspaper and wonder.  Or, as I often did, I would pull out the bucket, and scrub walls.  It was therapeutic, it was exercise, but most of all, it was a stress reliever.   Windows would come next.   Washing windows, like cleaning toilets or ironing is a perfect exercise in instant gratification.  You immediately see results.   It’s rewarding.

After months of deployment, this all became a habit for me.  I guess I owe my habits to the deployment rotation of my husband.

Weekdays were okay, I could clean, I could do laundry, I could keep busy.   Weekends are a killer for those whose spouses are deployed. Weekends are the fun times for families.  Those are the days of togetherness.  For us, my daughters and I, it was just another day.

Sundays were the worst for me.  We would go to church, and afterwards hear everyone making plans for lunch.  I would load the girls back into the car and fight the lone-lies, you know that feeling sorry for yourself and wanting to wallow in it.    Each Sunday, as I drove down the freeway,  my pity party would begin.   That was the season that began going to the malls in the areas to look around.  We would have lunch, mostly at home, and head out to a mall.  Sees candy shops were my salvation.  These stores, then, had sugar sticks, all different flavors.  They sold them 3 for a quarter.   So, for less than a dollar,  we could go window shopping and the girls could pick out their favorite candy sticks and have a bag to prove they had been shopping.  Plus, with the free sample they gave to everyone who came into the store, we could each have our chocolate fix for the day.   I loved it when they passed out my favorite, a Mayfair, with milk chocolate, a white creamy center with cherries and walnuts.

Days do pass, and eventually deployments end.  The spouse arrives home to much fanfare and pomp and you head home.   A family reconnected and yet, there is a time of adjustment.  For us, hubby’s voice was deep and louder than ours.  It took a day or two to recognize and remember the comfort of his voice.  Schedules that I had in place were disrupted.  Meal times changed with his schedule.  None of this earth-shattering, but different.

Videos of returning troops make me cry.   They are honest and true.  I have been on the waiting end.  I remember being swooped up in hugs and kisses and tears.  These are the initial moments and they are wonderful.  They will live in your heart forever.  No one sees what it’s like after the camera is turned off.  Those awkward times of loud voices and laughter that is different from the quiet giggles that had reigned for months.   The presence of a spouse that completes a family, but also adds a difference to a routine.

These are the times though, that made me a 50’s housewife.  The times that I had to look afresh at this man I had married.  This man who was absent for birthdays and anniversaries and Christmases and school programs.  This man I love.   This was when my resolve cemented.  Yes, I would gladly iron his shirts and do his laundry.  Yes, I would put out towels for his shower and at times I would lay out what I knew he would wear.  I would gladly prepare his meals and make certain it looks beautiful.  He deserves it.  He deserves it all, because for years this man ate in a mess hall.  Having food put on a plate and handed to him, overcooked and unappealing.   For years this man lived out of a seabag.

Today, while ironing, this is what I realized, I have gladly become a 50’s housewife, fetching, cleaning and cooking.   I do it because I have been blessed to have the memories, sometimes haunting memories, of what a deployment means.  The insecurity of not knowing where he is and what he is doing.  The fear that can come with wondering.  The disappointment of going to the mailbox to find it only filled with bills, and no letters.   All of these memories make the time, even in retirement when there are no deployments, worth it all.   So, thank you to all who are currently deployed, soon to be deployed or have been deployed.   You are heroes all.   But, to all who wait, be brave, take courage and find new adventures for you and your family.  They don’t have to be grand to be memorable.

Thanks for stopping by today, I appreciate you.  Cathi (DAF)

 

It became second nature…

We have spent increased time at the Veteran’s Hospital this past month.   Appointments and classes and tests have given us the chance to drive up to the mountains and spend some of our days at this facility.

Yesterday, we were there for an appointment for my hubby.  Some friends of ours went along with us, keeping us company.   It was wonderful to have them with us and she commented a couple of times, how honored she was to be there, seeing the men and women who have served this great country of ours.

I readily agreed, and once more, as I usually do, started looking at the men and women heading into their appointments.  There were a couple who looked like they had served in WWII, a few more that looked like they had served in Korea, and a lot of our precious Viet Nam vets.   Some of them were young and had on Wounded Warrior shirts and you could tell they were our newest veterans.

This time, though, I looked at the women who were pushing wheelchairs, helping men with walking, and those sitting beside their men waiting with them. These women.  These spouses who have served along side these heroes.  These women who kept the home fires burning.  These faithful few.

I am one of them.  Last night before falling asleep, I thought of these women.  I thought of my story.  Adapting to military life did not come naturally.  It was not second nature to me at first.   We were married on a Saturday, on Monday we were in the office at my husband’s command getting my military I.D. card.  At the time, there were stacks of papers to sign.  I had only had my married name for two days.  I had to sign my married name on each of those papers.  I concentrated.  I was purposeful.  I kept repeating to myself my new name.  I had to, because hubby and the man behind the desk kept teasing me to not write my maiden name.  I managed to sign several copies before they won.  They laughed hysterically when I goofed up.  I was not happy.

The next day, I went to get groceries.  On the base.   Alone.  As I had dropped hubby off for work that morning, he sternly admonished me to not speed on base.  I did my best, although, I couldn’t keep the car at 25 mph. .   I did not get pulled over.

I went to pick up groceries.  I had my list.  But, this naive little girl from a small Northwestern Pennsylvania town never expected to see Filipinos.   I had never seen anyone from another country.  I had never heard Tagalog.   I confess, I stared , a lot!   Picking up hubby that day, I excitedly told him about the Chinese people in the commissary.  He looked at me.  Actually he stared at me.  He told me, it was not possible for someone from China to be able to shop on base.  I stood my ground.  I was adamant.

He took me back to the store just to see what I was talking about.  There, by the frozen foods, a group of people were standing by their carts, talking.  I pointed.  Yes, I did, pointer finger out, and aiming directly at them.  I was determined to prove how right I was.    At this point, hubby leaned over and told me to stop pointing.  I obeyed.  He started to laugh.  I really didn’t appreciate it.  He explained to me that these “Chinese” people were from the Philippine Islands and they were, in fact, serving in the U.S. Navy.

At that point, I knew I would never adapt.  I would never understand, and I would never survive the Navy life.  I held back tears on the way home.  This life was all too much for a small town girl.

Yes, the first few months of being married to a military guy was hard.  It was confusing.  It was different.  Nevertheless, I persevered.  Actually, I flourished.  It became second nature to me.  I learned the ebb and flow of how things worked.  I learned how to cook Filipino food.  I was stretched and pulled.  Many times, I resisted, to no avail. The bases we were stationed at became familiar to me.  Familiar like your hometown is.  It was comforting for me to see men and women in uniform.  To see salutes being passed.  It is comforting still for me to see our uniformed military.

So, yesterday as we sat waiting for hubby to finish, I looked at these women.  They are my people.  They understand.  They have been through similar situations as I have.  They have looked at the cupboard on the 14th of the month, wondering how to stretch that last bit of food until tomorrow, when it is payday.  We have rushed to the mailbox hoping for a letter, or even a note to just have a connection with a spouse who is deployed.  We have sat alone on the floor in the dark, praying for our spouse’s safety.  We have run our homes and done our duty.  We have been creative in raising our children, making certain Daddy is always mentioned and pictures of him shown, so they have some connection to a parent miles away.   We waited.  At piers, at airfields, at airports, at staging grounds. We stood, sometimes for hours, until we could run and throw arms around our man.

And still, we wait.  We wait as they slowly walk with canes or walkers.  We wait as they visit and keep their appointments.  Many of us are relics of the Cold War.   We are the old folks the new veterans look at.

However, if you look closely, you will see a different story than the apparent one that is first visible.   You can see a twinkle in the eye of the man in the wheelchair.  A bit of playfulness, like he truly does want to pop a wheelie and race down the hall to his appointment.  You can see in a walk that this man was once a force to be reckoned with, that yes and sir were directed his way daily.  The women who helps her husband up out of the chair used to pull him up to hit the dance floor at the NCO club.  Life is still there, it is just hidden a bit.

It is all just second nature now.  It is my life.  We may have retired years ago, but, that Navy wife is just dormant.

Thanks for stopping by today.   I appreciate you.  Cathi (DAF)