Monday, December 31, 2007
But tonight is the night I live for. The chance for us to have a fresh start, remembering the lessons that we have learned as the old year unfolded before our eyes.
This year is difficult. It is hard to say if it is more difficult than it has been on previous New Years. I have no idea how 2008 will unfold. I do not know if you will be permitted to reenlist. I do not know if and when the day will come when we will have to say goodbye temporarily as you place yourself in harm's way. I cannot say with certainty that you will be here on the earth next year. But I can hope, and I can certainly pray.
I do not remember the exact point in time that your eyes began to crinkle when you smile. I wish I did. That I had memeorized every single moment in this life we have been blessed with together. I just know that as each year passes, we grow and change just a little.Sometimes, when time changes people, they find they are no longer compatible with each other. They look at each other and say "You have become someone I do not know." I will never say that to you. I can honestly say that I love you now as the time weathers you, even more than I did on the day we married.
I hope that 2008 will keep you safe. That wherever you may be throughout the year, whether it be home with me, or on sands of Iraq, that you know just how loved you are. That no matter what changes continue to come our way, this will never change. I will be here, by your side, even if it is miles away, full of blind faith in the man I have decided to spend my life with. While you have the power to disappoint me like no other, know that this is simply because I hold you with such high regard. That whether you are working in a factory somewhere or whether you are off defending all we Americans hold dear, you always have and always will be my hero. That you complete me in a way I will never be able to complete on my own.
I love you, John. Maybe, just maybe, this year will bring more smiles than hardship. That is all we can hope for, after all.
Sunday, December 30, 2007
I can think of only one person who may read this who actually remembers my mother. All of the others have no idea what they are missing out on. And I don't know how many realize that I am a New Year's Baby,but I am. So on New Year's Eve, each and every year, I miss Mom. Every year, I would get birthday gifts held over from Christmas, and they would come wrapped in Christmas paper. Not a big deal as an adult, but as a kid, this took my big day and lumped it with Christmas, as if my birthday, aside from being a national holiday, were not special at all. I could never have a birthday party, as all of my little friends were at sitters' houses while their parents got drunk. And on New Year's Day, which is actually my birthday, everyone was hung over. But there was one who never forgot. Who would wrap my gifts in the brightest birthday paper she could find, complete with big pink bows. And my sisters never knew, but I got two cakes each year. At the strike of midnight, as we were sitting in pajamas watching Dick Clark, as everyone on Times Square was kissing and singing Auld Lang Syne, Mom would be belting out "Happy Birthday" as the flames on the candles flickered. And we would eat the cake and ice cream while I opened the heap of gifts from my parents. The next day, I would sleep in from my late night, and wake up to a get-together with all of my grown-up siblings, complete with the second cake.
I haven't celebrated my birthday in God-Knows-when. It is just another day, which happens to fall on a holiday that everyone celebrates. This doesn't bother me in the slightest bit, because the biggest, most lavish fete could not hold a candle to the late-night private parties between mother and daughter, as we celebrated the time she brought me into the world. As a mother, I see the appropriateness of that. It truly was our moment.
So this year, like always, I will stay home and watch Dick Clark in my pajamas. As they count down, I will start to get misty-eyed. I will remember all of the events of the past year like a kaleidoscope of images, some of them completely life-altering, and I will secretly make a little birthday wish that all will be better for us in the next year. And as the Ball touches down, and John says "Happy Birthday" instead of the normal "Happy New Year", the tears will be flowing and I will be thinking of the woman who brought me into this world, and the vast and unfillable void she left in my life the day she died.
Saturday, December 29, 2007
I guess I always assumed that the gun issue was a joke. It was not. Here we all are on Christmas Day. The Kid has a heap of presents in front of him that renders him unable to see over them. He is feverishly tearing the wrapping paper from the packages. Then he gets to this long, slender box. He just barely tears a teensy corner of the paper before we hear "Wait! Wait! Stop!" It would have seemed that this gift required a soothing introduction. Oh No!
"Now Andrea, Evan is getting older." Uh-Huh. "It is time for him to have some big-boy toys." Ummmm, okay, sure. "Anything , really, can be dangerous if not used properly." Oh crap. "The trick is to be careful about how you handle it, and to train him to be safe." As in looking both ways before crossing the street???
The sound of wrapping paper tearing follows, then the sound of little Evan doing the quick intake of breath in excitement. Oh. Oh Shit. It is a BB GUN. I ask them if this is a toy, to which they reply that it is not. I give John the Look, but it is obvious that he is more eager to get outside with it than The Kid is. I am outnumbered. I reluctantly agree.
I could not help but think of A Christmas Story, where Ralphie wants a Red Ryder BB gun for Christmas, and everyone tells him the same line. Only I do not picture Evan's glasses flying off and getting stepped on (is this because Evan does not wear glasses?), but instead picture, oh I don't know...maybe his spleen full of BB's as we rush him to the hospital. I am not thrilled with the present. No, I just plain do not like it at all. I am worried about my baby. But I am worried that I am more worried about the fact that my baby really is old enough for this, and that somehow I missed it. The men in the house were talking about it. They looked at John's dad and asked him what kind he got. It was like a milestone or Rite of Passage they had all gone through at one point. I just wanted to scream, as I do now, that they are mistaken. Just a few months ago, he was colicky and I was pacing the floor with him in my arms throughout the night. He got his first tooth and said his first word. I cried along with him when he got his immunizations. Just yesterday he took his first step. This is not possible. All of his toys are supposed to come complete with a Fisher Price logo. The little boy that walks up to me with outstretched arms saying "Mommy, dance with me" in the middle of the kitchen after school is simply not old enough to play with BB guns. But I bet when John's mom looks at him, she doesn't think her baby is old enough to play with M-16's. I guess they never truly grow up in our eyes.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
- December 17th: Work/ Pack
- December 18th: Pack
- December 19th: Pack/ On-Call 7pm-7am
- December 20th: Move/ On-Call 7pm-7am
- December 21st: Work 7pm-7am
- December 22nd: Work 7pm-7am
- December 23rd: Work 7pm-7am
- December 24th: Work 3pm-11pm, Our Wedding Anniversary
- December 25th: Travel to Kentucky, Christmas with In-laws
- December 26th: Return trip from Kentucky, On-Call 7pm-7am
- December 27th: Off, Nothing planned
- December 28th: Work 7pm-7am
- December 29th: Work 7 pm-7 am
- December 30th: Work 7 pm-7am
- December 31st: New Year's Eve
- January 1st: New Year's Day/ My Birthday
No, No he was not singing the National Anthem. He was playing in the backyard, and I tried to quickly snap a picture. When I wanted a little boy, this is what I wanted. Rough and Tumble. Little jerseys and Nikes. Football. This is my baby.
Saturday, December 15, 2007
Sunday, December 9, 2007
I have been off of work for nearly two weeks, barring the 3 hours I was required to go in to the hospital to recertify my basic life support. I have worked the past two nights. Nothing extreme--just my run-of-the-mill twelve hour shifts. But for some reason my poor feet are screaming. I am exhausted and stressed. I had a patient that was circling the drain all night last night. I came home this morning and went straight to bed as-is. Translation: I took off my coat at the door, kicked off my cute pink Crocs, and landed in the bed. I was still wearing my scrubs, my badge, and even still had my stethoscope around my neck, until I turned over in the bed and felt it tugging on me. I slept for the normal few hours, then woke up and transferred to the sofa. The house is a wreck and the Kid is running rampant, telling me he is hungry. The lunch provided by his father, while more than adequate, was not what he had in mind.
So here I am, wanting nothing more than an hour of peace. I want this hour so badly that I would willingly exchange my arsenal of expensive designer handbags for said hour. Instead, the kid is dancing around me in circles, chanting that he is hungry and he wants something "with sprinkles on it". I stagger to the kitchen and think for a moment, then brandish a Little Debbie cake. It is sweet and chocolate, and has the requisite sprinkles. This does not apease the Kid. He goes on to inform me that he wants the sprinkles that are in the cabinet. He is referring to the supplies I bought to make a chocolate cake while at the grocery store a few days ago. He wants me to bake a #$%^&* cake. He wants me to do this NOW.
The man has forbidden the baking of something with sprinkles on it, telling the Kid that Mommy is tired, that she has spent at least the past 48 hours taking care of cranky sick people, that she needs to relax and therefore is not going to bake a cake for him.
I tried to reason with the Kid, telling him that I will bake the cake while he is at school tomorrow afternoon, after I have recovered from another twelve hours. This is not acceptable to the Kid. He wants the cake now, and I am in Hell because I will not give in.
Why am I writing this? This is the standard struggle of the working mother. My poor child is deprived of a cake becasue I have a career. Nevermind that, without said career, there would be no money to purchase the ingredients for the now-infamous cake. This makes me wonder how other mothers do it. I think it is because for three days a week, I am out of comission for my family. During those three days, it does not matter if laundry is piled to the ceiling. I cannot do anything about it. The trade-off is that they have me for the other 4.5 days of the week. Undivided attention. Most mothers work a set shift 5 days a week, get to spend a few hours with their children daily, then have the weekend to do whatever they want. Instead, my family gets most of me. So why in the world could the Kid not want something with sprinkles between Monday and Friday???
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I am nervous still. I do not know if I will be able to adapt to the life of a military spouse. I hope that I am strong enough. I just know that I am so proud of this man of mine. He looks great. He is more confident. He has reverted back to the John I married many years ago. For this, all I can say is God Bless the United States Marine Corps!
Thursday, November 29, 2007
I did as was planned. I went to the pool, and I swam. Let me tell you, it was sad! I cannot swim nearly what I used to be capable of swimming. I won't go into details in order to avoid public humiliation. But I will say that my endurance doubled the very next day. Maybe it will triple today, but who knows? Why must we get fat and old? Not fair!
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Sunday, November 18, 2007
Saturday, November 17, 2007
My Buckeyes. Big Ten Champs again. Fourth straight victory in the saga that is Ohio State vs. Michigan.
But this year, I am sad. We were robbed of the championship when we lost last week, and it sucks. I still don't understand why we are being denied a chance at the title. Look at all of the other teams that have fallen. Why is LSU number one? Why is their one loss any less significant than ours? Because they are in the SEC? Who cares? That is just geography.
But regardless, I am a Buckeye. And there are now 365 days until we will see you again, Michigan! As for the rest? Meet ya in Pasadena!
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Now for a cheer they are here, triumphant!
Here they come with banners flying,
In stalwart step they're nighing,
With shouts of vict'ry crying,
We hurrah, hurrah, we greet you now,
Hail! Far we their praises sing
For the glory and fame they've brought us
Loud let the bells them ring
For here they come with banners flying
Far we their praises tell
For the glory and fame they've brought us
Loud let the bells them ring
For here they come with banners flying
Here they come, Hurrah!
Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan The leaders and best!
Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan, The champions of the West!
We cheer them again
We cheer and cheer again
For Michigan, we cheer for Michigan
We cheer with might and main
We cheer, cheer, cheer
With might and main we cheer!
Hail! to the victors valiant
Hail! to the conqu'ring heroes
Hail! Hail! to Michigan, The champions of the West!
Okay. If OSU loses on Saturday, I have to dress up as a Michigan fan and sing this song on video as a payoff to a bet I made. Do you know about this rivalry? That it has been around for a century? I am from OHIO. I am a BUCKEYE. Read these words. I cannot bring myself to sing these lyrics. I will cry and be disowned by my people!
Picture this...You have a very stressful career where very ill people rely on you. You have a child who you swear is a male version of Veruca Salt of "Willy Wonka" fame. You have a husband you have to keep motivated on a daily basis, and just about every responsibility in the home rests on your shoulders. Do you have the mental image? Good!
Now picture this...Keeping in mind the above-mentioned lifestyle, you find yourself home alone. The male Veruca is safely in the hands of a competent child care service. The man has been successfully motivated for the day and has left for the gym. The largest of the day's tasks have been completed and checked off of the to-do list. So here is my question: What would you do???
I have candles lit, and thus the house smells like a freaking apple orchard. Other than the hum of laundry equipment, the house is silent. I have just started reading a great novel which I would love to pick up right now. I need to blog. So where is the problem?
The problem is that house is so messy that a stranger could possibly mistake it for an abandoned crackhouse! There are dishes piled on the counter, and a dishwasher full of clean dishes that are begging to be put in their place. My kid's playroom resembles a city dump. I have been off since Monday morning, so why is it like this? Better yet, my husband's only responsibility in life is to PT twice a day, period. Why hasn't he done this? The first question, I can answer by explaining that laundry has consumed my days and nights for three days. Yes, there was that much of it! about 15 loads! Now I have about 24 hours before my work week starts again (less if you figure that I must sleep at some point) and I am going to have to scramble and slave if I want to have a reasonably habitable home by the weekend. You see, I have taken a much-needed and well-deserved DAY OFF this Saturday for the big game. I refuse to be thinking about dirty dishes or laundry while I watch said game, or my neurotic self will be thinking about those things instead of how badly OSU is beating Michigan.
All of this has caused the gears in my brain to rotate clockwise or counterclockwise. I don't know which, as one should never have to figure how the cogs in my brain operate! And part of me, albeit teensy-tiny, makes me believe that I can lick the role of Military Spouse quite well. The only responsibilty the Man fulfills is of the seasonal variety, for which I can pay a neighborhood kid twenty bucks to perform---lawnwork for the chick who is allergic to grass and trees and anything that is green. As it is right now, I thrive on the moments when the Man and Kid are out of the house and I don't have to vacuum circles around them. It is hard to get the dust and lint off of sofa cushions and fluff said cushions when there is a 180-pound man laying on them. It is very difficult to get laundry finished when said Man returns from the gym, leaving a small heap of sweaty gym clothes and a wet towel on the floor next to an empty hamper. ( If you are a Man or know a Man, I do not have to explain this---it is beyond the capabilities of a Man to actually aim for the hamper!)
I know that it is inevitible that I will revisit this post months from now, when Man is likely to be deployed. And I will weep because he is nowhere to be found. I will miss the heap of sweaty clothes on the floor by the hamper or the imprint of his rearend on the sofa where he always sits. I will lament over my ability to watch a chick flick without a pop-up reminder flashing on the screen for some random Man entertainment like wrestling or Jerry Springer.
But as for me, right now, I am in my own little domestic Hell. So while Man is gone and Kid is gone, I will blare my chick music (of which I am not permitted to listen while Man or Kid is present) and I will clean their home. Then this weekend I will watch as my football team beats Man's football team to a pulp in a home that smells of Pine Sol and carpet freshener!
Monday, November 12, 2007
Thursday, November 8, 2007
Wednesday, October 24, 2007
Found this on another website! Please take the time to write this brave Marine! The sad thing is, he is not the only one who has been struggling. They come from all of the branches, all walks of life. For those of us who sit at home in our cushy little worlds, the least we can do is tell them "Thank You", that we are thinking of them.
On that note: Hey Mark! Thank You, man! In all of the time when I was a teenager and you showed how talented you were at making my face turn ten shades of red, I never realized that I was dealing with a Hero! Charlotte, if you are reading this, send me his addy!
Monday, October 22, 2007
Friday, October 19, 2007
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Finally, a real conversation regarding this decision John is making. It went like this:
"John, you have to promise me that nothing is going to happen to you over there. my life cannot take any more tragedy. I will end up in a mental institution."
"Then maybe I shouldn't go, because you know I cannot make that promise if I go off to war."
"But you don't understand what I am saying to you. You need to do this for YOU, not me or Evan. We are tough and resilient. I don't want you to do it for us, for the same reason I don't want you to NOT do it because of us. This is about you, and whatever you do, I will support 100%. I just need to know what you want so I know. What do you want?"
Just like that. Total absence of doubt. Fire in his eyes. He knows.
Thursday, October 18, 2007
I attempted to blog about this on two separate occasions yesterday, and everytime I did, I stopped myself. John has gotten tired of the way that Navy recruiters have "handled" his reenlistment. So he has gone back to the Corps. It started as a few harmless calls and emails. It has ended up with his reenlistment to a reserve unit that will be deploying to Iraq in March of 2008. He will serve in a reserve unit for 1 year before being transferred to Active Duty, but most of that year he will be activated anyhow, due to the deployment.
I am so scared. I don't know why it makes such a difference that he will be a Marine instead of a Corpsman. I think it stems from the fact that Corpsmen are "non-combatant" whereas Marines are about as combatant as they come. Aside from that, as a Corpsman, it would have taken about a year for his training. Now I have about 5 and a half months now before he goes off to war. We were told that, should he join another unit that is not being deployed for a while longer, they will probably activate him and send him with a different unit, so there is no avoiding it. I have to let him go. My only other option is to throw a complete fit about the entire thing, and try to get him to not reenlist. I wouldn't do that though. After all, he belonged to the Corps long before he belonged to me.
Sunday, October 14, 2007
I was raised in an environment where military service was to be revered. My father served in the Army. Two brothers followed suit. As a matter of fact, one of my favorite childhood photos of myself was taken at my older brother’s boot camp graduation festivities. I am very small, about three years old, and I am sitting on his “rack”, wearing his “cover”. This is the same older brother who used his first paycheck after boot camp to purchase my very first bicycle, and subsequently hauled the purchase home from Fort Knox tied to the roof of a Ford Pinto. At that time in my history, a military career was a remarkable thing, something of which to be proud. A veteran of the United States Armed Forces was a precious thing, in demand of respect.
Fast forward many years later, and I find myself married to a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. While I will not even begin to speculate on the feelings of being a veteran, I can say emphatically, that the entire issue took on a different meaning for me. I am in awe of the uniforms hanging in my bedroom closet. I can run my hands over the fabric of the blood stripes that adorn the trousers and know that he earned those. I see the ribbons pinned on the chest and feel a swell of pride in my heart that this is my husband, my son’s father. To me, this is the fabric of our great nation.
As people make comments about the decision my husband has made to re-enlist, I wonder why that awe is not present in them. I could extrapolate an enormous political conclusion about this. I am trying to refrain from that. And at first, I felt like I had to justify the decision to others. Now, as the next leg of John’s military career looms larger and larger in the future, I have gotten past that point. Instead, I hold my head high, with my chin forward and my shoulders back.
My husband, like all of you or your loved ones, was and still is brave enough to raise his hand and say, without hesitation, that he will fight for his country and her interests. He would willingly lay down his life if need be. For those who feel free to question the presence of sanity in the process of making this decision, his willingness (and yours) translates to the fact that they do not have to. They can sleep in a cozy and comfortable bed at night, with their loved ones a fingertip’s-reach away, safe from the world of which my family is on the brink of entering. The world my husband has already called his own once before. The world in which you live everyday.
I would love to conclude with a poetic and eloquent statement regarding the pride I feel in each of you, as a fellow American. I would love to express my gratitude satisfactorily. For the first time in my life, words fail me. For me, all of you are the United States. And should you ever be in the position we currently are, and others respond to your career choices with “Are you crazy?”, I would love for your response to be, “I may be a little crazy, but because I am, you don’t have to be.”
I am sick, sick, sick and tired, tired, tired, tired of the crap! BCS standings are to be released on Monday, and being that my Buckeyes have yet to fall, the consensus is that they will be ranked number one again this year. Numeral Uno. But what does everyone have to say about this? "They haven't played a real schedule yet!" or "They would never make it in the SEC."
Whatever! When Ohio State lost the Big Game at the end of the 2006 season, I cried a little. No, let me correct myself: I wept. They played like sheer crap, so the loss would have been easier to handle had they brought their A Game. They did not, and thus Florida deserved to win. I did not start spewing garbage about how the matchup was unfair or give excuses for why my boys lost.
Now, in the tumultuous world of college football, with all of the top teams toppling, I am hearing an overabundance of this garbage from others. "They were at their weakest point." Blah, blah, blah. Your team lost, People! Get over it. Ohio State has been the most consistent team out there so far this year. No they have not completed their Big 10 games. I guess that makes them inadequate. How dare them to not have control over the way the season schedule falls! They must be inferior because they have to wait for the conference games.
Just wait! The Big 10 games are coming up. My Buckeyes are primed and ready, pumped by a thus far undefeated season. Ready to go! Get over yourselves and your team's inadequacy. Stop the whining. This is football, for crying out loud. Let the chips fall, then we will talk.
Friday, October 12, 2007
So my kid is in karate, right? We gave him a choice of activities, and this was his choice. We as parents thought "Sure, why not?" It will teach him discipline. So the process started.
The first week of class, a parent had to be present throughout the class. John wanted to go for his run, so I was elected by default. I watched, and it was so cute! Evan did well enough, I guess.
Fast Forward...One Week Later...John wanted to watch, as well. So we are sitting there, and little Evan has his back to us. They were expected to stand at attention in between exercises. We figured Evan could surely manage this. After all, he is the product of a Marine. Well, he couldn't! He fidgeted and giggled and moved, prompting the intervention of his Master many times. John's face was becoming more and more red, and the vein in his temple began to pulsate. He whispered to me, through gritted teeth, "I am so embarrassed!"
Needless, to say, when Evan got home that evening, John made him stand at attention for 15 minutes. Shouldn't be too bad, right? Wrong! Evan fidgeted and squirmed and whined through it, and the clock started over each time he did so. It was not a pleasant night for us. Who would have thought that a Marine's son could not stand at attention? Hahaha.
Friday, October 5, 2007
Tuesday, October 2, 2007
The pic has nothing to do with anything, other than the fact that I am sustained by caffeine and nicotine at the moment. I'm actually freaking out! The start of October has marked the start of the new fiscal year for the Navy, and John has continued to drop weight like mad! So next week, he is supposed to negotiate the nitty gritty with the recruiter and plan a date for MEPS.
As for me, I cannot get this sinking feeling to go away. You know the feeling that something is about to happen that you need to stop, but can't?
Well, this is the frame of mind I am in right now, at this very moment. If I am gonna interfere with John's re-enlistment, now is the time to do it. The problem is that I cannot tell the difference between my fear of the unknown and authentic this-is-not-a-good-choice judgement. Until I can tell the difference, I just feel as if it is my job to not interfere with my man's career choice. Instead, I should just be supporting him. I am afraid my entire world is going to be thrown into a state of complete disarray, which is not a good feeling for a Type-A personality like myself. What about my job? Is someone really going to come forward and help me watch my son for 12 hours a night, Friday though Sunday? Are there sane individuals who will voluntarily surrender their entire weekend in order to watch my son? Furthermore, I don't know how long I have to plan all of this, as we do not have any definite dates, or even a ballpark figure.
Stupid video games are not helping improve my state of mind.
Here lately, my dear JohnJohn has been playing the Medal of Honor series. I watch him and wonder if he is going to be okay. His response when I tell him I am worried is "Oh My GOD, Andrea, a video game is not real life, for crying out loud! I will be fine." After all, despite what he has told his parents, he is most likely going into a combat situation. Does he still have the instinct of when to duck and when to make sure he covers all of his sides? I know I am most likely being stupid, but there is something about people shooting at a character on a game that brings this fear to the surface, and it all unnerves me quite a good deal.
And then there is You Tube....
This is a pretty big problem for me at the moment. I recently compared it to driving past an auto accident and feeling an invisible force pulling your head to look as you pass. I cannot stop myself. So I watch the videos people submit. I have wept over videos of service men and women leaving families to go on deployment, and also of them returning home. The worst was the clip of a Sailor returning home and surprising his six-year-old kid in school, and the little boy's reaction. Hey, my kid is six!
Then there is the actual combat footage of stuff being blown to bits. I watched one the other day that had the "graphic" warning on it. I didn't pay that any mind, as anything that involves the firing of any type of weapon is labeled as such. But this one was REALLY GRAPHIC! I mean gruesome. It wouldn't have bothered me, as in my line of work, I have been involved in may traumas. But as a wife who is preparing to ship off the love of her life, I had a problem with it. The only factor that helped was the fact that it was the bad guys' blood, not our boys'. But still, it made me fear for the emotional well-being of my husband. After all, how can you observe that daily and maintain a grasp on sanity?
Okay. the kid is begging me for breakfast, so I must scoot. Besides, I need a coffee refill.