Distance is not for the fearful, it is for the bold. It's for those who are willing to spend a lot of time alone in exchange for a little time with the one they love. It's for those who know a good thing when they see it, even if they don't see it nearly enough.

Gay Parents

I watched a YouTube video on Facebook recently that touched me deeply.  It’s a social experiment (much like the ones I conducted and studied for my degree) where a gay couple with children (all actors) is at a restaurant.  The waitress (an actress) is rude, saying derogatory remarks about their lifestyle choice.  The idea is to see whether people in an especially “red” part of the country (small-town Texas) would stand up for these people.  24 out of 50 did (50%).  That’s half of the patrons.  In an ironic twist, New York, a “blue” part of the country, had only 12 out of 100 (12%) stand up for them.

Someone once told  me (and the waitress said it in the video) that having gay parents would hurt a child’s development.  How does having two loving parents EVER hurt a child’s development?  Maybe I take special offense to this because the same argument could be made about Ryan’s and my lifestyle choice.  I know, without a doubt, that my kids will grow up with a single parent for at least part of their lives.  It’s inevitable.  That does not mean they won’t grow up to be functioning, caring, respectful adults.  Two women or two men can raise a wonderful human being just as well as the rest of us.  In fact, I would be willing to place bets that many of them would be more ready to be a parent than many of the parents that DO have kids (teenagers, drug addicts, alcoholics, etc.).  And yet, for some reason, a 16 year old mom is more accepted than a gay couple, even though the gay couple likely has more education, better jobs, and is more mature and ready for the responsibility.

It saddens me immensely that we have to have a campaign like “It Gets Better” because there are so many teens and young adults who are trying to figure out who they are, who they like, and being told they’re wrong, nasty, sinful.  Last time I checked, Christianity was about acceptance and forgiveness.  Last time I checked, it was God who gets to make the call about who is right and who is wrong, not us.  So why are there so many of us who think we know what people should and should not be doing with their lives?

Now, the reason this touched me was not because it was conducted in the place that I will always be proud to call home, but because it showed that humanity is humanity and that people still care about others.  It makes me so happy that people will stand up for total strangers.  I pray that I have the same strength and courage that all of the people in the video did.  Whether you agree with the lifestyle choice or not, they have the right to make that choice and should be allowed to live the way they would like to live.  That’s the beauty of America, and what my husband and friends are fighting for.

Decoration Day

Decoration Day is the old name for Memorial Day.  Bet you didn’t know that.  It was originally created to thank those who died in the Civil War, but after World War I, it was changed to celebrating the lives and sacrifices of any American who died fighting in any war.  The American flag is flown at half-staff for the first half of the day, recognizing the sacrifices of over one million of our brothers and sisters.  At noon their memory is raised by the living, who resolve not to let their sacrifice be in vain, but to rise up in their stead and continue the fight for liberty and justice for all. Moina Michael wrote a poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Because of this, poppies are worn on Memorial Day in honor of our fallen heroes.  She was the first to wear one, and then sold them to friends, family, and strangers to raise money for servicemen.

My challenge for all of you: take at least part of the day off you’re given and give it to one of the people who are the reason we get the day off.  Volunteer at your local USO, VFW, VA hospital, or other veteran- or military-related organization.  Have your kids make a card to send overseas or to someone laying in a VA hospital, far from their friends and family.  If you can’t make time for that, make time to say thank you to someone who is currently serving or to the families of those who won’t be coming home.

This weekend is supposed to be for remembering those who gave their lives for our freedom, those who protected our right to live the way we live, those who gave their all for you and me.  It’s not about bar-b-ques, it’s not about the lake, it’s not about getting as drunk as you can.  It’s about them.  So spend your weekend partying, but on Monday, take the time to do something for those who lost their lives so that you may live the way you wish, without fear of repercussion  or prosecution.

New Hobby Hopefully!

I really want to start gardening.  I have basil, mint, lemon thyme, and parsley growing in my kitchen window and it’s HUGE.  I’m super excited since I use all of those in basically everything I cook.  I planted my strawberries in my strawberry pot a week ago and I can’t wait to have strawberries!  Now I just have to defend them from the puppies who think the leaves are tasty.  I can’t imagine what they’ll do when they have fruit on them!

I really want a real garden, though.  I had seedlings planted of spinach, sweet peppers, cherry and yellow tomatoes, sugar snap peas, watermelon, etc.  There’s a deck that Buddy promised he would turn into a garden for me (it’s not where a deck should be and completely useless so we figured since there’s no grass underneath, it would be a good place to start!).  Of course, the Air Force sent him out every weekend for the last two months and now he’s gone for a month, so it doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.  I thought about doing it myself, but it requires using a saw which I’ve never done before and feel that it would be a bad idea for me to attempt to learn when there’s no one in my house should I cut off my arm or something.

Now I’ve been researching other ways to garden that might be more productive and maybe higher than my dogs’ mouths.  One of my friends has been posting some cool sites with ideas.  I really like the one with the shoe hanger thing, except that I need to find somewhere to hang it that it wouldn’t be in the way.

The whole back of our house is basically windows which I REALLY don’t want to block since there’s already so little sunlight up here.   Maybe I’ll attempt it this week and see how it goes!

“People like that”

Someone I was talking to referred to the mom of my kiddos as “people like that.”  As in “Well, normally you meet people like that in a public place.  You just never know how dangerous they are.”  I instantly got defensive.   Yes, she has made mistakes, but most of those mistakes were picking a bad guy and she’s been clean for months.  She does not have a single violent act on her record.  Is that enough to convince me she should have her kids permanently?  Of course not.  But no one should be referred to as though they don’t deserve to be talked about directly.

She is a person, too.  A person who loves her girls more than anything and has been working really hard to get them back.  The fact that she has started to clean up her life enough that she has two of the three back (not necessarily forever, but living with her for now) should be admired.  She is turning her life around and learning from her mistakes.  She’s had a rough life.  Does that excuse what she’s done in the past?  No.  But it also does not make her sub-human.  She is not “people.”  She is a mom, scared and alone, who just wants her world back in her home.

Two of my best friends from high school were married a year ago today.  They’ve been together since either the end of our freshman year of high school, or the beginning of sophomore year, depending on which one you ask.  He asked her out at the end of freshman year, but since he went to California for the whole summer every year, she said no until the end of the summer.  Either way, it’s been approximately 7 years since then.  I told them sophomore year that they’d be getting married.  Neither believed me, but I know we’re all glad I was right.  I can’t imagine anyone more perfect for someone else than they are for one another.  They are so good together.  It’s given me something to look up to and wait for since we were kids.  Their love is so pure and sweet and simple. I miss seeing their example daily, but am thankful to have it, nonetheless.

Buddy’s and mine is far from simple, thanks to the military, but it’s going to last just as long as their’s because we all have the same mentality when it comes to marriage: there is no out; forever is forever.  We all believe that no matter what God throws at us, we’ll make it through it and be stronger for it.  The divorce rate in America makes me really, really sad.  Obviously there are reasons to divorce (abuse, for example), but I think that the majority of divorces happen because people aren’t willing to put the work in.  A relationship is work.  At least, it is if it’s a good one.  It would be SO much easier for Buddy and I to say “Y’know, you’d have a much easier time if we weren’t married and we weren’t putting up with being separated 290 days a year.”  But that’s not what we want, and that’s not what we promised.  Our vows were not “Till death do us part… or we get tired of working at it.”

The unfortunate thing is, a lot of America thinks like that.  And a lot of younger Americans just aren’t getting married because they think it’s easier that way.  That’s not the way it should be.  I’m appalled at much of my generation.  What happened to values? hard work? family?  Maybe it’s because I was raised in a very Southern family (it’s a miracle no one in my family has died of a heart attack yet) and values were instilled in us like crazy.  We went to church every Sunday, taught Sunday school, had chores, got spankings, and spent evenings eating supper at the table, not in front of the TV.  There was a study recently that said that a child was more likely to be successful if they had at least three other adults in their life besides their parents that acted as trusted adults.  I was incredibly blessed to have several pairs of extra parents who helped me when my sister had an asthma attack and my parents were out of town, carted us around to soccer and band, gave me advice on school and boys, and just showed genuine interest in me and my well-being.

I’m not saying you need to be Christian or that families who don’t have dinner together every night are automatically bad families.  I do think, though, that there’s something to be said for parents and the community investing time in showing their kids the way they should live and in making sure that they are doing what they need to do to be successful in life, as well as hopefully be examples for what a healthy, functioning marriage or relationship looks like.   I was lucky to have so many of those in my life, including a couple who are my age, and I pray that Buddy and I can have the same impact on another child’s life that so many of my surrogate parents did.

Well, Buddy is on his way to Altus.  I still think it’s silly that C-17s are the only airframe that doesn’t do the upgrade process in-house.  Maybe that’s because my husband is going during the ONLY time of year up here that we can actually enjoy living here!  Oh well.  I wouldn’t care so much except that our poor dog is refusing to get off of Buddy’s side of the bed.  He knows Dad is gone and is totally depressed about it.  Won’t eat, won’t play, nothing.  It breaks my heart!

The best way I’ve found to deal with the whole husband-being-gone thing is to a) keep busy (yeah, every military wife will tell you that one) and b) find something to look forward to, something to count down to that ISN’T your husband coming home.  Obviously you’re going to be excited about him being back (or, at least, I would hope so… if not, then you’re probably not upset and don’t need to keep busy in the first place).  If you can find something non-husband-related, or at least minimally husband-related, you’ll find a reason to get up in the morning that is not contingent upon the military, and that’s important.  That way, no matter what the military or Murphy are doing to you at the time, you have something that isn’t affected by either one.  For example, I have my job.  I’m looking forward to getting my kiddos back to their mom.  I also have my trip to Texas.  I’m flying down on June 21st, regardless of whether Buddy has graduated from AC school or not.  I get to see my sisters, my parents, my best friends.  It’ll be amazing!

A quick note about the keeping busy advice… Yes, it’s important to stay busy and keep your mind occupied.  However, don’t over-do it!  Make sure you’re taking time to be sad, time to yourself, and time to relax.  Going, going, going for months on end is just going to exhaust you and make it harder to deal with everything that’s going to be thrown at you during a TDY/deployment/whatever.  Find a balance.  It’s okay to let yourself be sad or lonely.  It’s healthy to miss your other half.

That was probably the hardest thing for me to learn.  I thought I had to be totally strong and act like everything was totally normal.  Everything is NOT totally normal when your husband is gone.  It didn’t help that my mom acts like she understands and is anything but sympathetic when I say I’m dreading months away from Buddy.  If this is the case in your life, just don’t talk about it with that person.  Talk about it with people who will help you handle it and make you feel better and more normal, not less.

More Like a Speedbump

We went to the oral surgeon yesterday and he basically looked at Buddy and went “Yeah, I see more issues with taking it out now than with not taking it out now.  Your dentist is an idiot.”  He wrote up the note saying that he’s good to go and we took it over to the dentist.  The dentist then said that she still won’t take him off of the class three (“Duties Not to Include Flying”) because it’s “her butt if something happens.”  She didn’t even know where Altus is, much less that it’s the C-17 schoolhouse.  Last time I checked, it was her JOB to know what the pilots are doing where (at least approximately) so that she knows whether they’ll be able to handle it with whatever mouth issue they might have.  She left it up to the flight doc (so that it’s his butt).  He said the same thing as the oral surgeon, signed Buddy off, and we’re good to go!  We have his oral surgery set for July 5 so the way it stands now…

Friday, Buddy leaves for Altus for a month.

June 21, I fly down to Austin, Buddy graduates and drives down to Austin.

June 27, we start heading towards home.

June 29, I get the 21st birthday Buddy owes me (more on that in another post).

June 31, we get back home.

July 1, Buddy’s two best friends from high school come to visit for the weekend!

July 5, Buddy gets his tooth extracted and bone grafted.

Yay!  I’m just glad everything looks like it’s working out.  Still holding my breath since his class could easily get delayed a few days, throwing EVERYTHING off all over again, but we’ll see!  I’m a very happy camper right now.

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