Almost 2 years ago, I was invited to a farewell for a General’s spouse. I respected them both – and liked them both – so was always happy to be invited to any event they were hosting. But we were in the midst of our own move planning, it had been a tough assignment, and so was unsure about going. In the end, I went, despite feeling old and frumpy. Not because of DH’s rank or another chance to brown-nose, but because she was the kind of officer’s spouse I aspire to be, and I wanted to tell her goodbye. I’ve been to a lot of these, but this one has really stuck with me.
At the opposite end of the table was a young officer’s wife. This was their first assignment after his post-college training, so I figured she was 25-ish. She was shy. She was nervous. I remember being her. The biggest event at that point for me would have been helping hostess a change of command for a Colonel in San Antonio – and feeling totally out-of-place when the airmen that were older than I called me “ma’am.” Anyway, back to the lunch….I remember looking around the table and listening to these women – some I knew well, some I had recently met – discussing moves, Tricare, babies, deployments, deployment gremlins, even injured Airmen we knew. And that’s when it clicked for me…
Every wrinkle, every extra pound, every scar on my body was a story. When this very nice 25-ish woman has lived through 8 moves, 2 remotes, a miscarriage, fertility treatments, car accidents, and 15 minute moral calls then she might not look so polished either. These bags under my eyes are from working extra shifts in order to afford furniture or a computer and from staying up in order to chat across time zones. The lines around my eyes are from all the tears from saying goodbye to dear friends over and over again. The lines on my forehead are from squinting down airport corridors to see who is coming or watch who is going. The saggy skin on my neck is from sticking my neck out over and over for my child, whether with teachers or with doctors or with commanders. The scar on my knee – from trying to tenderly carry my great-grandmother’s broken crystal so I could have it replaced (it sliced me instead). The countless extra pounds started showing up when we lived in a hotel for almost 4 months and never go away because while friends may come and go, chocolate is forever and much cheaper than therapy!
I’m very aware lately of the swift passing of time. That DD is halfway through her time with us. That we will be packing in just a few months. That I’m middle-aged…if I’m lucky. So Happy Birthday to me! I deserve the good chocolate, the good wine, the good souvenirs because I’ll only do this once.
Wow! It would appear I’ve lost 2 full years to Facebook!
Well, I’ve lately been feeling the need to blog again – and it would please my mother. So let me spend a few minutes in catching up:
When we last spoke, I was living in Hampton Roads, VA. DH had gotten a call that he would be taking a job at a top-secret base in England, so I backed off the blogging so we didn’t pop up on Google PAGE 1. I also was totally exhausted and burned out from the election and the fertility treatments. I was working as a co-director of our home school co-op, which I loved, but which was a C-R-A-Z-Y amount of work.
I continued the fertilty treatments and the co-op until we got very close to packing. All along, I thought I was handling the stress of 3x week ultrasounds and multiple labs and shots and 2 attempts at IUI really well. HA! My blood pressure has literally gone down 40 points since then. So I said goodbye to that phase and to lots of wonderfully supportive friends and moved to England in July 2009.
So, if you are interested, I’ll jump back into things. I’ll need to update our school info and activities. I’ll need to catch you up on the new neighbors and job. And I’ll probably start a whole new blog to show you the pictures of the great places we’ve been…
Welcome back. I’ve missed you.
So I woke up this morning and heard Pat Robertson on “Morning Joe” say “This is the end of the Conservative era.” What? Excuse me? Could you repeat that? That is too much to take in at 6:30am.
Then I went to vote. I packed up Claire, a wagon, umbrellas, snacks, activities, even a big trash bag to keep us dry as we waited in line. There was no line! Are you serious? The line was bout 15-20 minutes long and was inside. But quickly we were escorted to a separate line for our specific Congressional district and there was NO one there!
Now, Virginia has gone to Obama. I even checked the VA Department of Elections to see how my precinct did. It’s so heavily military in this area, I was prepared for lots of RED, but my precinct and every other one attached to the base – even the one with the heaviest concentration of enlisted military housing.
I hope I don’t wake up for awhile~
Ok, I know…this is supposed to be a home-school blog, a blog about military family life. But what’s happening is to important to ignore. It’s Election Day!
But let me back up 18 hours. People are scared. Why? How do I know? Well, I don’t entirely understand why, but I do know that they are. I also know that the more I am quiet and confident in my candidate(s), the more upset and anxious people seem to get. So here’s the very disquieting thing that happened yesterday: I got a call from a neighbor friend and after we covered the usual day-to-day business, she asked if I could tell her why I was voting for Obama. After a deep breath – these things never go very well – I listed my arguments and addressed some of the individual issues. We discussed back and forth and then the bombshell…..”What do you think will happen?” When I pressed for an explanation, she explained that she was afraid of the violence Wednesday and maybe even the violence at the polls on Tuesday! Her husband had reassured her that the riots would be controlled near the base because of the national security implications. Seriously… she was dead serious, and really, really scared.
I tried to determine if she’s worried about a race war. That was part of it, but not all of it. She wasn’t able to articulate exactly, but her general feeling was not hopefulness, excitement, even boredom – it was fear. And the fact I said I was not afraid was alittle mind-boggling for her. I was very quiet for a minute and she asked what I was thinking. My response – “I’m sad for you.” And I was – I’m really sad that she operates in her everyday life with such anxiety and apprehension. And I told her I am not afraid. I am not afraid of violence at the polls or after; I am not afraid the government will wipe me out financially to protect others. I am not afraid of dying while trying to exercise my right to vote…there are worse ways to go.
This is Virginia, not Ghana, not Somalia, not Ireland. There will be upset people on either side depending on the outcome, but most everyone will get up Wednesday and do their thing. Here in America, polls don’t get bombed, Catholics don’t get assassinated. And it does not honor the people that fought for our rights to vote – women, African-Americans, heck, all of us that aren’t the Queen’s subjects – to be so afraid of the process.
Edited to add: T over at Therapy on a Shoestring reminded me that 2 of 3 assassinations of famous Americans were Catholic, and that perhaps I should reword my post. Point WELL taken. So I’d like to clarify, that here in America, religious-based assassinations are not nearly the norm. Nor have Americans had to live with generations of Catholic vs. Protestant violence.
This is what $400 looks like:
Who are these people and where did they go?
Interesting side note, I recently go sucked into Facebook where I found tons of old friends from college and high school – many I have barely kept up with through my parents. Tobe honest, I have long ago stopped missing any BFF’s and have made some real, true life-long friends that are there for me and show it. But these Facebook friends, I have realized, are my history. My first crush, my first friend, my first date, sorority sisters, nursing school lab partners….they all know TO MUCH! So when I say “It’s our anniversary” – it’s Aprille who remembers because she missed the wedding due to having a baby, or Marcia, who ran all over town for me that day, or Billy, who sang at the service. So to them, I want to say thanks – as much as I may have disliked it at the time, all those experiences got me to here – a place I wouldn’t have guessed, but really, really like.