Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Because the pride ... oh, the pride

     Everyone gets caught up in the daily routine. Work, kids, school, bills, cleaning, etc. It's an easy trap to fall into. We forget to appreciate the small things, because the big things seem to loom over us. We forget to say "I love you" to those who matter to us. We pay more attention to our phones and computers and tablets than our family. Hey, we're human, not perfect. I recently got caught up in the daily grind.

     I was reminded yesterday of something that still pisses me off to no end, and I will never, ever forget what the government did to our military families. Quick story: Two Rangers in Adam's Regiment were killed while in Afghanistan. Because of the government shutdown, it was revealed that the families of these men, including a widow, would not be getting the $100,000 in death benefits immediately given to the family for many different things - airfare to be there when the servicemembers' body returns to the U.S., funeral expenses, and whatever that money may be needed for in their time of grief. SHUT THE FRONT DOOR. It hit me hard, because that may have been me. It could have been my closest friend. This is how our government treats families a day after their loved one is killed?

     The Fisher House heroically stepped up and paid the families that money. Our illustrious government said, oh, gee thanks for picking up our slack, and we still won't pay them the money they are supposed to get.

     My point is this - what servicemember, while in a foreign country in a combat situation, should have to worry about their family not being given what they are promised when said servicemember signed up voluntarily to serve that country? This is the true definition of the word bullshit.

     I have digressed, which is easy to do when I'm on a tear. What I really wanted people to know is the pride, even maybe the hubris, a military spouse feels. While I was carrying out my ranting on Twitter about the budget cuts involving military pensions, I was reminded again of the intense, emotional pride I have in not only my husband, but our entire military. Men and women who work endless hours, who spend their birthdays, holidays, anniversaries and everything else away from their families, in a hostile place where they aren't wanted.

     Just by virtue of being married to Adam, I have touched a sitting Vice President's hand, sat 10 feet away from another Vice President while he gave a speech, watched Adam walk down the streets of Savannah in the St. Patrick's Day parade, pinned on his new rank and his Ranger tab, listened to a four-star general extol the heroics of Adam's unit and men in it, met wounded warriors and their families, and grieved alongside families. It brings me to tears to think about all of the truly amazing experiences I have been able to be a part of, and the pride often threatens to overwhelm me.

     I am going to make it a point to not let the day end without me feeling that pride, without remembering how effing lucky I am to be a part of the Army family. Whatever is it you have pride in, own it, and never forget how awesome that feeling is.

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Because I'll say what I really want to say...

I fully intended to take my pain medication and fall asleep for a little while today. Those pills will knock an elephant on it's ass, but I'm pretty strong-willed when I want to be. Which is always.

Had you told me when I was 21 years old that I would meet a man-child about to graduate from high school, who had already enlisted in the Army, and end up marrying him a year later, I would have peed my pants laughing. Move to the South? Nah. They'd never understand my funny accent, and I'd never understand theirs. I'm a New England girl - I want iced tea, not sweet tea.

Fast forward to today - Adam has been in the same unit for 18 years. I've been there for every single minute of it. I've seen good times, I've seen great times, I've seen crappy times, and I've seen the very worst of times.

Until today.

Families know the day their loved ones leave that that may be the very last time they see their face, or talk to them on the phone, or receive an email. We don't talk about it, but it's always in the back of our minds. I can't fathom the reality of reality.

I know very well everyone is sick about hearing about the government shutdown. But, it's affecting so many people I know and love. Enough with the finger pointing and blaming one party or the other. I am an American, not a party. I want what is best for my country. I fucking love this country.

I knew about the deaths of the two Rangers in Afghanistan. I found out about the other servicemembers who also died. No one wants to think about their loved one coming home in a coffin, yet here are more families having to face that horrible reality. Upon a servicemembers' death in combat, the family is supposed to be wired $100,000 for whatever is needed - a flight to get to Dover to meet the coffin returning, funeral expenses, etc.

Now, because of the government shutdown, those families AREN'T GETTING that money. If this doesn't make you mad, then it was nice knowing you. I know without a doubt being a military wife has made me more patriotic, given me more love for country, and feeling pride in knowing my husband, best friend, and so many others have served this nation.

What kind of country are we living in when someone voluntarily joins the Armed Forces, dies for us, and then their family is told, "Hey sorry, it's the Repbublicans/Democrats/Tea Party/Zombie party's fault, not ours." Obviously this hits close to home for me. That could be me, that could be my friend's husband, that could be someone you know.

Don't turn a blind eye to what is happening in our country. Don't brush it off that it's someone else's problem, not yours. Don't be that asshole that doesn't give a shit until it affects you directly. Blind admiration is ignorance.

May those who died this past weekend rest in peace. I may be just the wife of Ranger, but I'm part of the Ranger community, the Ranger family, and we WILL make sure the families are able to get to Dover, to pay for the funerals, to not have to worry in their time of grief and remembrance. I've shared a link on Facebook if you'd like to donate. I donated, because I know my Ranger family would help me.

May God Bless America.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Because there are better things to think about...

Here's what I think about our government shutting down - I'm done with overpaid, grown-up babies who still think they're playing in a sandbox and are just waiting to point the finger at someone else for what they all collectively have managed to do together. It pains me to even type about these people we, as the people, seemingly elected to work for us. So, in that respect, I'm going to spend my time thinking about much better things. Here's a partial list:

1. I'm thoroughly confused by the "Before the Vows: Divorce Court" title of the TV show. I do love me an oxymoron though.

2. Lee and Morty, the two old people in the Swiffer commercials, are gems. I'd love to go hang out with them for awhile.

3. I was told to wear "loose-fitting shorts, like gym shorts" for a surgical procedure next week. All I can now think is that I need to go buy men's basketball shorts and obviously some high-top sneakers to match the shorts. When I actually stop and think about it, I'm sometimes perturbed and amused by how my thinking works.

4. My kid eats food in the shower. I'm thinking of installing a garbage disposal much like Kramer did on Seinfeld, and have him start making our salads while he's in there.

5. I've become a real-life Homer Simpson after noticing my cart at Wal-Mart last week included beer, bacon, and donuts.

6. I keep forgetting to call the manager at Wal-Mart. Their "baker's dozen" of donuts only has 12 donuts in them, not 13, even though there's a big 13 on the box. This has happened twice. Yes, I count my donuts. If you're not counting when there's a number on something you buy, you're doing it wrong. If I get 11 chicken nuggets when I'm supposed to get 10, I can move mountains with my happiness.

7. If I could grow a beard, I'd be really handsome.

8. Q-tips are highly affordable, so why don't more people use them?

9. Between living with Adam, Addison, and three dogs, I am pretty sure I have lost any sense of smell. Luckily, my sixth sense, awesomeness, has kicked in overtime.

10. When the bottle says don't drink alcohol with this medication, they actually mean it. Lesson learned.

11. 0pppp (That was the dog's contribution after I placed the laptop on the floor. You're welcome. If you'd like to send Mosby a message back, he'd appreciate it.)

12. Apparently Mosby is trying to let you know he's down with OPPPP. Other People's Puppies Pretty Please, if you're not fluent in the Canine language.

14. I just skipped #13, like an elevator.

15. I'm on the last unbeatable level of Candy Crush Saga. I need a new hobby.

I'm sure there's plenty more things I'd rather think about than "That bullshit going on in this country that shall not be named." I'll think about it and get back to you. In the meantime, I'd love to hear what everyone else is thinking about lately.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Because I have a lot on my mind...

Let me preface this post by saying when I'm sick, I'm cranky. It's been a real shitty few months for me, health wise. I can honestly say that having chronic pain is a lonely thing. I've been lucky enough to have the support of friends and family, especially those friends who are either dealing with a similar situation or just those who live with chronic pain and understand. Just because you can't see someone's illness doesn't mean it's not there, that it's not totally messing with their body and mind and spirit.

There's always a bright side to life. It may seem like sometimes that brightness is hiding better than Saddam Hussein in an underground dirt hole, but I promise, it's there.

Let me continue by saying that because I've been laying on the couch all day, I have had a lot of time to think. And I think, A LOT. Here's some things I ruminated about today:

1) Social media can really bring out the worst in people. I used to be the first person to jump into a controversial discussion. Today a friend posted a picture of a very pregnant, barely dressed woman smoking. I read through some of the comments on the original post - I really shouldn't have, because man, what the heck is going on in this world? One woman said, "Well my mom smoked when she was pregnant with me and I smoked when I was pregnant and we're all fine." HUH? I knew it was time to move on when I read another commenter say, "You don't know what she's been threw. She's probably been threw a lot." I realize I'm a grammar snob, but I can't take anyone seriously when I read stuff like that. NEXT!

2) When I start to lose faith in people, I draw on what I've learned and what I've observed from others. Sending Addison, a child who has only been baptized and had no religious experience beyond that, to a Baptist private school was one of the best things we've ever done. As a teenager who decided that if I didn't like it, I wasn't going to do it, I quit going to church. That's not to say I still didn't believe in God, in prayer, and in the power of prayer. I've tried to become a better person, to show Addison that even though I do not attend church, I can be a person who prays, who tries to see the best in people. What's best for me isn't best for everyone, and that goes for everyone. I have atheist friends and I have friends that have devoted their lives to God. What and how people choose to live their lives isn't my business, nor is it yours.

3) I ramble a lot.

4) Like I said, there's always a bright side to things. Though I hesitantly take pills for pain, I can only laugh when I remember the conversation at the kitchen table on Sunday night. Adam had made the most delicious pork ribs in the history of man, and knowing that dogs shouldn't eat chicken bones, I asked him, "These are pork ribs, right? Because dogs can't have chicken bones." Luckily, he humors me. "That would be one big ass chicken," he said.

Lastly, just be nice. Be nice to yourself and be nice to others. I can't say it often enough.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Because children get older...

And I'm getting older tooooooo.... (Sorry, I tend to think in song lyrics.)

This is the time of year that I feel bad as a mother for a second, then remember I'm a pretty good mom. My friends lament over their children growing up, wondering where the time has gone. It seems to be a common theme on social media, whether they're attending a preschool or high school graduation. That's the part where I feel momentarily bad - I enjoy Addison getting older. It's not like I'm counting the days until he goes off to college (You can do the math - 4 years X 365 days). But there are many things I don't miss, and some I do.

I don't miss changing diapers. Maybe some people actually like it, but I get tired wiping my own butt sometimes. Wiping someone else's really isn't appealing to me, especially when you have to hold them down because they're wiggling like an earthworm on a fishing hook. I know there are moms who enjoy the early months and years, but I wasn't one of them. I didn't enjoy waking up every two hours to feed him. I did enjoy when he would fall asleep in my arms, even though little chubby Addison sometimes caused my arms to go numb. 

The toddler years were a mixed bag. But, that really goes along with any age. We were the parents trying to shove our meals down our throats at a restaurant, since Addison decided he would personify the Terrible Two's for more than a year, starting at 18 months. 

I could go on and on through his almost 14 years, but that would even bore me. 

I guess what I'm trying to say is that I've tried to soak up the good and bad of every age. I know where the years have gone. They've creeped along, yet they've flown by. Sure, it's nice I can leave him home alone, but there's no more blessed nap time when I knew I could get things done. I may not have to watch Barney or the Teletubbies anymore, but I do watch TeenNick, which isn't bad, but it's definitely not the Game Show Network.

It's fun to reminisce about the early years, like when he wanted to be like the dogs and poop in the backyard, or how he took off running when he turned 9 months old. Treasure those memories. As much as you may want to keep your baby a baby, you can't. It's our responsibility as parents to raise them to be productive, responsible adults.

It doesn't matter how old Addison gets, if I read Love You Forever, I turn into a weeping mess of a mom. He may be inches taller than me, but he will always be my little boy in a man's body, and I look forward to helping him become the adult he is going to be, not who I want him to be.

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Because Billy Joel is my beacon...

I know, I know ... what's with the title, Erin? Let me explain.

I spent this week, along with everyone else, experiencing so many emotions it was tough to name them all. Anger, fear, sadness, jubilation, you name it, I felt it. What should I do with all these emotions?

One time a doctor I worked with turned and said to me, "You've got an excuse for everything, don't you?" Wowza. The truth hurt. I'm good at making excuses, and even when they're valid, I feel bad.

So today I stopped making excuses as to why I couldn't exercise. I thought of the many innocent people who lost limbs in Boston. I threw on my 1st Ranger Battalion t-shirt with the names of our fallen Rangers on the back, and that made me realize those brave, selfless men would never be able to run again, although knowing Rangers like I do, I'm sure they've got their own workout club going on up in Heaven. I went to the track, with all of these people in mind, and when I felt like I couldn't run another step, I kept on going. I thought of three people who wanted to watch a marathon who lost their lives. I kept going.

Back to Billy Joel. I know you've been reading with bated breath, wondering how Billy fits all of this. His song, "All About Soul" came on while I was running. These lyrics just seemed to fit today and every day:

"This life isn't fair
It's gonna get dark, it's gonna get cold
You've got to get tough, but that ain't enough
It's all about soul."

I'm done with the excuses. I invite everyone to badger me daily, ask if I did any form of exercise - keep me accountable, and don't accept my myriad of excuses. Not to worry, though. I've got soul.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Because now I'm mad...

     I've moved on to the second stage of grief - anger. I'm angry that a coward took the lives of three innocent people on what was otherwise a bucolic day in Massachusetts, especially
Boston. I'm angry that it happened in my city, in my home state. I'm angry that I am here in Georgia and can't be there among my fellow New Englanders to grieve among them. I'm just angry.

     When I was 18, I stood along the sidelines of the Boston Marathon, hoping to catch a glimpse of my dad running by. My eyes darted back and forth, through the runners. "DADDY!" I saw him running, and yes, I call him Daddy. Maybe once I hit the age of 40 I'll just call him Kevin. It was a huge thrill to see my dad running yet another marathon.

     Martin Richard was along the sidelines waiting for his dad to finish the marathon. I've heard his dad ran, his dad didn't run, and I truly believe we will never know all of the details surrounding that day. Martin just wanted to see his dad run the marathon, and cheer him on, the same as I did back in 1993. An evil person with what I can only presume also has no soul changed the Richard's family forever. Martin died, and his younger sister, a dancer, lost a leg. His mother was also injured.

     Two young women with a lifetime ahead of them were also murdered. Why? I keep asking myself why. Maybe we'll never know why. But I need to know why.

     I need a suspect, I need someone to be arrested for this crime. I need a face and a name, someone to direct my anger towards. How dare you go into my city, the city I love the most, the city where I watched the Red Sox play on Summer evenings, where my son was baptized, where friends and family live and have lived, and try to destroy it.

     To whoever did this, I'll say this...I'm angry. I'm just a girl who loves Boston and lives in Georgia by way of marriage. If I'm angry, just imagine the anger from those who ran the marathon, those who lost their family members and friends that day, the citizens of Boston and Massachusetts, New England, the entire country, the entire world. You messed up big time, and now it's time.

     I will say this though - I rarely cry. It takes a lot for me to shed a tear. But after seeing the outpouring of love for Boston yesterday, I have been emotional and even shed a few tears. Seeing the videos of Yankees fans and other fans at games singing "Sweet Caroline" was simply amazing. Though sports may divide us, realizing that we are all a nation standing together against terror ultimately unites us.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Because Billy Joel said it best...

     A few weeks ago, I blogged about that feeling we all had after Sept. 11, 2001 - fear, sadness, anger, hopefulness, and every other feeling we could ever experience. We greeted strangers on the street. We, as a nation, banded together.

     I wrote about never losing that feeling, as a wife of a Soldier who has deployed continuously since October 2001, because I couldn't, and didn't want to. Every deployment reminded me why he was going overseas, and every day he was home between deployments I knew not to take those days for granted.

     I try to be nicer to people - no one but them knows what they're going through. I talk to strangers, try to make them smile, ask them how they're doing, and really listen when people talk to me. When Addison talks, I listen. I sat among families at a memorial service many years ago, and heard a fallen Ranger's dad trying to control his weeping. It was one of the most heartbreaking sounds I have ever heard, and I have never forgotten it. So yeah, if my son is speaking, I can put down my phone for a few minutes, or tear my eyes away from the TV to really listen to him; that father will never have the chance to talk to his son again.
     The last few years have divided us as a country. Adults have taken to calling other adults names as a way to make themselves feel better about their own political leanings, beliefs, and morals. Just knock it the fuck off, okay? If you feel the need to be mean to someone, especially those you know, I suggest counseling to find out why you harbor such hatred. People continue to hide behind technology as a way to try to belittle others - stop it.

     So what does this all have to do with Billy Joel? His song, This Is the Time, says, "This is the time to remember, 'cause it will not last forever, these are the days to hold onto, though we won't although we'll want to..." After the horrific events at the Boston Marathon yesterday, make this the time to remember humanity, caring, and heroism. Hold onto to those feelings, and turn them into a positive thing.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Because the guilt trips don't work anymore...

     I'm an Irish Catholic girl, so of course the first thing most people think about is guilt, because apparently us Irish Catholic's are born with it and it never goes away. I've spent most of my 38 years feeling guilty for things, most of them beyond my control. I've had to leave pet stores, in tears, because I couldn't rescue all of those animals. If I killed a spider, and the next day it rained, I felt guilty for being so awesome I made the old adage come to life. I think you get the idea...

     Lately, it seems like if I choose to make my feelings or opinions known, others feel that it's okay to try to make me feel guilty about it. Wait, what? Sadly, it's true, and I bet at some point, everyone has met or knows someone who has tried to do this to them also. I was made to try to feel guilty for my vote for president last year. It's a good thing I can think for myself. Most of us responisble Americans have a vote, so instead of trying to make me feel shame for my vote, go vote your own way, and shut up about it. Sure, there are those who give in to the guilt, but not this girl.

     I will never feel guilt for owning guns. A woman I don't even know told me on social media, "Well, I hope you can live with yourself when the next Newtown happens." Oh, okay, let's go there. You don't know how much milk I like in my cereal, lady, so why don't you reserve your hatefulness for someone's life you do know about. I'd love to have a big, strong man named Adam sleeping next to me every night. I'd love to have a male adult relative living in the same state with me. But I don't. I am on my own for most of the time, and I'm very cute. If you'd like to try to come into my house, I WILL defend myself and my son and my dogs. And that will be with a gun.

     I think healthy eating and exercise are important, and they are great. But I don't need it shoved down my throat. I don't subscribe to any diet, or any one way of exercise. If I want a bacon cheeseburger, I'll have a bacon cheeseburger, and I'll love that burger and not feel guilty about it. Obviously, I know better than to have one every day (I would if I could). I don't feel the need to make myself and everyone around me miserable by denying myself small pleasures. I believe in moderation, and I'm not much of an eater anyway. I like white bread, beer, carrot cake, eggs and such, and if I want to partake in these, I will. If I unfortunately got hit by a bus crossing the road tomorrow, at least I'd be a very happy girl in Heaven.

     I can't really figure out why others feel the need to try to make others feel guilty about any aspect of their lives. Maybe it's bitchy of me, but I really want to say, "Get a life." If you're that worried about what others choose to do, maybe it's time to take a good, long look at your own life. You can't be very happy with yourself. No need to make everyone else miserable too. Luckily, I'm a stubborn, confident woman who can use my own brain, my own feelings, and my own beliefs to make decisions.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Because military children are the true unsung heroes...

     There is no doubt in anyone's mind that Adam is one of the few people I call a hero. I could go on and on about his accomplishments, but that would be the world's longest blog post. The other day it hit me - Addison, all 13 years of him, is also one of my heroes. Not just because the chicks dig him and his blue eyes, but because of his strength and resilience, all honed through all of his years of being a military child.

     Every mother knows how awful they feel when their child is sick or in pain, and there's only so much they can do to help them. When dropping Adam off for his latest deployment, I watched as Addison clung to Adam, and would have continued to stand there forever if it meant his father didn't have to go to war yet again. I know as a wife what that feels like, but as a child, I can't even begin to imagine what goes through his head and his heart.

     I've done my best when Adam has been gone to be both a mother and a father. I've taken him fishing, played baseball, and tried to do everything they enjoy doing together as father and son. I can't replace Adam. I know it's not the same for Addison, and I am grateful he isn't squeamish about taking a fish off the hook for me. He's good about humoring me.

     Addison knows what it's like to not have his father there for his birthday, his first day of school, a whole season of football and baseball, Christmases, etc. And yet, he is still well-adjusted. His sense of humor blows me away. He makes me laugh every single day with his own unique way of looking at the world.

     I don't know what it's like to see your father go to war again and again and again. Addison's life, since the age of two, has been this way. He doesn't remember the first few deployments. He will always remember Christmas of 2004, when he was five, it was Adam's first Christmas overseas, and he and my best friend played Super Mario Bros. all day long together. He may not remember how I tried to paste a smile on my face all day for his sake, yet was crying on the inside.

     He makes me stronger, makes me want to be a better mother, and gives me a reason to get up every single day and try even harder. I'm so incredibly grateful for him, every single day. We all know our servicemembers and veterans are heroes, but so are our military children, who live lives quite unlike other children.

     Addison, I am proud to be your mother, because you make me proud as my son. I couldn't do this without you. We are a great team!

Monday, March 11, 2013

Because I wish everyone understood...

I wrote about my depression awhile ago, and got a huge, overwhelming response of support and love from friends and family. I basically "came out" and let everyone know that I live with depression. Yet, there are always those who don't understand, and don't make the slightest effort to try to understand. So, here I will peel back more layers and let you know what it's like to live with depression.

"Can't you just stop being depressed?" I've heard this many times. Don't you think if I could, I would? If you don't understand something, ask. There's a wonderful resource called the Internet that has more than Facebook and porn on it. When I hear that question, of course I get angry, but I do realize that mental illness is not very widely discussed. I don't show up at parties and tell everyone, "Guess what! I have dysthymia and take a pill every single day! I'm first for a keg stand!" I've been embarrassed and ashamed for so many years, and I would only let a select few friends know about it. Now, I just don't care who knows. Why should an illness be a secret?

Depression happens in the brain. Chemicals are messed up. The medication basically goes in there and tells the chemicals, "Straighten the fuck up, this chick hasn't done laundry in two weeks." I'm not sure exactly what the meds say, but that's my best guess. No one 'chooses' this illness. I'd love to be able to be what society deems 'normal', but I'm not. That's society's problem, and it needs to stop. Would you say to someone with leukemia, "Can't you just stop having cancer of your blood cells?" That's what it feels like when someone suggests I just get over it.

I've been to the very bottom of depression. I don't ever want to go back. Some days are better than others. Just because I take a pill every day doesn't mean I'm cured. I'm simply living life better through the use of medication. It doesn't make it go away, for me, at least. Others have periods of depression that are controlled with medicine, and others live their entire lives with it. I've lost friends who don't understand that some days, I'm lucky that I got dressed, and that socializing just isn't in the cards for that day, or week, or month. My brain tells me to do something, take a baby step, and sometimes, that's the hardest part, just putting one foot in front of the other.

Mental illness can afflict anyone, at any time. No one is immune. Unless you've had depression, or loved someone with it, you have no idea what it's like - same as with any other illness or disease. I'm more than happy to share my experiences with anyone, if it educates just one person, or helps someone who doesn't want to appear weak or crazy get to the doctor. There is nothing wrong with being mentally ill, and I will speak out every chance I get to let people know this.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Because I don't like odds...

     If you know me, you know I love sports. My friends know if the Red Sox are playing the Yankees, I'm not available to do anything, because my butt will be parked in front of the TV, yelling and cursing. A few years ago when the Patriots were in the Super Bowl, the broadcasters kept posting the odds of them winning or losing, based on what Tom Brady ate for lunch or the last time he defecated. Okay, so not really, but that's what it seemed like. And that's why I despise odds.

     I see odds as something that can be overcome, for the most part. According to those who make the odds, Adam and I should have divorced years ago. A military marriage, a Special Operations one at that, still together, and still extremely happy, 16 years later? Suck it, odds, you were wrong. I once heard that because we are both children of divorce, the odds were higher that we would live in a rat-infested house. Say what? I know my teenager is piggish at times, but we have never had a rat infestation. We saw our parents' marriages dissolve, and maybe that makes us work harder, not just give up because something isn't right.

     Addison told me the other day that I would have a better chance of getting struck by lightning than ever winning the lottery. "Well," I told him, "I'd much rather win the lottery." Again, I don't believe in the odds of this happening or the odds of that not happening. I believe in being positive, and not welcoming the odds of something into my life.

     Have you ever heard of someone being told the odds of them living past a certain time after being diagnosed with a disease? I don't believe in those either, mostly because I do believe in the power of prayer, only because I've seen it work with my own eyes. My grandfather had a tumor in his throat, and wasn't expected to live very long. Lo and behold, the tumor went away. I prayed fervently for him, along with friends and family. To my loved ones fighting, keep fighting. Kick the odds to the curb where they belong.

     In the end, life comes down to what we make of it. But, if God could maybe tilt the odds in the favor of the Red Sox winning the World Series this year, I would appreciate it.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Because numbers don't matter...

     Have you ever heard someone say, "I wish they would act their age." Usually it's said to a child who is being ornery, but it's just one of those phrases that I don't understand. Like, "He was as quiet as a church mouse." I'm sure there's a very good meaning behind it, but A) All of the times I've been in a church, I've never seen a mouse and B) Are church mice that much smarter than regular ones, who seemingly can't be quiet?

     I guess I was skipping out sick from school the day they handed out the manual that says how you should act for your age. If you had asked a prepubescent me how a 38-year-old mother and wife should act, I would have said she should watch Murder, She Wrote, secretly want to marry Bo Duke, just like me, and drive a station wagon.

     Now I'm a 38-year-old mother and wife who only resembles one characteristic of what I thought I should be at this age. John Schneider, you are still smokin' hot.

     Is it wrong that I seemingly don't know how a woman of my age is supposed to act? I don't go around farting in public (unless no one is in the general area, of course). I'm not immature, mostly, I like to think that life is supposed to be fun. I do what I am supposed to, as an adult, but why should we give up on having fun, or just being silly because we're supposed to act a certain way because of our age?

     Remember that feeling of being a little kid, having no cares or worries (not everyone was able to enjoy a childhood like that, but it certainly beat the worries and responsibilities we have as grown-ups) and just being you? Friday nights were my favorite, (no, not only because The Dukes of Hazzard was on) because I knew the next morning my sister and I would get up early and watch cartoons. There was no way I was sleeping in when The Smurfs were on.

     Why can't we try to recapture some of that simply joy? One of the best days I ever had was during a huge rainstorm a few years ago. The side yard was flooded, so Addison decided to go out and play in it. I thought, what the hell, and joined him. We were soaked to the bone, but playing in the rain was invigorating. Go grab some crayons, and color a picture. Jump in some puddles. Do something you enjoyed doing as a child. It's time to recapture that feeling. Life can suck the pureness of our enjoyment and fun little by little.

     There's nothing wrong with not "acting your age" because until I can find that damn manual, I'll do what I love, what brings me happiness, and I'll have fun doing it.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Because we're not them...

     A lot of people seem to bemoan getting older, but I, for one, welcome it. As I age (not my body, just my mind. I have amazing genes.) I find that I am able to take a thought and roll it over in my mind, and have the ability to see all sides of it. There are probably some lucky people born with this ability, but mine seems to grow by leaps and bounds the older I become.

     That being said, I may piss some of my fellow military spouses off with this, but then again, I have never been one to care what others think about me - it's a gift. Stop comparing yourself and your life to non-military families.

     I know, I know, when we see a friend post on Facebook how hard it's going to be while their husband is gone for a few nights, we roll our eyes and think, "Oh please." We can cook dinner while entertaining a toddler, folding laundry, and make a callout to our fellow wives all with one hand tied behind our back. See, that's the thing. We know we can do it. We laugh at the women who have to wait for their husband to come home from work to kill a spider, or hang a curtain rod for them.

     I am guilty of this. Way back in 1997, Adam was at Ranger School for three months, during the summer. I was 23 and bitter. I would sit in my living room every day and see couples walking by, hand in hand, and in my head I'd be saying, "Fuck you." I was very eloquent when hurt, as you can tell. I was jealous. Jealous that they were with their spouses, and I wasn't. I couldn't just pop over to my mom's house or my sister's, because they lived 1,000 miles away.

     Then comes Facebook. I admit, I used to tell civilian women to suck it up, in the most polite way I could. Didn't they know what I was going through? My worry trumped their worry. I was playing the martyr and the victim. I can look back now and realize this wasn't very nice of me, but sometimes it was extremely frustrating to see women who complained about their husbands, while I was just hoping and praying every day that Adam would return safely.

     Who are we to tell someone they can't miss their husband, even if he's headed to a business meeting in Miami? We don't know what's going on in their lives. Maybe they have a sick child, or are the main caregiver to a dying relative. It's not up to us, as military spouses, to be the all-knowing of what it means to miss someone. There are spouses, military and non-military alike, who use social media to garner sympathy for themselves. That gets old, sister. Sorry your kids have a vacation from school for the week and you have to be a parent. If I happened to read or hear my mother say that when I had been growing up, I would have been devastated. Luckily, I was an angelic child who never caused my mom any trouble. (No comments on that last sentence, please.)

     So, my fellow spouses, especially my Ranger wives, let go of the bitterness. Just think about it - you're married to a square-jawed handsome badass who even Chuck Norris is afraid of. There are very few of us who can say that. Be proud, be brave, and don't compare yourself to anyone else - this is your life.


Thursday, February 7, 2013

Because I just don't understand...

     The more commercials I see about new TV shows boggles my mind. A show about two women who fit women for a correct bra size? Really? Don't even get me started on Honey Boo Boo, or "housewives" who wipe their asses with $100 bills. This isn't reality. This is crap, pure and simple. I understand guilty pleasures, but as more and more of these "shows" appear, the more and more I don't understand what is happening in this world.

     I'm biased, of course, but what about the reality of our servicemen and women? Why do our kids know more about the sex lives of teenagers who are rewarded with a TV show because they became pregnant? They are who our kids watch, and who think this is the norm.

     How many people know an actual servicemember, or know what their life is really like? They should be the people our kids look up to, to want to emulate as they grow up. Sure, there are shitbags in the military, same as any other profession, but there are also men and women who could tell you a story or two (or thousands) that would leave you speechless.

     There are those who mourn when celebrities die. Death is always sad, but when celebrities who had the money and support to go to rehab die, I'm sorry, I just can't care very much. Addiction is a nasty thing, I understand. But why are they celebrated, and our military who die while doing their job are swept under the rug?

     These men and women willingly join the service. They choose it for their career. It's not just a job, it IS a career. They hug their wives, their moms, their kids, and pray that they will see them again. They know in the back of their minds that they may not return from war. They don't want their wife to be a widow, to have their children grow up without a father, but yet they go, because they are selfless, and brave, and willing to do what most people can't or won't do. They spend months not sleeping in their own bed, eating crappy food, hoping that when they call home, someone picks up the phone, just to hear their voice.


     They get shot at, they hope as they roll down the roads of Afghanistan that an IED isn't triggered to go off, they never know what's ahead for them. They miss birthdays, anniveraries, holidays, etc., yet they don't complain about it. They signed the dotted line, held up their hand and swore to do their job.

     These are the people our kids should be learning about, not people being paid obscene amounts of money because they can throw a football or can sing. Our children deserve better. They deserve to know about bravery and sacrifice. It's time to make things right.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Because it's our own sisterhood...

     Last summer, I was at a get-together to say farewell to a special Ranger wife I've known for many years. In her speech, she said, "The guys have their Ranger buddies, and it's just as important for us wives to have them too." I instantly whipped my head around to my friend Lani and whispered, "You're my Ranger Buddy." I didn't give her much of a choice, but from that point on, we called each other RB. I'll let you in on a secret: the bond between military wives is strong, but the bond between Ranger wives is something most women will never have the opportunity to know.

     I've always been more comfortable around men. I can participate and know what I'm talking about if football comes into the conversation. Or baseball, golf, what have you. I don't know about wine or Grey's Anatomy. I'd rather have a few girlfriends I can trust than 100 friends I don't know very well. The women I've met and call friends through Adam's job I can trust 100%, and then some.

     The Ranger community is small. Sometimes I've been afraid to fart because I knew everyone in the community would know within five minutes. But, as a wife, we know inherently what the other wives are going through, especially during deployments. We don't feel bad texting another wife and letting them know we're having a bad day, or that we miss our husbands something awful. We are strong, but we also have those days, just like everyone else. We don't feel the need to let everyone on Facebook know, because we don't want sympathy. We want empathy, and we find that in our fellow wives.

     We watch each other's kids. We go out to eat together. We form book clubs and workout groups. We keep each other busy because it makes the long, seemingly endless days go by faster. We will drop everything if another wife is in need. We blindly sign up to help out other wives if they should ever need it, not knowing who or when, but because we truly care about each other. We are given opportunities to share feelings, memories, tears, and frustration when a Ranger dies in combat. Even if we didn't know him, we all grieve in our own way. We may not be family by blood, but we are family by heart.

     The women I have been fortunate enough to meet in the Ranger community are invaluable to me. I think we have all helped each other in ways others will never know, and those ways we do know about, we treasure because we know that any other woman wouldn't quite understand the way we do. We chose the man, not the life, but along with that life comes that glint of pride in our eyes and the knowing that regardless of what happens, we will always have each other's backs.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Because so soon we forget...

     Think back to Sept. 12, 2001 - how you felt, how the country had changed within a matter of hours. How wherever you went, you saw an American flag, and people were quicker with a smile, or said hello to you, even though they were a stranger.

     What in the hell has happened to all of us since then?

     One quick browse through any social media website, newspaper, or magazine, and let me tell you, it's no Sept. 12, 2001 anymore.

     I perused a quick article my brother-in-law shared on Facebook about different ways to be happier. One suggestion was to let up on debating others about politics, religion, etc. I took this to heart, because as I read it, I realized that while I enjoy healthy debates, the chance of me changing someone's mind, opinion, or morals was slim to none. If I could get someone to see a different point of view, then that's great, but it seems that so many of us think that our opinions are right, and anyone who doesn't agree with us is wrong. I'm so sick of this mentality, that I refuse to be drawn into it anymore. I'd rather have a bout of explosive diarrhea than try to explain why I have a gun in my home for self-protection and it's really not their business.

     I think one thing that keeps me grounded is that Sept. 11 is never far from my mind. Adam has deployed since October of 2001, and has deployments in the double digits now. Every homecoming has been special. I've had the honor of meeting many families who didn't get to  have a happy homecoming. That weighs heavily on me, and reminds me to never take the time we have together for granted. We don't spend time fighting, or nagging. We enjoy each other; we enjoy the time we can spend with Addison as a family. There's no guarantee any of us will wake up tomorrow, yet some people seem to live with bitterness and unhappiness. Why would you choose to live that way?

     Think back to the middle of December of 2012. How horrified were we as people, as parents, to know 20 innocent children and six innocent adults lost their lives at what is supposed to be a safe haven? How many of us couldn't wait to see our child when they got off the bus, when we picked them up, when they walked through the door? Who didn't hug their kids a little tighter, and while we grieved for those in Connecticut, we also breathed a sigh of relief that it wasn't our child, that it didn't directly affect us?
    Yet life seems to go right back to normal. We are cranky when our kids piss us off, we think nothing of calling others names when we don't agree with them, we judge people by what they look like, what kind of clothes they wear, what their beliefs are, and so much more.

     I don't like the now. Why should it take a tragedy for us to be nice to others? We never know what someone else is going through on a daily basis. Maybe you randomly smiling at a stranger could make their day. Maybe it could make your own day. Let's tap back into the nice, and wipe away the hate.