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Monday, June 9, 2014

Dear Marine - How I've been emotionally damaged...

Dear Marine
I sit here at 2000 pondering what to write to you. The picture of Recruits 5 and 6 you sent "our two peas in a pod" tucked in for the night in the RV on their way to our new home was adorable. I love our peas.

I look around at all that needs to be done and wonder what was I thinking kicking you all out??

Then I remember, I am amazing. I have this. And I also remember the reason I kicked you out. It was because of the recipe box 23 years ago. Do you remember that? WELL LET ME REFRESH YOUR MEMORY...

Once upon a time there was a beautiful young Marine wife. She had just given birth to an adorable tiny princess and was having to pack up her little life and move home with her mom and dad because her handsome prince (Marine) was deploying to Desert Storm.

The fabulous young wife had the utmost faith in her dashing Marine's ability to pack all she felt she would need back home with her mom and dad during their separation. She was packing for an unknown amount of time but leaving many of their belongings behind in storage in Oceanside, California.

She was also preparing for your death. I mean her Marine's potential demise. Why? because he was a Recon Marine AND a communicator. Someone had ridiculously told her that his life expectancy in combat was 4 seconds. REALLY??? Who the heck would tell her that? Well I don't remember but some crazy nut did.

So there was this recipe box. They had received it as part of a wedding shower where everyone provided recipes and the dry goods. Uncle Korean War Marine even gave the young Marine a can opener saying that he knew the women in this family and he knew that if the young Marine had that can opener  he would never starve no matter what the new bride tried to fix out of the recipe box.

The young Marine did not realize what that recipe box represented to the sensitive but brilliant young Marine bride.

As items accumulated for the trip back home there began to be a great tension in the land. The Marine removed items and the young bride wisely and expertly and dare I say, eloquently, made a solid case for each and every item he questioned. Finally his desperate little beady eyes, I mean seeking eyes, fell upon the tiny, almost invisible yet symbolic recipe box.

He latched onto it in a desperate attempt to not lose his last man card and to prove he was right that she was packing too much and non essential items.

He said "AHA, you do not need that recipe box." He thought he had finally found the one item that she could not effectively defend other than to stamp her delicate foot and declare that it was indeed going.

How could she tell him he was going to die? How could she explain that that recipe box represented the new life they had started together? She knew he needed to know she was strong and valiant and if she were to reveal all it would weaken his resolve to go to war. Well not really because being UA and a deserter is terribly unsat. Anyway... She wanted his last memories of her to be of strength, wisdom and courage. Yes that's better.

The little family arrived at their destination. He unloaded her and the princess and she began to put away the few meager belongings she had fought so hard to keep.

She looked and looked for that little tiny, insignificant in size recipe box only to discover the horrid Marine had snuck into the pile of "to go" items and moved it to the "storage" items all with swift, silent, and deadly skill that such men are known for. It was a devastating blow. She staunchly made it through that deployment and many more in the next 25 years. However it made a lasting impression on the tender and impressionable young wife. So much so that it affected certain decision making skills...


Your darling forever companion. FOREVER COMPANION....Do you feel it?

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Confessions of a Missionary Mom

I have no idea why this
 piano is in the yard.
My son. My sweet, wonderful son who is currently serving a mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, he never ceases to amaze (surprise) and inspire me.

I have loved watching him grow from afar. His emails, letters, and Facebook posts have woven together a picture of sorts of his journey from "greenie" to seasoned missionary.

 His writings have matured and his understanding of the Gospel and Christ's love for all His children has been wonderful to read. And then one day you see the title of a blog post that says Don't Tell My Mom. It opens with "if anyone has an inappropriate family it's me..." WHAT??? However in the end he redeems himself and I laugh with him AT us.

Buuuuutttt.... I'd like to take just a minute to clarify somethings.

1. It wasn't just Dove Soap. One day while living in El Paso, Texas Recruits 1 AND 2 both were in need of a little vocabulary cleaning. Recruit 1 climbed the stairs to her room spitting and wailing and gnashing her teeth about how awful it was. Recruit 2 followed close behind saying "you know, it's not that bad once you get used to it.". It was then I knew I had my work cut out for me. In their defense this has been a challenge for their mother, I am working on replacing 'burn' words with big SAT words. One time Recruit 2 told me "mom, your so much smarter than that word." Just recently Recruit 4 said "that was just uncalled for". I have smart children.

2. Poop is important. I am a firm believer in healthy body systems and mothers need to know these things. I can't help it if I had mostly boys and they are inherently gross. And funny, but mostly gross.

3. Recruit 4 swears he's the one that hickied Recruit 6's head. I told you that's why
Recruit 4
I need to blog. My children will tell my history wrong. And now I really don't know who did what. Elder Recruit 2 your power is great you have siblings believing your version of the past and when you go to fix it, they refuse to believe you.

4. In spite of the family secret now revealed in the blog o'sphere that my family is inappropriate (I say normal) I am fully supportive of Elder Recruit 2's message.

God is a loving wonderful Father in heaven and is waiting for us to make good choices. He WANTS to bless us and sends us help in so many ways. If we ever feel God is far away from us, maybe we should consider that we are far way from Him. He will never leave us, but we often turn from his loving guidance and
his commandments thereby distancing ourselves from his blessings.

As night closes in here in this beautiful state we have called home for the last ten years I can't help but feel my Saviors love and see God's hand in my life. The advance party leaves tomorrow by 0830 (Grandmother, The Marine  and Recruits 5 and 6). Our house is rented, The Marine has a job, no one has gone to jail and we are all well (mostly, I am fighting some nasty something).

This in spite of the tear stained cheeks of Recruit 3 as she begins the rounds of saying goodbye to her friends, my splitting headache and upper respiratory infection, the dwindling bank account, the trials of moving, vehicles, short fuses, anxiety, excited children nervous dogs, goodbyes yet to be said, 2500 miles of hwy between each of us and an unknown future, address or friends waiting to be made.

Tonight I feel peace and love, what's even better, even though a few hours ago I was making faces behind The Marine's back because I was annoyed, it doesn't change the fact that I not only love my sweetheart I still LIKE him and am glad he is mine as we face this next chapter of our lives together. My heart is full and my cup runneth over.

And yes, my family is fabulously inappropriate! ;)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

3 Down 3 to Go!

 Today we watched Recruit 3 graduate. For real. It happened. She is our third to get through the hallowed halls of high school. We secretly high five over her head this morning as we prepare to make our way to our high school's football stadium.

It was a beautiful Saturday to celebrate the graduating class of 2014. Sitting in the stands I reflected on the joys of motherhood and the goodness that is parenting. 

No not really. I have three more to get out of the house and they are all boys. I really don't have time or energy to reflect... at all.

We are missing a few of our family folks, Grams, Elder Recruit 2, Recruit 1's fabulous husband and other aunts, uncles and cousins. However we are blessed to know they wish they were with us. 

Meanwhile back at the church building we had a luncheon for our three graduating seniors and their families. I have to say, all the food was yummy, great company and the high light was this amazing Neapolitan cake. Sister Cake Baker outdid her self. I mean coconut, strawberry and chocolate were beyond delicious. 

Now begins the packing up of our ten years here at this duty station. I did reflect on how blessed we have been to have the family and friends in our lives the past ten years. Military makes friends family and this duty station has been no exception. A little piece of them goes with us and I know pieces of us stay here. Seriously, I am pretty sure the 273rd dump run ensures parts and pieces of us will be here long after we have all passed on.

And my reflection on motherhood as I listen to Recruit 1 sing with big Red and Recruit 4 jokes and for once the two of them are enjoying each other's company and not having a war of words and almost fist. I reflect that God is good, family is forever and how much I really LIKE my kids.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Life with a Retired Marine!

*Note - recently I have felt bad not keeping up on my blog aka my story to my posterity. I am attempting to (once again) pick up the proverbial pen and record my history because my kids tend to tell it wrong!

Times they are a changin'!

The Marine is on a Mission Impossible Marathon. Not Tom Cruise's either. Recruit 1 has introduced her dad to Netflix. He found THE OLD Mission Impossible. He's addicted. 7 years worth of episode are running on his tablet. I have to say the thematic music is quite entertaining. I keep looking over to see what is happening but then I am lost... lost in the crazy amazing sixties hair styles. I don't want to watch the old Mission Impossible. While I think Tom Cruise has turned a strange corner in his life and I know longer hope to run into him on the street, I do enjoy his movies. But those aren't on. And I turned off cable. So I'll blog.

The Marine retired. My life as I knew it ended on 13 February. He was home. ALL the time. He has no troops. He had no office. I still worked. The problem is I work from home. We had to have a talk. I told him he was invading my space. He told me it was his space. I said I'm at work. He said your in the kitchen... I sighed. Loudly. 

We had to have another talk. I told him he was bugging me. He told me I was inefficient. I told him stop watching. He told me he couldn't. I then made the mistake of asking why not. He answered, rubber necking at train wrecks or traffic accidents was part of the human condition.

I was not alone when it came to adjusting to the constant presence of the Marine. Recruit 3, now a senior in high school and only in school for a half day was also trying to figure out how to deal with the attention we were now receiving. The first few days of The Marine NOT going to work Recruit would come home, forget he had retired and ask "why are you here?" The Marine in a somewhat offended and annoyed tone would say "I live here, it's my house is that okay?" 

Recruit 3 would sigh and cut her eyes, but wisely kept her mouth shut... most of the time. 

Finally the day came when she could contain herself no more. The Marine needed troops. I refused to be his troop. By default and because she was home earlier than everyone else, Recruit 3 became his troop. It all came spilling out as she yelled in frustration "when are you leaving? Don't you need to go get a job?!"

The Marine calmly explained he had decided to extend his time at home. I remained calm, he refrained from laughing and Recruit 3 retreated to her room in deep despair. 

Finally, March 24th arrived. Recruit 3 and I waved as The Marine left in his new Ford Fusion. The big grey truck was dying a loud, smokey death so we put it out of it's misery in exchange for fuel efficiency during our transition from active duty to the world of retirees. The Marine was leaving for Texas. He was on his way to Recruit 1's house to begin the job search. 

I was ready for things to move forward but it had been a while since I had been home without The Marine in town. I hadn't seen much of him in the last four years due to his job with the Marine Corps and his church calling as the Bishop the last 21/2 years for our church. But he had at least been in the same 95 mile geographic area with us. I wondered if I was going to be able to manage all that still needed to be done to get our home ready to be sold, keep it up to show potential buyers (which I knew would be just truckloads waiting to tour my kingdom...) 

What you need to understand is if I didn't want to do something all I had to do was look inadequate, flail around and whine. The Marine would, in disgust and annoyance, say "stop stop just stop. Move, just let me do it" and there you go. I could retreat to my room and watch my shows while whatever task I had decided I didn't want to do would get done. In record time and quite well. Four years of flailing my arms around and moaning was now looming over me. Had I lost my edge? 
I went to bed wondering what the next few months would bring. 

Sometime during the night the switch flipped. Just like that I woke up in deployment mode. It was amazing. I bounced out of bed, got the kids up, made it to seminary and started the next few months off with a bang. It was good to know the skills I accidentally developed during many separations from my Marine over the last 25 + years were not lost. 

The adventure of transition had truly begun!


What follows on these posts is true to the best of my knowledge, except what isn't. I only change names to protect the innocent and not so innocent.