Wednesday, August 08, 2012

a year later...

 my son and his girlfriend at Dallas MEPS

Last year at this time I was sitting in a rather surreal place, Dallas MEPS , with my son, his girlfriend and my husband. Well, actually, for most of the time our son was off doing his final processing to leave for Navy boot camp. All around me were young people with stickers on their chests... Army, Air Force, Navy, USMC, even a few with Coast Guard~ all of them set to embark on a life-changing adventure that very day. Dallas MEPS is, of course, huge. There were lots of kids (yes, they sure looked like kids) and family members. But some were alone. That made me sad.

I thought to myself, if the nervous energy in this building could be harnessed, it could power a city.
The future sailors, airmen, marines, soldiers and coasties were at turns joking, laughing and often quiet and obviously a bit fearful and reflective. They were all about to enter a great unknown, a time of trial and then on different schooling and then off to serve their country. They looked so young.

My son, came out and sat with us from time to time. He was exhausted. The night before he had been in a hotel with a large group of Navy recruits. His recruiter had driven him down mid-afternoon the day before. And that was the first good-bye. We joined him that evening for dinner and then good-bye number 2. Next was the BIG good-bye, the REAL good-bye. I was not looking forward to that.

We watched as his group was called and sworn-in. It was very moving. The room was packed and every parent must have felt the the same sense of pride and sorrow that washed over me.

Finally, after several heart wrenching hours at MEPS, groups began to be called. The young, brave  men and women began to line up. Buses filled the parking lot downstairs. Finally it was our son's turn to stand in that line with his sad little sack of deodorant, toothbrush and phone charger~ and his first set of military order clutched in his hand. He looked tired and he looked 12 years old. He was 18.

As his group left the building one way, we family members made a stunned, nearly silent exit to the bus area. Huge buses sat running, with doors open like great, hungry jaws set to swallow up our children. So we got our quick hugs. I was strong, no crazy crying, but tears in my eyes and a lump the size of the moon in my throat. The girlfriend, poor thing, fell apart. I understood.♥

And then my son, my sweet, sweet boy stepped onto that huge bus bound for DFW airport and into his future. My heart has never quite repaired the rift. There is a tender place in it that aches for him always.

A year has passed, amazingly, astonishingly!! I saw my son at his PIR (boot camp graduation), at Christmas for 9 wonderful days, and at his Nuclear Field A School graduation in February. We are going to see his graduation from Nuclear Power School in September. You have only to read a bit of this blog to know how much I miss him and how proud I am of him. He strong, brave, smart and independent. He is a 3rd Class Petty Officer in the U.S. Navy studying in what is known to be one of the most challenging programs in U.S. military. He has accomplished so much in one short year. And I have learned to treasure every phone call, text, FB message and rare visit.
Onward and upward my sweet, brave boy!♥


Monday, August 06, 2012

Do what you need to do♥

I painted yesterday. Nothing amazing, just a small seascape,
but I haven't painted in years. It was a joyful experience!

See, here's the thing~ I have 4 kids, big kids now...
27 (married), 23 (out on her own), 19 (in the US Navy)
and only my baby, 16, remains at home.
Home has been sort of empty. There are ghostly echoes
of laughter and spats, kids romping down the stairs like 
wild ponies. The dinner table broke my heart on a daily basis~
6 chairs with only 2 or 3 filled most days now. I did get smart
and move 2 chairs out. It did my soul good to remove those 
empty chairs. 

Look, I'm grateful and blessed beyond any worldly measure.
My kids are doing well. Healthy birds do indeed leave the nest.
But it has been a rough year in spite of my certainty that things
are as they should be. My 2 oldest fledglings are close by. 
My Navy son is in South Carolina for now. I have seen him once
since Christmas. I miss him so much every day. 
My youngest son, still at home, is the quiet type.
So here is this house, settling down and feeling a bit bereft.
   The upstairs with the neglected gameroom, 2 empty bedrooms...
ghostly, I tell you! 

On Friday I decided to move my studio space from our unused dining room
into my daughter's large, sunny upstairs room. I'd been kicking 
the idea around for a while, but suddenly it was the right time.
And now, I am settled in, perched in this pretty space that has a 
treehouse feel about it. Outside the large window a pistachio tree
nearly brushes the panes. I can see into it's branches 
and I feel so lofty up here!! Morning light spills across
a lace covered table. It is a peaceful room, but bright 
with possibilities! 

So yesterday I painted! I have not painted anything in years. 
In this room I have an area to make jewelry and also
a place to paint and do other projects. I even have space
for my treasured vintage books! 
I needed to do this, to move forward and fill this house
again with sunshine and joy. 
This is my life and it demands I live it well.
For me, this means being grateful and being creative.
It is the way my soul sings.



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