Monday, November 5, 2012

My Florida

My life in beautiful Florida has been bittersweet.  Mixed with crystal blue-green water and sparkling, powder white sand, are the tumultuous feelings of too many goodbyes for our family.  This is the place where we had to learn that being an eternal family doesn't mean you always get to be together.  

Are you tired of reading about the woes of deployments?  What a coincidence!  So am I.  Sadly being tired of something doesn't entitle me to a break.  There are many positives that come with military life.  Rest for the weary however, isn't among them.  The country needs fighters - strong soldiers and families who can do more with less.  With the current financial situation, they work longer hours with less sleep, travel further with shorter periods home, complete missions with smaller teams, and as families, stay together without actually being together very often.  Typically those who risk the most, and have the most dangerous jobs with the highest mortality rate, have some of the lowest salaries and are away the very longest.  I don't know why it has to be like that, but it is.  

Florida has taught me that physically, we do have to let go, and often.  However with patience and slow but steady growth, I've learned those goodbyes are temporary.  We are an eternal family, we made promises in one of God's holy temples, and were blessed that living up to those promises means the bonds of marriage and family will never break.  After all those goodbyes, I know, never doubting, that we will always be reunited.  He will always come home.  And if that worst of all fears happens, and the dearest cost of war touches our family, one day I will come home to him.  No goodbye is final, no separation permanent.  Sometimes the happiness we have together seems brief, but I know I'll have it again.

My mother warned me of possible perils of looking only towards homecomings, and forgetting to live in between.  She is wise and so I have tried to stay happy both when our family is all together and when it is not.  However any of you who have experienced something like this know, that while you continue on with your life, and keep smiling, moving, and living day by day, you're still secretly, acutely aware of that calendar.

If you find this difficult to understand, imagine going without something you love, and use everyday.  Take daily hot showers, for example.  For reasons you don't want, like, or completely understand, you have been told you will not be allowed to shower for a period of four months.  Imagine how that last week of showers before the moratorium begins will mean to you.  Imagine how you'd feel if you were interrupted during those last few showers, or for some reason had to shorten a few of them.  Then imagine that first morning where you crawled out of your warm bed into the chilly morning, and then couldn't go take one.  All day you'd try not to think about it, but you'd be keenly aware of your oily hair, a bit self conscious of your smell, and would probably feel like you were holding up a sign that said, "Yes, it's true, I didn't shower today!"

Now add time to our little example.  As time continues, a part of you would adjust to the change in daily habit.  However do you think there will ever be a day where you can completely forget that you haven't had a shower in days, weeks, or months?  Do you think you'd be able to avoid thinking about that first blissful moment when showers are a part of your life again?  Add to that the complication that you cannot shower or bathe your children either.  Everywhere you go you'd feel like "the stinky family", and in all your misery, you'd have the additional challenge of keeping your kids happy, despite reminding them they still can't play with rubber duckies.  You'd have to listen to them cry about how much they miss bubbles, and splashing warm water at the end of a long day.  How about all those clean people around you, who feel they should give you regular advice about how to not think about showers?  Some of them will even put on sympathetic faces, and oh-so-sweetly say that considering everything you've gone through, you really don't smell that bad.  And because you are a kind, polite person, you're supposed to show genuine gratitude towards those well scrubbed friends with all the advice.

I bet just reading that makes you want to go shower again today!  Me too.    

Oh my sweet, beautiful, Florida, how much I have learned, grown, and changed while strolling your shores!  I don't know how much longer we'll be together, and though not all of our memories are happy, I am at least grateful for the beauty, experience, and wisdom you have given me.  If I could pause time, where my babies are young and sweet, and my husband is home and we are all together, I'd choose that perfect moment to be here, with you!  

Sadly I cannot freeze time for us.  But of all the places to be both happy and sad, it's pretty easy to say this is the best one.  And while I cannot actually live that wonderful frozen moment, thanks to my talented friend, Kaycee, we can at least know what that moment would look like!  Looking at it isn't the same as living it, but it's close.

And to my constant and forever best friend, remember we'll always be at home waiting, loving, and smiling thinking of you, no matter how often you have to leave, or wherever you go.    


  1. You are in inspiration to everyone who knows you. I am so proud of the woman you have become (and I'm crazy about your kids.)