I usually am. (Late to the party, that is.) There was a time when I actually got things done according to schedule, and even arrived early for appointments, but --gosh, how long ago was that? Oh, right. About two years. Hm. Interesting.
At any rate, when Bob and I first started kicking around the idea of writing complementary Veteran's Day posts, I thought -- yay! It'll be the first time we're actually going to use the blog in the way that we thought we'd use it from the beginning -- to share two different viewpoints on issues that impact the family unit. He posted his Veteran's Day entry yesterday morning. Then waited. And waited. Then went to sleep.
Sometimes I can sneak in late-night blogging when the baby is in bed. Last night? Nope. Passed out ten minutes after she did. "I'll just do it in the morning, when my brain is actually working," I thought.
K had other plans. She woke up yelling at 2am, I went to her room and tried to comfort her/keep her company/hold her/etc until 3:30, and which point I grew tired of contorting my body so that I was partly on the floor, partly on a toddler mattress. She tricked me into thinking she was going back to sleep a couple of times, but at the slightest twitch? MOM I'M NOT ASLEEP YET WHERE ARE YOU GOING??? OMG!!! WERE YOU GOING TO ABANDON ME? LET ME SCREAM SO THAT I CAN EXPRESS TO YOU HOW UPSETTING THIS IS TO ME.
Finally, Bob (who has to get up at 4:40am to get ready for work) hauled her little butt over into the bed with us. Was this her goal all along? Most definitely. Did we care at that point? No. We were tired. She lay there in between us, wide-awake and pleased with herself, for at least another hour before finally crashing again.
All this to say: yeah, that meaningful, coherent blog entry I was going to write about Veteran's Day? Hahahaha. Instead, here are some bullet points. Sorry, crew. It's the best I can do without a crapton of coffee.
Pros/Cons of Growing Up with a Military (Air Force! Woot!) Father:
Pro: The Christmas Parties. Santa flew in every year on a fighter jet. We all waited eagerly in the hangar, fingers-firmly-plugging-ears, for him to land and distribute our gifts.
Con: It's really tough to be impressed by/care about regular Santas (Aw, your sleigh is pulled by reindeer? How quaint.) when you're used to a Santa who is such a badass.
Pro: The postcards/gifts/etc that arrive in the mail when your dad goes to training or to work on special projects in fun places. Like Arkansas. Or Alaska. Or Texas. Or . . . exotic Alpena, Michigan. When he was in Texas he sent me one of those postcards with a Jackalope on it, and -- parents, don't do that to your kid. I really believed that those existed in Texas. Like Santa, I spent a long time thinking it was totally real. Another time I got a neat t-shirt with a bear on it. Another time I got a rock. (. . . when I say these things out loud they do not, in fact, sound like awesome gifts. At the time? I loved them.)
Con: See Jackalope note. Also? It stinks when your dad is gone. After the novelty of "No dad around to enforce rules! Party time!" wore off (and it wore off pretty quickly) we missed him like crazy.
Pro: Sunday brunch at the Officer's Club. It's been at least a dozen years and I can still remember that buffet vividly. Mmmm.
Con: Weight issues? No. Probably unfair to blame that one on the military. Semi-relatedly, as much fun as it was to go on base for things like obscene amounts of breakfast foods, it was less fun when my dad insisted on driving us hours out of our way to visit other bases. (Visiting Tucson? Let's just take a quick jaunt two hours up the road in the desert in the summer so that I can show you girls where I did my flight training!)
Pro: The uniforms, and the endless dress-up play potential they provided. Is there anything cooler than stepping into your dad's combat boots and BDU jacket with your last name on it! when you're a little girl? Maybe. But it was totally awesome.
Con: My dad has been gone for a decade now and I still have most of his gear. It's like a little tiny stab in the heart whenever I look in the back of my closet.
Pro: I understood, from a very early age, that what my dad did was special and something to be proud of. We knew why he was in the military and what he was prepared to do should the country ever need it. We were incredibly proud of him.
Con: It was terrifying to understand that it would only take a phone call to take dad away from us, maybe for a long time, maybe for forever. As scary as this was when my mom was alive, it became truly horrifying after she died. A war might have meant that we lost the only other parent we had. Definite con.
Thanks, Dad, for doing what you did. And for that rock. It was a neat one.
(And here's a picture of my other favorite veteran, because -- on a lighter note -- isn't he crazy handsome? Don't get any ideas, ladies. This one is mine ;-)