Life’s Moments

Do you ever feel like sometimes life stands still and you actually get to stand back and take a snapshot and really see a moment?

Do you know what I’m talking about? 

Every so often, I feel like time stands still and I have clarity and can really see and be present in that exact moment. 

Today I had one of those.

Christian returned from his Caravan journey and it was such a touching and meaningful moment, that I almost missed. I was scheduled to play a finals USTA tennis match tonight at the exact same time of his arrival.  Before he left, I had asked him if he minded me missing his homecoming because of this big game, and of course he said no.  He knows how much I love playing tennis and that our team has been doing very well. As the week went by, I was feeling worse and worse about my selfish decision to play, even though I knew my team needed me. I was so torn. Then on Thursday, I ran into an angel at Charlie’s sports camp, who asked me if I was going to be there for his arrival and I told her my story. She said I really wouldn’t want to miss this moving experience and from that moment, I knew I couldn’t play.  Luckily, the night before last, I got an email with our team lineup and there was a backup player available to cover anyone who might have an issue.

I had an issue. I had mom guilt. I couldn’t play anymore. I knew I had to be there for his arrival and couldn’t be two places at once. I wanted to be there to greet Christian and to see his face and to hear his story about his journey, first hand. Luckily, I was given a pass.

I have been anticipating his arrival all week. Today I spent a couple hours deep cleaning his room, kind of like in preparation for his arrival, as if I was having a guest come over. I think I was nesting, just like what you do before you have a baby and you want everything to be just right for the baby’s arrival. Just this time, it was my big baby’s arrival back at home again.

I wanted to do something nice for him, so I decluttered, dusted and created a clean space for him. Juliana made a welcome home sign and hung it on our garage door that said, “Welcome Home, Christian.”  We were anticipating his arrival and were so excited.

We were at church, when the Caravan crew arrived. They opened the doors and the kids and all the advisors came in and walked past us seated on the benches, to the front of the church to their reserved seats, while we sang and clapped and I cried. I kept crying because I am overly emotional and feel so deeply.

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I cried for several reasons.

I cried because I was happy to see his face again.

I cried because I was so proud of him.

I cried because I couldn’t hug him right away and wanted to touch him.

I cried because I know he grew up this week and had a life changing experience without me, which is great and wonderful and perfect, but I still felt like I missed out. I am attached and am in the process of detaching as moms should do. I just didn’t know that this was happening right now. But now I do, and I’m ok with that.  Just weepy. 😉

I cried because I was fully aware that he is growing up and becoming more independent, doing exactly what he is supposed to do. And that means that my role is changing. I felt the transition tonight. And I cried for that too. Moms of grown kids – I know you get this. I’m just beginning. I get it.  I am feeling it and it’s really ok.

I am so thankful that I ran into Colleen and she guided me to be there for the homecoming tonight. Thank you, Colleen.

I am so thankful that we belong to such a great church community, filled with love and teaching my kids to be loving and giving and providing this wonderful service opportunity for them, that is also helping them to grow up with grace. 

I am thankful that Christian is home again and that he had such a remarkable experience. I loved hearing his stories about the people he met, the work he did, and the friends that he made.  

And my tennis team, they won tonight!! I stopped by at the end of the match and was able to witness our final win in a tie break, with the lady who took my place and my partner. They all understood me and get it – they are moms too. And we’re all in this thing together. Thank you Gloria and Reid – for being great captains and for supporting my last minute change of mind. You are the best!!

Life is good!

GGG – Day 11 – Sacrifice

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The Presidio, San Francisco. November 11, 2013.

Duty, Honor, Country: Those three hallowed words reverently dictate what you ought to be, what you can be, what you will be. They are your rallying points: to build courage when courage seems to fail; to regain faith when there seems to be little cause for faith; to create hope when hope becomes forlorn. Unhappily, I possess neither that eloquence of diction, that poetry of imagination, nor that brilliance of metaphor to tell you all that they mean.

The unbelievers will say they are but words, but a slogan, but a flamboyant phrase. Every pedant, every demagogue, every cynic, every hypocrite, every troublemaker, and, I am sorry to say, some others of an entirely different character, will try to downgrade them even to the extent of mockery and ridicule.

But these are some of the things they do. They build your basic character. They mold you for your future roles as the custodians of the nation’s defense. They make you strong enough to know when you are weak, and brave enough to face yourself when you are afraid.

They teach you to be proud and unbending in honest failure, but humble and gentle in success; not to substitute words for action; not to seek the path of comfort, but to face the stress and spur of difficulty and challenge; to learn to stand up in the storm, but to have compassion on those who fall; to master yourself before you seek to master others; to have a heart that is clean, a goal that is high; to learn to laugh, yet never forget how to weep; to reach into the future, yet never neglect the past; to be serious, yet never take yourself too seriously; to be modest so that you will remember the simplicity of true greatness; the open mind of true wisdom, the meekness of true strength.

They give you a temperate will, a quality of imagination, a vigor of the emotions, a freshness of the deep springs of life, a temperamental predominance of courage over timidity, an appetite for adventure over love of ease. They create in your heart the sense of wonder, the unfailing hope of what next, and the joy and inspiration of life. They teach you in this way to be an officer and a gentleman.

And what sort of soldiers are those you are to lead? Are they reliable? Are they brave? Are they capable of victory?

Their story is known to all of you. It is the story of the American man at arms.”

– General Douglas MacArthur’s Farewell Speech
Given to the Corps of Cadets at West Point
May 12, 1962

Today is Veteran’s Day.

It is a time to pause and think about the sacrifices that have been made so that we can be free. It’s a time to honor the soldiers and their families that have been separated by duty and war, sometimes for weeks, months, years and in some cases, life.

Do you ever think about what it would be like to be deployed far away from your home and family, in uncomfortable living situations, and hot temperatures, and away from your comfortable daily routines? Sometimes I try to imagine what that sacrifice feels like. I don’t know if I could do it. I am thankful for those that have chosen and choose to fight for our freedom and to keep us safe. Thank you.

Thank you for your honor and for leading by example and for being role models and pillars of our society. Thank you for making our country safe and protecting the individual liberties that were created by our constitution.

With gratitude, thank you.

Thank you Colonel Algin Hughes, Steve Hughes, Adrian Jansen, Jeff Hartley, Nate Hartley, Steve Maline, Lenny, Joe Garner, Dave Chavez, Mike Bridges, Ben Danner, And all the other service men and women. Thank you.

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