Sunday, May 27, 2018
I'll never forget the evening my daughter first asked what I thought about her joining the Navy. She had dropped by the house for a visit. We were talking about everything and nothing at all. The year before, she had made the decision not to go back to OSU even though she had been accepted into the Interior Design school. Her oldest brother had died a tragic death her sophomore year and she was struggling with the uncertainties of life. She got an apartment a few block from our home and had been working at a bank. A co-worker had a son who was in the Navy and after hearing her stories about his experience, Aja felt God leading her in a different direction.... "What would you say if I told you I was thinking of joining the Navy?" she asked... "I think it would be a great opportunity." I responded. "It will do one of two things... It will make you or break you." I think she was surprised by my response and had I known she would actually follow through with it, I might have been more hesitant. There sat my girlie girl with her perfectly coiffed hair and nails. "You know you'll be like Goldie Hawn in Private Benjamin don't you? I think you put me in the wrong place.... I signed up for the one that had the really nice condos." I laughed. I loved that movie. Little did I know that God would take her on the journey of a lifetime. I saw her pushed to her emotional, physical, and spiritual limits only to bounce back with tenacity. Her body was so broken by the time she graduated boot camp, She actually finished the most difficult 48 hours of boot camp with an untreated broken leg. It was over a year or longer before her feet and legs began to heal and she could walk without being in severe pain. I think even she was surprised by her determination to beat the odds. Upon
graduating she was given a pre-commission on the USS DDG102 Sampson which was a huge honor for someone of her rank. She attended A school in San Diego and was trained as a Sonar Tech. After A school she went to Bath Maine to work on the Sampson as it was being built. She accompanied the ship back to it's home port once it was sea worthy and prepared for deployment. We had the privilege of being in San Diego to welcome her and the crew back to US soil. It took FORR-EVER for the ship to make it to dock once it was within eyesight. To hug her and touch her and to know she was home safe was the best feeling on earth. While we were visiting a memorial she said to me.... "You know Mom, I never understood how someone could believe in something so much that they were willing to lay down their life for it. But having been to all the different countries during deployment, I totally get it now. We live in the greatest nation on earth." As a Mom, I couldn't be more proud of her. The time she spent in the military wasn't an easy journey, but it is one she does not regret. I thank God every day that he brought her back home safe and sound. Many Mothers cannot say the same. How much does Freedom cost? IT COST EVERYTHING!! Not only does it cost everything, it is not something you can sit back and just take for granted. A sleeping nation can easily have their freedoms ripped right out from under them. Do I have a problem with water boarding terrorist? Hmm, let me think about that.... No. I have pictures seared in my brain of my daughters mangled body after graduating boot camp. I have pictures of her red face and eyes swollen shut from being sprayed with military grade pepper spray. My heart sank when she described being put in a gas chamber. It's not a stretch to say their training is nothing less than torture. Do I think it's a smart move for our nation to be cognitive of individuals entering out country? I think it's a very smart move. It's not enough to be grateful, we must be actively taking steps to assure that our children and grandchildren have freedom in the future. I am proud to be an American, but I'm not sure all Americans appreciate what they have, understand how they got it, or are aware of how much what they have cost. It would be nice if this Memorial Day we took a collective moment from our political bickering to unite as a nation in a simple act of gratitude and acknowledgement that in the words of my daughter.... We live in the greatest nation on earth. It didn't come easy, just ask someone whose loved one made the ultimate sacrifice.... That's the cost of freedom.
Monday, February 19, 2018
Friday, February 9, 2018
Monday, January 8, 2018
Exactly 8 years ago New Year’s Day, I had a freak accident which resulted in a TBI. Although the accident was terrifying for my family and friends who saw it happen. The most difficult part for me was the recovery. For months, or to some extent years, I felt disconnected not only from myself, but also from those around me. While I tried to pretend everything was normal, things most certainly were not. I had lost myself and the journey to finding myself was a long lonely road. Having been plagued with a fear of trying new things all my life, I was suddenly not afraid of anything. In a way it was a blessing because fear is crippling. During my recovery, the trepidation I usually felt when faced with something different, wasn't there. This wasn’t necessarily healthy. During that time, I'd try anything. I'm surprised I didn't join a traveling circus. I did things I would have never thought of doing before the injury. As I began to recover, the fear slowly return, although not as severe. The last couple of month of 2017 was a difficult time for my family. My husband and dad both faced health issues, some of which were scary. I had/have work stresses that were and new peppered with anxiety. At the end of December, I decided to try something totally out of my comfort zone. At first, my family thought it wasn't a good time. My thought was maybe a challenge is just what I need to take my mind off things I can’t control. Having made the decision, it is very apparent that I am no longer living in the “Wonderland” of no worries. I have battled the decision with the conversation sounding like this.
"You can't do this!… You need to do this… You don’t belong!… This will be a great experience… You are a fish out of water!… It will be fine."
This is the first time I’ve had this much trepidation since the TBI. I liked it much better when those nagging little doubts were silent and I floated past my insecurities into unknown territory without a care in the world. Apparently, I had come to appreciate certain aspects of my “Alice in Wonderland” mentality. My husband calls me Jac 2.0. The “Alice in Wonderland” side was fearless and fun loving. She was an up for anything kind of gal. Who would have thought there was a “good side” to having a TBI. I start 2018 hoping I can face my fears, conquer them, and come out better on the other side. Maybe it will be the best of both worlds.