Sunday, February 20, 2011

Held Captive

This is why we turned off our cable.  Or, part of the reason.  Because I was being held captive by the TV.  And now that I’ve realized I can watch pretty much anything that held me captive on cable on the internet, I’m held captive again.  I love Grey’s Anatomy.  I can’t help it.  And usually, I watch it with a friend who lives nearby.  We have our weekly TV/wine/bitch night.  She has three kids and I have two – all under the age of six.  And with kids these ages and husbands who work unpredictable schedules and whose workdays involve hurtling through the air at subsonic (but still ridiculously fast) speeds, we drink a fair amount of wine.  And I look forward to this night.

But I haven’t been able to go in a few weeks.  Tonight, because both of our husbands are at the same “all dude” event with the squadron – one of the rare non-family events.  So I cannot go to her house because if I did, that would be considered neglectful (with the kids upstairs asleep and all).  As a result, I’ve been catching up on the internet.  And it’s silly because I’m sitting here thinking, “the Major is gone, I should go take a long warm bath… or I should go read… or something…”  But instead, I’m stuck here watching episode after episode of Grey’s.  And it’s good.  But it’s wasteful of my on most precious resource — free time.  And I could just turn it off… but, no, actually, I cannot. DAMMIT.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Vacation Days

I don’t really understand how Turbo’s school plans their schedule.  It seems like we pay the same amount each month, but each month has a completely random number of school days, based on the whims and vacation plans of the staff.  I imagine their calendar planning sessions might go like this:

Random Administrator #1:  Oh, cool, look.  February 21st is Presidents’ Day.  So we don’t have to have those pesky kids here that day.

Random Administrator #2:  Awesome.  Oh hey, I was thinking of taking a long weekend to go to San Diego and check out some of the new bars. Think we could make Friday a holiday too, then?

RA1:  Sure, I don’t see why not.  It isn’t like we’ll make any less money just for having fewer school days!

RA2:  I almost feel bad for the parents who still have to work on those days… what will they do with their kids?

RA1:  Not our problem!

RA2:  Right you are!

(High five each other and then chest bump.)

Seriously – what am I supposed to do with my kids when their schools are closed but my company is still open?  How do other parents deal with this?

I regained my sanity by going back to work 60%.  That means 24 hours a week, people… it isn’t a lot.  I have no idea how moms with full time jobs can possibly pull it off.  And my kids are tiny – how do you deal with school schedules that run from 8am to 2pm when work is from 7:30 to 4:30??  I’m beginning to wonder if I’ll end up being a “stay at home” mom when my kids start “real school” because I’ll have no other choice.  How do other moms handle this?  I don’t think the Major would be too pleased to hear that I plan to quit when Turbo enters kindergarten – and frankly, I think I’d lose my mind staying home full time!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Ignorance is Bliss

Ten Aces with a Queen

My grandfather was an Army Air Corps pilot.  He flew a B-24 “liberator” in World War II.  He was part of the 445th Bomb Group, stationed at Tibenham, England.  Today is the 67th anniversary of his death.

When I married a military pilot, my grandmother lost her ability to speak to me for a while.  The first time she fully tried to grasp what, exactly, this man I was going to marry did in the Marine Corps, she clarified a couple times – “He’s a pilot?” “I mean, he flies planes into combat?”  I saw dark shadows pass across her eyes as I confirmed that yes, this man I loved had the same job as a man that she loved many years ago – the man she could no longer talk about or even acknowledge aloud.

I learned about my grandfather from my mom and from her grandmother.  That was my great-grandma.  I have fond memories of her, though I always suspected that she liked my brother more than she cared for me.  How could I know, as a child, that when she looked at my brother she probably saw shadows of her lost son?  My brother looked just like my grandfather as a boy.  That woman, my great-grandma, lost two boys to World War II.  A third, “Uncle Bill,” was kept from “joining up” as a result.  I cannot imagine what she went through during those times. I often look at my boys and hope that they don’t think they should follow their dad’s footsteps.

Today I shared the smallest glimpse of what my grandmother might have endured, in reading the journal my grandfather kept during flight training, and in reading the letters sent home by the men who flew with him.  There was a picture of her in black at a memorial parade held soon after his death.  I stared at it for a long time, trying to read her face.  Part of me marveled that she had participated in this (there were four widows at the front of the procession), as I cannot recall her ever acknowledging my mom’s father, but she’d probably gotten to her silence gradually.

My mother was born two weeks exactly before her father was killed by the flak that entered the cockpit during a bombing mission over France.  As she was beginning to see those who loved her for the first time, I imagine many of their faces were torn with conflict — joy at this new life, and grief for the father she’d never have the opportunity to know.

The strangest part of reading the documents and looking at the photos was realizing the date.  It was a complete coincidence that I was going through these things today of all days – the anniversary of his death.

I can’t pretend to know what it is like to lose your spouse to war.  I can only hope that my ignorance will continue.  Given The Major’s current career path, the odds are good that he won’t deploy again, so my ignorance is likely to continue.