No Memorial Day For Us

I never know how to act when Memorial Day rolls around. This is not a day that we celebrate nor do I try to talk about it with my husband R.

He’s known too many people who have died, far too many for people in other careers. I know that R misses his friends more than actual places where we have been stationed probably more now than ever. He’s made friends here in California but can sympathize that there’s just something about living near a base. There is a sense of community that binds us together if we fight against it. Unspoken bonds like living without our spouses for months at a time and married-single-parenting. Civilians can try and want to understand but there’s nothing like knowing that every single person around you is going through something similar.

R doesn’t stop watching the news and scanning news websites even after his time in the military. He has been to nearly every corner of the world and truly immersed himself with the people and cultures wherever he’s been. Why wouldn’t he want to know?

I would not. I stopped watching the news the first time R deplolyed. Perhaps in my naivete I believed that if I didn’t see anything bad happen on TV, nothing bad was happening to R. 

When quite the opposite was happening one deployment at a time. 

Whenever he came back, he was a little different like a tiny part of his soul was stolen. I didn’t notice it at the time but after his first deplolyment in many years, R came back in 2006 changed.

I couldn’t ignore his anxiety. He would involuntary shake when he heard a car drive over the speed bump near our house too fast. I feel very fortunate that his anxiety never manifested itself violently towards me, our children, or himself. But in that moment I knew he was different. So many other new behaviors have manifested, so different from before. 

Different in a way that Memorial Day is to our family. In many ways I find it difficult to acknowledge so I don’t. I don’t complain about how Memorial Day should be about the fallen, not veterans. I don’t complain that we shouldn’t put Memorial Day and “celebration” in the same sentence. I waited for R to talk about whether or not we wanted to make plans.

He didn’t. We didn’t.

It’s probably best that way. 

The Sugar Coma Corollary 

In an effort to save money and calories, we try to limit the number of times we eat out. When we do go out though, we go out

We went to Leatherby’s, a cute ice cream shop that also serves hot food. There was so much ice cream that we had to take it home! I have to admit that my coffee ice cream sundae with hot fudge was delicious later that night. 

Another place we tried was Vampire Penguin– shaved ice! They have several locations in Northern California so if you get a chance, definitely try it out. We had strawberry cheesecake and S’moreos (s’mores made with Oreo cookies). So delicious! 


The Battle of the Bay Repetition 

A while back I found bleacher seats for a pre-season San Francisco Giants. It was pretty exciting because the Giants played the Oakland A’s!

I was just shy of my fifteenth birthday when the Giants played the A’s in the Battle of the Bay in 1989. I remember laying on the couch with my dad and brother sitting on the other couch, waiting for the game to start. We heard the garage door open. Mom was home from work and she was parking the car inside.

Suddenly there was a loud grumble. Was my mom crashing into the wall? My father yelled for my brother and I to get out of the house and into our backyard. We lived right behind a school facing the gassy field. I looked over the fence and saw the baseball game played by a bunch of neighborhood kids was frozen in time and eventually they dropped to the ground. If I wasn’t holding onto the fence, I probably would have fallen down as well. 

I was less than an hour from the epicenter of Loma Prieta earthquake. My husband R said he felt the earthquake two states away in Idaho! 

Needless to say, see the orange and green on the field brought me back. 

This was our first time in the bleachers section and fortunately for us, I found the tickets for fourteen dollars each. I knew R did not want to come. He simply couldn’t. 

R has been to one other Giants game and that experience was too much for him. His PTSD and anxiety prevented him and all of us from having any fun. I tried to alleviate the stress by asking an usher if we could sit in the seats reserved for disabled ticket holders temporarily but it didn’t help. Still, that was a huge step and triumph for R and maybe in time he’ll be able to watch another game with us. 

L, who’s seven years old, did not come with us because she gets too cold and too tired at games! Poor thing! I’m glad she was able to stay home with Daddy and keep him company.

So we brought Grandma! 

My mom has never been to a game before so it was nice to bring her along. We stopped at the commissary to buy drinks and sushi (yes, sushi) and sandwiches and sunflower seeds. You name it, we brought it because I didn’t want to pay ball park prices. I did however wanted to splurge on garlic fries. Those delicious fries are normally nine bucks but because it was the first game of the season and the registers were brand-new, they weren’t working! So I got free fries. Yum!

We got to see the A’s have batting practice before the game in the outfield. Occasionally a ball would roll away from play and fans would beg for a player to throw them the ball. My daughter and I were happily watching from the backstop. 

A teenager asked to trade places with us so he could use his contraption (made of rope, duct tape, and a cup) to retrieve one of the balls. He was so cordial that I said, “Okay, but only until you get the ball!” A few minutes later I was shocked to see that a gentleman came with a similar invention. I thought, Come on! That kid was already trying for it! 

When the teen got the ball, my daughter and I cheered. The kid turned to my daughter A and asked if she has a ball yet. A shook her head.

Then he said, “Here you go!” and gave her the ball. 

I was floored. There are many times as an educator where I am disrespected and most times I shrug it off. However, there are a few times when a kid reminds me why I still have hope for the youth. 


The Moscato Challenge

It’s pretty safe to say that this week in particular has been taxing on us all. Spring is in the air and allergy season becomes more and more debilitating to my sinuses every year. 

When I take a step back to see why we have been feeling overwhelmed, the list goes on and on. Uncertainty about full-time work the next school year. Lack of exercise. Dietary habits which could be and should be improved. The more I dwell, the more I feel anxious.

But this is life.

It’s hard to accept that sometimes, especially when you are knee deep in it.

Eventually you get to a point where you can catch your breath and see the next part of life in all of its imperfect and unwavering form.

Is it another challenge ahead, waiting to crush and destroy my spirit? Is it another bump in the road? Am I cursed to go through such hardship?

No. I’m human and this is how we live. 

Both my husband R and the middle child have been very ill this past week due to (we’re guessing) a sinus infection and a bladder infection, respectively. Also guess which one did not want to see a doctor. Wait, I take that back. Both did not want to see a doctor but one of them is an adult and did not want to see his doctor. Yeah, guess which one. 

R has begun his finals while I’m still worried about work. In fact, I shared with my husband that I was walking around the drug store and actually thought, I COULD USE A DRINK THIS EVENING.

My escape mechanism has not been alcohol in quite sometime; I prefer the sugar route myself.

Still, this is life. Stuff happens.

No, I didn’t have that drink tonight but had a good laugh with R about needing a drink. We agreed to have a drink… After his finals and again after I sign a contract! 

And life will go on. 

The Ariana Grande Experience 

A few months ago I splurged on Ariana Grande tickets for the kids. I knew there was no way in hell that my husband R would be able to sit through a concert, let alone sitting with thousands of screaming fans, so I knew it was just going to be me.

The concert was two hours away so we made a day of it, spending most of the morning at the mall. We were excited to go back to the best sushi buffet in the world. As you can see, the kids loved it. I have no idea what I would do if our kids were picky but the stranger the food the better. Yep, they ate raw seafood and pig feet.

We got to the arena to find a guy selling concert tickets for twenty bucks a pop. Before you say OH MY GOSH THAT IS WAY TOO EXPENSIVE, I knew (and was right) that concert tickets were double that price and the cut was inappropriate for little kids. (Think belly shirts.) In fact, a couple of moms stopped to ask me where I got the shirts and I happily told them: THE PARKING LOT.

I didn’t feel like spending hours in line so I took the kids to the park across the street. I anticipated we’d be in the parking lot for a while so they packed their scooters and skateboards. It was pretty cool to see them running around while the line formed.

The opening band was called Rixton, a young, fun Brit band. My seven year old was not amused. She got tired very quickly, as expected. The ten year old grew tired halfway through the concert. The boy though loved the entire experience and wore his Ariana Grande shirt with pride to school the next day. 

Did I enjoy the concert? Yes, somewhat. If there is any time to understand that saying “You’re only as happy as your saddest child” (something like that), this was it. Again, those concert tickets weren’t for me. The tickets were for them. They had fun and that’s enough for me.

The Attack on Titan Effect

I’m that mom at comic conventions who hasn’t a clue… and I love it!

I love that my kids have a passion for something and they feel secure enough to not only create homemade cosplay but to wear it proudly. You may have seen some of these pics before so I apologize for not remembering what I’ve posted and for being too lazy to check. Enjoy!

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