The Love of a Child

I miss my kids terribly.

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology I still get to talk to them essentially every day, and I usually get to see them through video chat.  I’m not sure if this actually makes the whole thing easier or harder, but I enjoy it either way.

On my way to church this morning I called to talk to them as they would be in bed before I got home from church.  I was only really able to talk to my wife and one daughter as the reception was pretty crappy.  

About a half an hour after getting to church my wife messaged me saying that my oldest really wanted to talk to me.  Once they were in better cell coverage she called and I was able to talk to her.

She told me about the fun they had had at Lake Tahoe that day, and the good time she had with a friend the night before at a show for her birthday.  She also told me she missed me and she loved me.

It was a simple conversation that lasted barely five minutes, but I know it meant a lot to both of us.  It is important to connect, even if only briefly, with those we love on a regular basis.

She has such a tender heart and I am always in awe of the love she is able to express to me in so many different ways.  It is totally pure and unfettered by any of the cares of the world.  She has no ulterior motive other than wanting to share some time with someone she loves.

I am not around nearly as much as I would like thanks to work and these long absences, but I am eternally grateful for the love of a child that gets me through these challenging times.

What are you grateful for?

School Starting

So this gratitude is really just an extension of my wife’s gratitude, but as it brought her great joy, I too am grateful for it.

Our two oldest kids started school today!

While it is not a total break for my wife yet, she still cut her responsibility in half on a daily basis.  I am happy to report that the kids had a great time getting settled into their new school.

I remember being a kid and always being excited to go back to school.  By the end of summer I was generally bored and just wanted something to do so school was a welcome distraction.

I am so glad that my wife will have more freedom now, and I will be even more excited when the other two start in about a month.  I meant to pull the picture from her Facebook page to show how excited she was, but the computer is off so that will have to wait for tomorrow.

Some of the greatest joy we can experience in life is celebrating the joys of others, which is why today I am grateful for school starting so my wife can get a little break.

What are you grateful for?

The Movie “A Beautiful Mind”

This is a movie that I have watched many times before, and always really enjoyed.  If you have not seen A Beautiful Mind, I highly recommend it.  The short version of the story is that it is about John Nash who was a brilliant mathematician who won the Nobel Prize for his work.  He was also a paranoid schizophrenic.

While those details would probably be enough to make a pretty decent movie, the story really is not about those aspects of his life, though they do make up most of the movie.  The real heart of the movie is that it is a love story.  I watched an interview with Ron Howard, the director, and he said as much.

When I first watched the movie, probably 15 years or so ago, I acknowledged the love story, but that was not the interesting part to me.  I was more interested in the power of this man’s mind to overcome his delusions and continue living, though it was a long hard struggle until the day he died.

I think my current situation brought the whole love story into greater relief for me when I watched it today.  Nash’s wife is the reason he was able to overcome such impossible odds and continue to do great work.  She stuck by him despite incredible challenges, and unbelievable struggles.

LYN_5965_3Living without my Queenie for the last three weeks has only deepened my love and appreciation for her.  Not to say that I wouldn’t have preferred spending that time with her, but I have come to realize just how much she does for me personally that I don’t think I ever fully appreciated before now.  Not to mention all that she does for our kids in keeping them busy, fed, educated, clean, etc.

I’m not talking about all of the cooking and cleaning she does either, though I definitely miss her cooking right now.  I’m not even talking about her efforts to keep me socially engaged, which is pretty much the only way that happens.

I am talking about the way that she has become every bit a part of me as much as any of my other body parts, and probably even more so for she has truly become a part of my heart and soul.

I received a blessing back when I was a teenager that told me to look for a wife (someday, not when I was 16) that would be congenial to my soul.  At the time I don’t think I knew what that really meant, nor do I know that I fully appreciated it when I married her.  But, it has become very clear to me in the last three weeks exactly what that means.

I am not even sure that I have the words to explain how that feels to me right now, but I guess the simplest way to describe it is that I feel like a part of me is missing.  Not a physical part of me as much as an emotional and spiritual part of me.  It really is challenging for me to describe it in words.

We have spent significant time apart before, including four months when I was deployed a few years back, and even then it didn’t hit me this bad, and I think I know why.  In every other case I knew when I would see her again.  Even though that return date got moved on occasion courtesy of broken planes or weather, there was always a day for me to look forward to.

But not this time.

I know the day will come, and I have faith that it will be sooner than later, and definitely not even the four months we endured before, but not knowing is just killing both of us inside.  It is like waiting for a package to come without any kind of tracking so who knows when it will get there, only the package is your eternal companion, and is way more important than anything you could order on Amazon.

I’m not really sure why a movie moved me as much as it did today, especially when I have seen it multiple times and knew what was going to happen, but I am glad that it did.  I am grateful for the movie A Beautiful Mind for helping me to better understand just how essential a part of my life my Queenie is.

What are you grateful for?

Happiness

I was a little surprised with myself when I picked this topic to be grateful for today.  I have not been exceptionally happy recently, but at the same.time I have much to be happy about.

I have a beautiful wife and children that I love dearly, and that love me in return.  I get to talk to them pretty much daily, and seeing them on video makes me so happy.  

I have a good job that supports my family well and provides all of the income that I need, and then some.  I get to work around airplanes, though not as much as I would like right now, and I work right next to a runway where I regularly get to see planes, which always makes me happy.

The biggest airshow in the world is going on right now at EAA Airventure in OshKosh, Wisconsin, and while I can’t be there personally, I get to live vicariously through the many friends that I have that are there.  It is easy to be happy when you get to share in the happiness of others.

As I write this I realize it is really just another list of many things I am grateful for, but isn’t that really what happiness is all about?  Acknowledging the great things that you have in your life and allowing them to bring you joy?

It is so vitally important that we always look for the good and joy in our lives, especially when they get hard, and that is why today I am grateful for happiness.

What are you grateful for?

Exercise

I know I just talked about this a couple of days ago but it needs to be said again.  

I was having kind of a crappy day essentially pitting myself that I am away from my family.  I decided to go and see a.movoe to at least get out of the house for a little bit, and it was really disappointing.

Fortunately, I had just enough time left to run over to the gym for a quick workout.  I got in and lifted and then ran a little bit, and in under an hour I was on my way.  It is amazing how much all around better I felt after that short little trip.

I know there is science behind all of that with endorphins and other happy juice that make you feel better, but I think in this case there was also the value of doing something productive.  I just needed to get out and do something to better myself instead of wallowing in self pity.

I know my sadness from being apart will not leave completely until we are together again, but I am grateful that today some exercise broke me out of some of the discomfort.

What are you grateful for?

Grass

It is amazing how many simple things in my life I take for granted.  While many of these simple things are not Earth shattering things they are the things that help to keep our life in balance.

Oftentimes I think I get so caught up in the complicated and exciting things that I want that I forget how awesome it can be to live a simple life.  

Tonight I had the opportunity to sit outside behind my parent’s house on the grass and just chat.  After leaving in Japan where the humidity is insane and the grass is not in anyway soft it was something I had forgotten how much I love.  I just sat and laid in the grass loving every minute of it.

I think it helps to take me back to my childhood and how much time I spent in the grass.  Playing sports, working in the yard, or just laying around talking with family or friends, it really didn’t matter but many of my favorite memories involve grass.

Im not sure why so many of us choose to complicate our lives with stuff and things, but for just one night it was wonderful to just keep it simple.  That’s why today I am grateful for grass.

What are you grateful for?

Relaxing

One of the most important parts of any vacation is relaxing.  However, I’m pretty sure most of us have experienced vacations where we just go and go the whole time we are gone to the point that when we get home we need a vacation to recover from our vacation.  

While my current vacation has not really been that way, today was one of the more relaxing days we have had.  We had a great breakfast at a local joint with massive cinnamon rolls and pancakes and all around yummy food.  

This is what I call breakfast!

We then went for a short canoe trip on the lake, I came back and took a nap, and then we went and cooked dinner for the rest of our family.  To end the evening I watched a little TV and started packing up for our departure.

It can be really easy to pack every minute of a vacation.  When you spend that much time and money to go somewhere you want to make sure that you make the most of that time.  It is equally important to take some of that time to relax and unwind.

We are given vacation days for a reason, even if it does seem to be getting harder and harder to take them.  Our body needs to rest and recover from all the stress we face at work and home.  

It has been great to get out and do so many fun things with my family the last few weeks, but today I am grateful I was able to just spend some time relaxing.

What are you grateful for?