Archive for the ‘Family’ Category

The Hardest Job in the World

8 November 2011 – 20:16 CDT

While our soldiers come home too often unseen, you are the ones waiting at the airport for your husband, the kids for dad, that no one notices.  You’ve gone to bed so many lonely nights you wish you could lose count, praying and crying alone to God the phone doesn’t ring, that there will be no knock at the door tonight.

For a months, often a year or more, life at home has kept moving.  There are still carpools for school, soccer games, ballet lessons, birthdays, bedtimes, bike rides, bandaids, broken bones, and more.

You manage to keep the house running as a single parent.  You hear the little ones say, “I miss dad, when’s he coming home?” and your heart breaks just a little each time.  You miss him too but have to be strong and brave for him, for them.

Like your solider man, you volunteered for this assignment.  You knew what you were getting into, but no one ever remembers you.  No one ever says “thank you.”  You’d be grateful if they just remembered him every now and again.  For your family, the yellow ribbon isn’t just a magnet – it is your husband, the father of your children, your best friend.

You have the hardest job in the world.  You are a military wife and mom.

from Flyover Country, thank you.

Video c/o @ajenable and family.

Changing Channels

9 October 2011 – 21:30 CDT

We’re constantly subjected to the debasing of our culture.  Somehow, it seems to me that things are in fact getting worse.  The other night I tried to watch a new show called ‘Broke Girls’.  The promos made it look funny, what could it hurt?  Within the first 5 minutes there were several blatant sexual anatomical references by one of the female leads.  I turned it off.  If you really need this to make your show popular, maybe you should hire better writers.

Unfortunately, this isn’t isolated.  My TiVo recorded a suggestion, and I put it on because I was bored.  Again, within the first 5 minutes one of the secondary characters broke into to gross, anatomically descriptive sexual humor while talking to his daughter-in-law.  There was no innuendo here – it was in your face.  Again, I was turned off and turned the show off.

Are the writers really so poor, the pool of new show ideas so shallow this is what TV has turned into?  An adults-only stand-up comedy act?  I won’t go see stage comics or improv shows because I don’t need to hear 90 minutes of material written merely for the shock value.

At some point, men have to stand up and be men.  We have to say “enough.”  Enough swearing and other disrespectful language, enough of the locker room humor in mixed company.  We owe the women in our lives more respect and more class than that, guys.  I have failed, and am guilty of using language I should not have.  I will be apologizing for my mouth, and then I’m changing the channel.

Political Events Aren’t Always About Politics

25 September 2011 – 14:00 CDT

Sitting in the Orlando airport yesterday, waiting to go home after attending Presidential 5 (P5) and CPAC Florida.  Looking back, I learned a few things:

  • To identify a type of women’s shoe called a ‘wedge’.  Until now I only knew it as what liberals did to voting blocs.
  • The blue koi fish?  Not blue.  They dyed the water.  Cheaters.
  • Probably don’t need dinner reservations for 4:30 in the afternoon.  Not even the senior citizens have shown up yet.
  • Something about pineapple.  I’m not sure what, exactly, because it went over my head.  More than once.

For many, political events like P5 and CPAC are all about the politics.  For as anti-social as I say I am, this is a chance to meet a few more people in person I know only from the twitterverse, and to spend time with dear friends I rarely see – just being in the same room … just being.

For all of the facebooking, twittering, and texting we do to stay in touch, they are not a substitute to absorb sage advice that wouldn’t make sense in any other format, to share a meal or a drink, hear someone laugh out loud, to see them smile.  Hold onto those moments and cherish them.  For it is here we find that we are not political beings.  We were, in reality, designed to be relational.

Winnie the Pooh

17 July 2011 – 20:25 CDT

“Winnie the Pooh” seems like an unusual topic for a guy to write about.  Even more unusual that he would go see the movie.  For 90 minutes or so, I wanted to forget that I was an adult.  I wanted to forget that I’d just worked a long 60 hour week, and that I’m avoiding more work I have to get done before Monday and what is sure to be another long week.

I thought this was going to be a post about seeing a little bit of ourselves in each of A.A. Milne’s characters.  The outgoing Tigger; Owl always with some bit of knowledge; high-strung Rabbit worried about his garden; Pooh ever-conflicted between finding some honey and helping his friends; Eeyore who struggles to see that there is anything in the glass at all, never mind whether it is half-empty or half-full.

Sometimes, I want to see a movie without thinking about drugs, sex, violence, lie upon destructive lie that tears apart people and relationships, people cheating on their girlfriend/wife/boyfriend/husband, really nasty people like Carolyne in ‘The Other Woman‘ with ugly hearts who take pleasure in hurting other people.

Sometimes, I want to remember something good from when I was a kid – a time when life wasn’t so complicated.  It was, but I try to pretend that it wasn’t.

Sometimes, I want the world to stop for a few minutes so I can try – despite knowing better – to fix the things I’ve broken, and repair the things about me that are broken.

Sometimes, I want to forget for a time this is not how life was supposed to turn out.

That was last night.  Today, a very serious reality check that I don’t believe is at all a coincidence.

I sat down this afternoon to watch Lt Dan Band – For the Common Good, a documentary about Gary Sinise’s work for the USO and on behalf of the troops.  The movie opens with scenes from the morning of September 11, 2001.  I’d very nearly forgotten that two wars we’re in started with planes flying into buildings.

As I’m watching this, there are parts that make me cry.  The song one of the Lt Dan Band singers wrote for the troops, and just how she felt like she wasn’t worthy to write it, who was she?

I am your son, I am your daughter
I stand for freedom and for honor
And I am brave, my love is pure
And I’d sacrifice my life for yours

I completely fell apart and wept openly when they interviewed Ginger Gilbert, wife of fallen Air Force major Troy Gilbert.  He was an F-16 pilot killed in theatre just after my brother-in-law, also a viper pilot, arrived for his first tour in Iraq.  As Ginger tells it, her husband saved 22 lives on the ground and lost his own.

As I put last year’s Honor Flight videos together, I wanted to honor Major Gilbert and Capt Giglio, killed on a night training mission while my brother-in-law was working the flight in the control tower.  Yet, who am I?  To see some of the same images in this documentary that I used was extremely humbling to say the least.

It isn’t that life doesn’t suck in a lot of ways, and there aren’t things I wish I knew how to change.  A father lost two sons on 9/11 – one a NYPD cop, one a FDNY fire fighter.  Ginger lost her husband, their kids lost their father, and the country lost a hero.  I can imagine at some point she must have thought “…this isn’t how life was supposed to turn out.”