Sunday, May 9, 2010

The Mom of Military "Brats"

brat-(brat)n. An ill-mannered or spoiled child

Not really sure who coined the phrase "military brat," but in the eyes of almost everyone who has heard the phrase, I've got four. In defense of the dictionary I used, the second one states, "A child of a career military person." But the word brat carries with it such a negative connotation. And military brat, even more so. But surrounded by my four "brats" today, it caused me to sit and think on this very phrase. My children look at adults in the eyes when they speak, they speak when spoken to...or we're working on that one with two in particular...they say please, thank you, yes ma'am and no sir. The boys hold doors open and my girls have "kissing knees." They ask left out children to play, they eat with napkins in their laps, they put their hand over their hearts when they play the national anthem, and the boys take off their hats when they sit at a table. They obey their coaches, music teachers, and other adults. They care about feelings and boo-boos of their siblings. They make offers of help, see needs, carry in groceries, and swiffer my floors. They pick up their messes, they pray for people, they sing together, and play hide and go seek. My brats are not ill mannered nor are they spoiled. They let the country borrow their Daddy for months at a time, they give up birthdays with him, holidays, weekends. They don't waste moments with him, they meet him for lunch, they sit in his office when he can't be at home, and they say good night on the phone instead of in person. They have learned to ride bikes and then email him to tell him. They let him miss games, dance recitals, and birthday parties. They know his job does not come first but they also know sometimes it may seem like it. No, spoiled is not the word I would use, nor ill-mannered, nor brat. They are children of a United States Marine. And I am their Mom and couldn't be prouder to have that title.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

It's more than fishing

I have to admit, I am not a big fan of fishing. It's not that I feel for the fish (although when they swallow the hook I can't watch) it's just that I don't want to do it, I don't get it, I don't find it fun. I like the quietness of it but that's about all. I don't get it. So when asked to go this afternoon, reluctantly I went. I whined in my head and to myself. There was so much I needed to be doing as a new week was staring me down the barrel. I needed to fold clothes, change the calendar, put up new vocabulary words, unpack my church bag, check lesson plans, and just little odds and ends that needed attention before our week began. Ugh. Fishing? Seriously? Why? Why do they want me to go? Usually I just sit on the golf cart cheering for the girls' casts, admiring the boys' fish, and listening to my man's explanations (I think in his noble attempt to get me to like something the whole family seems to...everyone that is, but me). I don't DO anything. Why would they want me there? Tonight, I figured if I sat there long enough and just poopy enough he would release me from my cheerleading duties and I could go home, which is really where I wanted to be. But no. I went. Reluctantly. Feet dragging. Poopy face and all. The boys were at a picnic so we left with just the girls, a container of worms, a Barbie fishing pole, a Hello Kitty one, and three real ones...just in case the boys came home and found our note declaring our whereabouts. As we pulled up to the spot near the small pond, the girls were giddy, jumping around their Daddy's feet, asking questions, sticking their own pink poles in his face, and all the while saying, "Watch us Mommy!" Why? Why did they want me to watch? It's just fishing. I've seen it 100 times, what is going to be so different that I have to watch??? I needed to be changing the calendar for tomorrow, didn't they know that? I watched. I watched them. I saw a three year old cast a line better than I ever could. A Daddy carefully folding his big hands over a small three year old's hands to show her. A little girl proving to herself that she could do something by herself that she had watched her brothers do for so long. I watched. I watched the man I adore explain fishing to his girls but so much more. He was teaching them patience, obedience, a love for the sport. He was praising them, talking to them, watching them and all the while be so patient. My poopy face watched. I watched two boys coming down the hill, so excited to have caught up to us before the adventure was over. I watched my two boys, who used to need so much help, jump right in, changing lures, casting lines, and reeling in fish. I saw my once tiny, first girl pull in her first fish then without blinking, pick it up, show it proudly to me and throw it back in. I watched a Daddy lovingly correct, demonstrate, explain the whys of it all. I watched. I watched my five favorite people laugh, exclaim, explore, talk. I watched a Daddy get all prepared to throw in his own line only to have to stop to bait a hook, untangle a line, or help a little hand reel in a fish. I saw what a great Daddy my Marine is. When he is home, he is home. I saw the fruits of his fishing trips walking down to the pond, I saw how lovingly he shares one of his passions, I saw how much he enjoys this time, and I saw what they will miss in a few short weeks when we embark on our 7th deployment. I saw this all. I saw why God created families the way He did with a Mom and a Dad because they are learning from him, things I could never teach them. I saw what a good man he is. I saw what awesome children God has given me. By God's grace, I watched. He allowed me a moment in my day to watch. My face was no longer poopy. I saw what He wanted me to see. It's more than fishing.