a preface: I was up and couldn't sleep and this just came to me and wouldn't quit bugging me 'til I wrote it out. I'm pretty sure that the things I write in the middle of the night might come out kind of convoluted and weird, so--in advance--I am asking for your forbearance!
I can't sleep (too much tea at supper, I suppose) so I am up cleaning up the kitchen. At one point, I was thinking about something I have to do in the near future. I looked up at the calender and realized that it is the 26th of January. On this day--25 years ago--I gave my oath of enlistment and joined the United States Air Force. As a matter of fact, it was about this time--well, in four hours (at 4:30-ish a.m.) that Daddy and I got into his big truck and headed for the M.E.P.S. center. I don't remember much from this day (well, it WAS 25 years ago, yeah?). Two things stick out in my mind, though. When I was done weighing in and doing all the tests and was accepted and was officially an airman, I spent about $3.00 on Hostess cakes cos I hadn't eaten any in a month or so!
My favorite memory from that day was back there at home--when I was getting in the truck with Daddy. He shut his door, turned on the truck, and--while putting on his seat belt--he said to me, "Your Mom is crying." I was shocked. "How can you tell?" I asked him. He replied, "I can see her looking out at us at the window. She is wiping her eyes." I looked over at the window as he backed up the truck. There she was, looking out through the space between the curtains and the valance. I could see the top part of her black robe with the lace and those big blue glasses on her face (It was too early for her to have put in her contacts). Below the curtains, I saw all our dogs looking out at us too, tongues lolling out and tails wagging. And there was Mom, wiping the tears from her eyes with a tissue. I didn't understand it at the time, but those tears meant that she was proud of me for the path I was taking. She would miss me (at least a little) and that she loved me! What an amazing way to start such a momentous journey!
She wasn't just there that day crying and encouraging me with her love. She was there for me through the six weeks of basic training and even beyond. I got letters from home nearly every day. Newsy briefs about what was happening with Vicky and Doug and Daddy and the dogs and even her projects. I found one of those letters the other day and laughed out loud cos it told me all about what was happening with Mason and Julia and Cruz and Gina. If anyone who didn't know me had picked up those letters and read them, they would have thought, "Dude! Loralee's family should be on a soap opera!" What was funny is that Mason and all those other people weren't members of my family, but characters on a soap opera--the one soap opera that my family watched. She was keeping me up on what was going on with them, too. When I went on to tech school, I would call collect once a week and we would talk and share and it was really amazing how our relationship grew during that time. She was THERE for me through those letters and--very expensive, I found out later--weekly collect phone calls.
When I broke up with the boyfriend I had when I was stationed at USAFA, I called to tell her the news. Her reaction was amazing and perfect! "Oh, Lori. I'm so sorry you're hurting. But I am so glad you are rid of him. He was such a jerk and treated you terribly." Marvin was my first real boyfriend. I was still in that place where I didn't have a sense of self-confidence and did whatever he said so that he would be happy. I didn't realize that I should have stood up for myself and dumped him months before that day. I think Mom was sorry I was hurting, but happy that I was growing up and learning to take care of myself. I really had a very supportive Mom (and still do.) What a blessing!
Okay, I guess that is enough of my rambling, yeah?