Sarge is off to his part time which meant a very early wake-up and sausage wrap prep for his breakfast on the go, the large Thermos filled with superior coffee. I packed his lunch with the usual care, trying to make it feel as if my love was packed along side the sandwich and slaw. I smiled as I hid the cookies in the bento container, a nice surprise for later in the day.
It rained (finally!) last night which meant the dawn light was heavily filtered with the thick mist rising from the pastures. Even the daily donkey greeting was muffled, the roosters offering only a few greetings in response. I could imagine their feathers damped down, a tired shake to free them of the dew and the half hearted retort offered before settling back down in the hope of sunshine later.
I’ve been watching the same three crows snatching the pecans from the ground, not willing to chase them off their feast. We had friends over early in the week to harvest as much as we could from the wind-fall, knocking the nearly falling nuts from their husks in the limbs to save them from those ravaging birds. It was such a generous harvest that we each walked away with a 5 gallon bucket of nuts, that in addition to the bucket I’d already gathered in the week prior. My favorite tree has such lovely sable colored shells, tiger striped with dark veins. So much brighter than the other trees’ supply which has the usual dusky, dusty grey coloring. And the size of these things – a top quality appearance that looks divine on top of a rich cookie.
Sarge has been fighting the system for some time, without result, and finally had to escalate his concerns. It was not a “fix this for me” conversation. Rather, it was a request for guidance for his future and a reassurance that he hadn’t made the wrong decision coming to Texas. It may have been the best career decision yet, the conversation very sincere and helpful with a referral to a health program in trial for the department. “I have plans for you…” was the sentiment offered, a compliment of high value. So we’ve both been making a concerted effort to edit our menus and regimen to aid that program. I have seen such an incredible change in his attitude in just a week…from one of utter doubt and disappointment to one of hope and challenge. It can be very difficult to be supportive in those times of despair – nothing you say will help, really, and the retort of “you don’t know how it is…” can be hard to argue against. I am usually a very good at managing his stress but this had me at my wits end. I could not help him see his way through it, I could only try to keep his home life as calm and welcoming as possible. I admit it was sometimes hard to not offer my own biting words, offering to return to work if it would help his stress level. I know being the sole income is an incredible burden. I made the offer with trepidation – because if he asked me to I would do it. But he wanted to try…to push through if he could. And now it seems he has managed to do just that.
Meanwhile, the kids came for a visit when he managed to get a pass from the Air Force. I cannot tell you how glad we were to visit with them and to be the first to know the gender of the coming wee one. They wanted to hold a gender reveal party at the house for the families so we had to know in order to do a proper reveal. We’d hoped to do something quite impressive in the kaboom-y sort of way. However, our original attempts were more of Pffts and our EOD pal was on vacation. We don’t have a proper backstop to allow the usual target and Tannerite method.
That was when I recalled my aged collection of model rockets and engines and told Sarge it might work if we could get the chalk inserted as a payload somehow. This led to a couple days of test runs and madly running around the yard to swipe up the evidence of the attempts. Finally, he had the best payload method and engine combination. While certainly not the explosive result I am sure the kids had hoped for, it was the best we could do…what was really sad was Sarge had taken a less lethal class all week and they had the most gloriously blue smoke grenade…but only the one. So just an FYI for anyone considering reveal options in the future one of those would be superb.
We gathered everyone under the guise of a casual meal and a sunset family photo op, surprising them all with the gender reveal event. Amusingly but strangely, Ranger absolutely demanded to be in the photo. He would not be shooed away and promptly sat down at my feet, turning to the camera. Everyone laughed, of course, but it did give me a small frisson of sadness.
Did he know something? Feel his own age creeping up and knowing to take advantage of the photo op? Or just his natural ham coming out? I was a bit irked to see later that my own appearance was sub-optimal. I could have changed, brushed my hair, etc. But I was so busy with all the food, wrangling rockets, etc. that I simply forgot about myself.
I’d hoped to decorate and make it truly special but it simply couldn’t be done. I still feel rather sad and responsible for it being lackluster for the kids but in the end the casual nature led to a really calm and enjoyable evening. As night fell, everyone sat in groups, chatting and sharing the attention of the kids who had been missed so much. Everyone remarked on the wonderful vibe the house has and I have to agree – there is something so serene about this land… At any rate, I hope to make up for the low key event with a Christmas baby shower covered in decorations, games, and brisket.
The kids managed to make up for the make-do photo event with their own trip to a fall festival – just look at this picture, one of several that were just perfect. It is so sweet – she has been practically bedridden with morning sickness and this trip and the entertaining of company was, I think, a difficult undertaking for her. But she pressed on, not only for her own family but for his – knowing how much he matters to them and how pleased they are with the news. I just hope she has managed to get some rest. He returns to his life as usual on the base, studying for the next set of tests. He has done SO WELL thus far and is happy with his path. They do worry about the future assignment and its rather small base and housing option. But one never knows what the future will bring. They are open to whatever the future brings – a characteristic that will take them far in the military life.
Allow me to share this usual morning view…I cannot help but revel in its bucolic peace with the sliver of moon lending charm…no matter what else happens, this place is where we were meant to be. This is what we were meant to have. Fate smiling like that moon while concealing the other secrets.