Friday, July 4, 2014

Service, Patriotism, Family and the Fourth!

Yes. That is our WonderPeep. 
Yes. He is wearing his daddy's fatigues, newly laundered at home, 
back from the desert, a whole wide world away. 

Yes. I snatched the photo off of my daughter's FB account and added the stars. 
Yes. There is no patriotic holiday that passes that I don't have tears in my eyes 
and a catch in my heart. 
Yes. The sacrifices made by the entire military family are real.

Patriotic Wreath made from Cut Hand Tracings at RainbowsWithinReach "HAND" RoundUP

Yes. I have posted numerous times here of my son-in-law's service. 
Yes. His absence is *VERY* real in the hearts of my WonderPeeps. 

photo of: Captain Mettle displays Kindergarten Artwork inspired by "Red, White and Blue" picture book

*Two weeks ago, upon his return from the desert across-the-world 'this' time, my sweet husband had the idea to gift the two of them, our daughter & SIL, with a 'second-honeymoon' of sorts. A surprise. First order of business? To get him safely on the ground. Returned to those waiting most patiently for his return. Noses are pressed to the window, until the hugging can begin. Two months away on desert deployment is a l-o-n-g time in the hearts of loved ones. 

Photo: Waiting for Daddy to unload

We made the plans to send the two of them off for a quick five day get-away. I took over as GeeGee extraordinaire. I got to have undivided time with my WonderPeeps and the two of them road horseback at dusk, along water's edge. A happy delight for all! Pinch me. Pinch me. All is well in the world. 

Our days together clicked along like clock work. Long sunny afternoons at the pool: the three of them splashing and conquering new aquatic milestones while I contentedly read the novel "Kindergarten Baby." {Yes. I am giving away my autographed copy here.} 

We shared all the moments grandmothers appreciate. 
We went to the park. 
We played on the swings! 

We drew pictures for each other. 

Photo: "Create.Every.Day." This public service announcement comes directly from my very own WonderPeep. #arted  I get so excited when I see boys enjoying drawing. Focus. Work. Detail. Imagination. Sidewalk chalk on the road. Ta-da! LUV me some creativity. So happy that I got to be there to capture it! ~~ Debbie

Yes. We took time together to smell the roses.

It was driving home from the park when my heart stopped. A happy time was had by all. We were singin' and laughin' and planning our next adventure, when WonderBoy saw a plane pass right over head. That was when he said the words that made my world stand still. 

"I'm so glad that daddy came home alive." 

Tick. Tock. I could hear the earth rotating. 
What is the proper grandmotherly response? 
I pursed my lips and thought. Hard. Lips + thinking.
I so wanted to say the 'right' thing. 
I so wanted not to 'over-respond' or blather or cry.

What to say to a sensitive eight year old in the midst of driving on an interstate? 
Hearing the implicit possibilities in his statement of fact made me shudder. 

I can't type what I said two weeks ago. 
Mostly because I don't know. 
Whatever I type would have the ease of editing. 

I'm pretty sure that I said something straight-forward. 
Fairly profound. 
"Me, too!"  

I think today, that I asked some sort of question, 
because the conversation evolved with several back and forth contributions. 

Maybe I said, "Do you think about that a lot?" 

I do remember I was told in no uncertain terms that you can *DIE* when you are away. 

This is the time of young thoughts about mortality: 
figuring out what happens when the beloved Ping-doggie is no longer lapping up scraps beneath the family table. 
Finality is real in these hearts that I love.

What I know for certain is that I could not give unequivocal assurance that their daddy would always come home to them. I could assure them that their daddy loves them, no matter where he is, that much I could promise.  

The four of us continued to talk in mini-van seat belted order about the unpredictable matters of life and death. We passed the community cemetery as though on cue.

Little Red asked if I would come to see her in her grave if she died. 
It was all pretty profound. 
And yet not somber or morbid. 

We talked some of heaven and whether Ping was allowed in and whether Thunderstorms still frighten dogs in heaven. 

What I know for certain is that this set of our Wonders, ponders the concept of daddy not making it home from his time away. I suppose that all children of parents in uniform have this truth to contend with..... this is just the first time that I was the only one at the helm to help them process their thoughts.

I'll come back tonight after the fireworks and add some more reflection.  

Yes. I have written here numerous times about my dear friend, Kindergarten teacher, Carie and her years of service in the Army and her K-collaboration in response to my picture book "Red, White and Blue." 

photo of: Monumental Construction Paper Quilt by Carie's Kindergarten Class in Response to "Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement

"Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement at RainbowsWithinReach

"Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement at RainbowsWithinReach

"Red, White and Blue" by Debbie Clement {Quilted Illustrations from Fabric}

"Red, White and Blue" Digital Download: Song and Support Material by Debbie Clement

Yes. Of course I have a Pinterest pinboard on all things Patriotic. 

'Red, White and Blue' Patriotic Pinboard Collection by Debbie Clement

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!

Thanks for your support! I am so appreciative of your pins!
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