Friday, April 23, 2004

Up, Up, and Away

You're all so sweet. The comments and E-mail I received from readers of this blog made me feel better. Well, that and the fact that my fever finally went away. I'm no doctor but I think I have an ear infection (or two) and a throat infection. Now we'll be conducting an experiment to see how long those infections can last without the interference of antibiotics. Because my husband is an aviator, I have to go to the flight surgeon. I feel so out of place and stupid there that I avoid it as much as I can.

But speaking of aviation, I have airplanes on the brain today.

This weekend the base is hosting an air show. For residents of the base, this is a big pain in the neck. But I still can't help but get excited. As long as I've been involved in the military (about 12 years now), I still get excited when I see or even hear jet planes. And I've been hearing them for two days now. I've gotten so that I can tell aircraft apart just from their noise. Pretty cool, huh? And a bunch of different aircraft have been flying in for the show.

My kids love airplanes. I guess that makes sense for two military brats. But they're like little aviation prodigies. My daughter can tell the difference between all the planes that fly from our base, and she knows a few of her other favorite planes. She decided last month that she wants to be an "Air Force person" when she grows up and she wants to fly AWACS. What happened to being a ballerina?

Whenever we're out driving in our little mini van and we know Daddy is flying, they blow kisses to every one of his type of airplanes that fly by. "Have a good flight, Daddy," they yell, as they wave and kiss. I think it's cute. My daughter says that even if it isn't Daddy in that plane, it is still someone's Daddy up there and they need kisses and luck too.

But every once in a while, I actually know that he is in the plane that we're waving at. I won't get into the details of how that is possible, but it is. Of course the kids get excited, but I get some pretty strong feelings too.

When he first started flying, I wasn't nervous exactly, but I did have nightmares of driving to work and seeing an aircraft like his and watching it crash and burn. I did my own little silent version of my kids' lucky kisses back then.

Now I just feel sort of in awe of the whole thing. He's actually up there, doing that whole defending freedom thing. Him. My husband. The guy who scares me to death when he drives my car. The guy who could barely read when he started college. My husband, who isn't anything special, except to me.

Except he is special. But not because he was given any gifts. He's had to struggle for everything he ever earned in his life. Nothing was ever handed to him. He was blessed with one gift as a child. He was blessed with a dream. He told me when he was seven years old, he decided he wanted to fly. He never gave up, even through what seemed like insurmountable odds. And now he's doing what he loves.

Sometimes I envy him that dream. That gift of knowledge. That absolute certainty of what he wanted to be when he grew up. I never had that. But mostly I'm just proud of him.

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