Saturday, June 23, 2007

I'll Have the Bento Box.

Bento boxes are like the Japanese version of a pupu platter, lots of little tastes all at one time. That's kind of how life feels to me right now, but mine's the bento box of emotions.

I'm happy because we have our next assignment and it's great (as most of you know, it turns we'll be heading to Langley for Jeff to fly the F-22.) As a bonus, some good friends from here will be going to Langley also. For that, we're feeling really lucky. I'm also happy because one of my best friends had her baby on Thursday - welcome to the world Evan Lynn! - and I've been excited all week because Wyatt's birthday party was this weekend. All good things.

But at the same time, I'm kind of sad & freaked out. Jeff & I were wishing, hoping, that he'd be lucky enough to go back to Tyndall. Of course we're excited about the assignment he got, of course we see the blessing it is and we know there are a lot of people who would like to go there that might not get the opportunity. But honestly, I'm still getting my head around it. It's scary. There, I said it. It's scary to me that Jeff - who it seems has just gotten to the point he's comfortable in the F-15 - will have to go back through training on another system. It's also scary to me that this is an endeavor that will require immense amounts of his time for the next few years. Finding out our great friends (proud parents of baby Evan) will be heading there for their next assignment makes me a little envious and sad. I just imagined all of us being there together, Wyatt flirting with his new girlfriend, the daddies home on weekends and evenings, all of us hanging out together like we did in the good ol' days.

Every time I've driven off base since we found out, I'm just sad and a little panicky that I haven't soaked up enough of this experience. I'm not sure I will ever be able to adequately express how incredible it is here. The squadron, the all has just come together in a way that I never dared imagine. I'm sad to think this might be the only overseas experience we get. For the non-military out there, it's hard to explain how much these friends become family. I know that we're lucky to get it once and I should just be thankful for it, but I also know this is not how it will be in Virginia, or anywhere else stateside for that matter. Of course the upside is that we'll be so much closer to our real families and old friends. We might actually get to see everyone more than once a year!

And while the idea of owning a house is unbelievably exciting when you're 32 and have never done it, it also sucks to realize we won't have great friends sharing a wall with us (unless, of course, we really do just set up a compound with the Rifes.) There's nothing quite as relieving as knowing that, most likely, someone next door is up for helping me entertain Wyatt or going for a walk or shopping or whatever. We've never had neighbors like we have here and that's going to be a tough adjustment. Plus PC and Lisa keep telling us they don't think the Marine Corps will ever assign them to an AF base so apparently it's unlikely we'll get to live in the same area again. Stupid Marines Corps! Don't they know they're ruining all our fun?

And let's face it, my baby is one! It's exciting and momentous and just plain crazy that we're already celebrating his birthday. And there's nothing like having a newborn at the birthday party to help put a year in perspective. Jack (born June 13) let us all pass him around, slept quietly in his carrier and was oblivious to the mayhem being created by all the other kids. As I took my turn getting to hold him, Wyatt was busy pulling on my legs and biting my knees. THAT is what a year does. It turns sweet little bundles into true anklebiters. Nice.

I promise I'll write about Wyatt's party because it was really fun, but I needed to get all of these thoughts out first. You know, so I don't taint the birthday post with my undercurrent of negative thoughts because the birthday bento box is all sunshine and monkeys. Really!


The Thomas Crew said...

Feeling your pain...It will be our turn 6 months after y'all, and it still seems only yesterday we were celebrating Hannah's first birthday (alone) in our San Antonio crack house. Instead we'll be leaving Okinawa with a soon-to-be 2nd grader and kindergartner. Too much to imagine sometimes! Whenever you feel down about it, Steph, just remember the mantra the Japanese t-shirts have taught us over here..."I LOVE HAPPY."

Carrie Fenley said...

Hi Stephanie!
I was thinking about you last week and hope you had a wonderful birthday. Looks like you had a great time at Wyatt's party. Can you believe how fast the time goes?? It's incredible. He's a doll. Take care and hope to hear from you soon.