Let’s be honest, my life is basically a vacation. I’m a stay at home Mom, married to what I assume to be the only Marine who doesn’t really leave a whole lot. See, he’s such a good Marine, that they want to keep him around a lot, which I know sounds a bit silly, but making sense of how the Marine Corps works is almost an impossible task. So how on Earth do I feel like I need vacations still? Especially after having just moved from Overseas? Well because even though my life may seem like a vacation to the every day outsider, it’s not always the case. I do have an amazing amount of free time, with no real duties outside of making sure my potty training son is aiming the right way and that the laundry doesn’t meet the same height as Mt. Kilimanjaro. My husband works 14+ hour days, 5 days a week, and our weekends are really the only chance to be a normal functioning family. I hadn’t seen my Dad in person in over two years, so when he told me he was coming out for a quick visit, I was ecstatic. Because when it comes down to it, THAT’S where I struggle with military life. Missing our families. Okinawa was somewhere around 6,000 miles away from my family. Now we’re about 2,000 and some change miles from home. SO close, yet so far. We’re on the wrong coast for both of our families, so sometimes it’s hard making the Skype, texts, and calls the real time we have with our family. Enter: Dad Visit.
After picking him up in Raleigh, I immediately made him wander through the packed streets of Raleigh for their 4th of July festival and fireworks. My Dad is such a good sport and totally put up with all of my mini adventures while he was here. The people on the left of the photo above taught my son to take small flowers and shoot them off using their own stems, and the people to the right of my Dad & Jax got engaged right in front of us. Raleigh is not a boring town my friends. When they found out we were from California they were kind of amazed we were there. I almost forget sometimes what it’s like outside towns that aren’t completely run over with military families. It’s such a nice break when you see the clueless faces of people who know nothing of your crazy life. Hearing “Thank you for your service” never gets old. These days hearing it is pretty rare, and that’s a really sad fact.
We made side trips to New Bern, Wilmington, and little areas around home. Somehow I also got my Dad to transplant my tomatoes and Angelonias, in true Dad form. We did our favorite things, like visit an aquarium, and drink craft beers, even managed to check out the State Farmers Market in Raleigh before he flew out again. The weather was amazing while he was here, the day he came the rain stopped, and the day after he left, it began again. As if my Dad brought the California sunshine with his smiles. If you live around here, definitely get out and explore. A lot of military here complain about what a terrible place is, and I’d guess they would be right if they stuck to only our small town. But there are a lot of hidden gems, you just have to get out and find them.
It’s so amazing to have family around. I look back at how I took it for granted living in the same town as them for so long, and am amazed at how military life has made me appreciate the time with them so much more. If you’re lucky enough to spend time with your family regularly, you’re lucky enough. For this part of our lives, I’ll look forward to the short visits, and the silly calls and texts, and when the time comes to settle down, I’ll hold onto what the military way of life has taught me about being thankful to be able to hug the the ones you love or share a cup of coffee in person.
I’ll be posting small posts about some of our Adventures with Papa soon.