Hysterectomy, hairdos, and having it all – Part One

I know I’m not very good at this whole blogging thing. I haven’t been able to keep up with posting frequently enough. But y’all…I’ve had some stuff going on. So forgive me for the few and far between and just go with me here, okay?
I had surgery on Monday. Three days ago. The only surgeries I’ve ever had in my life were a tonsillectomy at 4 and a C section three years ago. And now this. This surgery that kinda changed everything, or at least the way I look at everything. I have joked about getting my tummy tucked, getting my boobs lifted, getting all sorts of nips and tucks. This was not a “for fun” surgery though. Although hopefully the outcome will be positive, this was a tough one to decide on. In July I finally went back to my girlie Dr after a year of being mad at him because he didn’t believe me that the Mirena was making me sick (can you believe he didn’t even notice that I had been avoiding him? The nerve of that man!). Turns out I had fun fibroids and Dr recommended a hysterectomy. I just turned 36 years old. Only 36. That’s nuts, right? That’s what I thought…..until the second opinion Dr agreed. The medical community agreed that my uterus had served its country and was no longer fit for active duty. It should be relieved of duty effective immediately. This is big. (Not the uterus, the decision- but the uterus was big, too!) Cutting parts out of my body type big. But many sleepless nights later, I had a laprascopic supracervical hysterectomy. This is a big deal. There are lots of things this affects, and a lot of things it means for me. Right now it mainly means that I am managing to form coherent thoughts while under the influence of narcotics post surgery (which is pretty amazing actually) to be able to tell you about this. And that my Handsome Hubby is having to pull Daddy duty all by himself as well as being my nurse. My sweet baby girl has had some whacky Daddy hairdos this week for preschool, let me tell ya! There are a lot more posts to come about this. I now have a lot more random stuff in my brain to sort out. If you have experience with this, please feel free to help me along this journey because somebody is going to google this and maybe we can write something here that will help them. This could be epic! Especially when I’m not taking Vicodin!

How to discipline a strong willed 3 year old

We’ve had quite the “phase” in our house lately. For two weeks the Princess has been a holy terror. She has been in trouble so often at preschool, I’m afraid they are going to kick us out. She refuses to nap, or even sit quietly on her mat so the others can sleep. When we take things away, she says “I don’t care” or “That’s okay”. (We call that Sassy Mouth around here and she’s got it down PAT unfortunately.) She’s been in time out, she’s missed her ‘fun activities’ (gymnastics, music class, going to McD’s to play-don’t judge me- they have an indoor play place people and it’s freaking HUMID in Tennessee right now). Nothing is working. My mom passed down the fly swatter she used on me tonight, in the hopes that we can regain some control. I haven’t used it, because while she IS defiant- when you forcefully tell her NO she cries like you’ve broken her heart- but then proceeds to do whatever I told her No about. I’m at a loss. The terrible twos were a breeze compared to this. Who knew the threes would actually be worse? A friend at work recommended Dr Dobson’s book about strong willed children, but I need some help NOW. And I’m a librarian after all, I research and figure stuff out all day long so why is this so dang difficult?!?!? Any ideas of what we should try next?

Is “Extreme Couponing” ruining it for everyone?

A few months ago my Handsome Husband became slightly obsessed with the TLC Show Extreme Couponing.  (If you’ve been living under a rock and haven’t heard of the show, check it out HERE.)  Our DVR was filled with episodes showing the extreme savings and huge stockpiles of the featured coupon clippers.  We picked up some great tricks, and learned some helpful tips.  Watching the show motivated us to start visiting sites such as Coupon Mom and The Krazy Coupon Lady.  We don’t have a newspaper subscription, so we got coupons from my parents, my sweet Granny, and friends to compound the deals on sale items at our local stores.   A couple of times we saved 10-20% on our grocery bill thanks to coupon tricks my Handsome Husband learned from watching the show and utilizing the sites.  We even bought 4 tubes of toothpaste once for less than ten cents apiece! Four tubes!  Yes, we were rolling ‘high on the hog’ with our couponing folks! (Despite only being moderately successful we really enjoyed it, for the record.)

The problem with all this “couponing” was that by the time we went to the store on Sunday afternoon after church, the shelves were so barren that it looked like the weatherman had predicted a quarter-inch of snow. (If you live in the South you understand that the mere mention of snow means that there will be no bread or milk available within a 100 mile radius of the predicted “blizzard” area.  Even if you already have bread and milk, you are culturally obligated to dash to the store and purchase more.  Just in case you get  ‘snowed in’ by that quarter-inch of the white stuff because no one in their right mind would DRIVE in that mess, your entire family can survive on a gallon of Purity’s best and a loaf of Bunny honey wheat.  Known fact.)  Several times we gathered our coupons and Kroger card, loaded Little A into the buggy and found the shelves completely empty as described above.  We soon realized that apparently other people in middle Tennessee were watching TLC as well, and they were clearing out all the good bargains before we got there.  The store managers always apologized, but they simply could not keep up with the demand.  We were just a day late and a dollar short it seemed.

Winter soon turned into spring and our little big town had a monumental occasion, our first Publix opened.  You couldn’t even get in the parking lot of nearly a week, and people were posting pictures from the inside on Facebook like they had just given birth to their 2 lbs. of Boar’s Head deli meat.  (We get really excited about new stores and restaurants around here as you can tell.) Handsome Husband and I waited until the crowds dwindled, and on a Friday night when Little A was at her Mimi & Papa’s we had a date night consisting of dinner followed by an hour of wandering the aisles of Publix.  I discovered that I can keep our grocery bill under my goal of $100 a week by shopping their sales, loss leaders, and BOGO offers.  Admittedly there are not as many Publix brand offerings as there are Kroger or Great Value options, but the ones we have tried are all quite good.  I have yet to see an empty shelf at Publix, and although we don’t go big with coupons I have used a few and they always honor them.

It is my weekly trip to Publix that brought me to the subject of this post.  While waiting for a cashier, I watched the woman in front of me checking out.  She had quite a few coupons from the newspaper, but nothing excessive.  What gave me pause was the stack of printed coupons she handed the cashier.  This woman had a small forest worth of coupons.  She must have used an entire cartridge of ink in her printer.  It was fascinating really, but I tried not to stare.

Fast forward to last night when Handsome Husband was flipping channels (he gets to hold the clicker in our house) and stopped on the TLC show.  The woman featured was explaining that she uses her stockpile to bribe people she works with at a car dealership into giving her discounts on repairwork, doing her favors, and more.  That’s not the crazy part though.  She openly said on national television that most of her coupons are printable coupons.  She pointed out that most manufacturers only allow you to print one or two from an IP address to prevent abuse.  As she strolled through the dealership moving from computer to computer, she smiled as she proudly said “Luckily I work here with access to all these computers so I can print lots and lots of these coupons”. ARE YOU KIDDING ME?  No wonder the shelves are empty.  No wonder the store managers refuse to order more sale items.  No wonder people who try to coupon the right way are striking out.  There are people abusing the system, and I’m sure the manufacturers and stores know it.  Apparently this is not the only type of couponing fraud happening, either.  Jill Cataldo is a couponing expert who teaches people the CORRECT way to use coupons, and has been featured on ABC, CBS and NBC news.  I found this article on her site explaining another incorrect (and possibly fraudulent) usage of coupons that was shown on the TLC show, which also details the follow-up from the stores featured in the episode.

Seeing all this, it is hard to believe that rookies like Handsome Husband and I will ever be able to save any big money with couponing.  People who take it beyond the extreme and bend the rules to their benefit make it nearly impossible for a person who doesn’t devote hours a day to this practice to save.  It can’t be long until the stores and manufacturers start amending their policies to make up for the shortfall they are getting through the practices of people like the ones mentioned above.  One has to wonder if the show that has made couponing so popular is actually going to be the death of the practice all together.  It’s certainly ruining it for the little guys like me.

What are your thoughts?  Are dishonest coupon practices going to ruin the process for everyone?

How to survive dance recital weekend

We have survived!  The marathon of endurance and strength is over after four long days. It was all very stressful for the Mommies, and for the Daddies and family who sat through multiple 4 hour shows as well.  I must admit though that Little A thought it was the greatest thing ever.  She enjoyed every second of it and is ready to run back onstage and perform again.  I also must admit that once we got into the groove in the dressing room it wasn’t as difficult as it was the first night.  Keeping 3, 4 and 5 year olds occupied during the long wait between their performances was the most difficult part, but I learned a few lessons to use next year (if she still wants to take dance by then).

Lesson number one- all children would rather play with toys that other Mothers brought instead of the arsenal that you schlepped in.  New and interesting or not, if it belongs to someone else it is much more exciting.  (Also- portable DVD players are a gift from God.  See photo below for proof.)

Lesson two- other children will run around the room to occupy themselves during the long wait times.  This will entice your child, who will be deeply offended that you do not allow her to rip around the room like a scalded cat.  She honestly does not care if she ruins her $50 costume at that moment, but she would when it was time to go onstage. Take a walk, go outside, pace the hallways to hear tiny tap shoes make cool clicking noises.  Do anything to get the romping children out of your line of sight.

Lesson three-  bring ice for the soreness that will come from biting your tongue.  The Mom part of me wanted to correct kids who were running wild.  The teacher part of me wanted to correct kids who were running wild.  I think I literally bit through my tongue over the course of the recital weekend.

Lesson four- you can never have too many bottles of spray glitter, because not every Mom will bring it but ALL little girls will beg for spray glitter.  The whole point of recital is to play dress up and put on sparkly things, correct?  Also- even if you feel a little “Toddlers and Tiaras” about it, put some light makeup on her.  A little mascara and lip gloss for a few hours is part of the fun- Little A kept saying “I wook wike Mommy!”.  (Just don’t go full on Tammy Faye Baker- all things in moderation, remember!)

Lesson five- by the third and final day of recital be prepared to be exhausted.  Be pleasantly surprised that even without a nap all weekend, your three year old will have behaved much better than you expected.  Thank the Lord in Heaven that your family has survived all weekend with no major temper tantrums, no meltdowns, no anxiety attacks, and no screaming arguments (among adults for that last part).

Lastly, lesson six- be prepared to be amazed.  A three year old who loves to dance and wear sparkly things will forget all shyness when they walk backstage and away from you with the teenager assigned to the task of getting her class on stage.  She will grin and hop up and down excitedly, giddy with the prospect of dancing.  Somehow my child found a way to be first on stage of her group every time they performed.  She radiated happiness, and could have carried less about the audience.  She was spinning and dancing and sparkling- and it was the greatest thing in the world to her.

For all these lessons learned, nothing could prepare me for the unbelievable cuteness of those little dancers, joyful to be dancing in the spotlight and loving every second of it.  She wiggled, danced, hopped, and was completely adorable.  She has asked to watch the video at least 500 times and it was less than 48 hours ago.  She is already asking when she can do recital again.  For a mother who never danced as a child, this is all very foreign to me.  Handsome Husband still hopes that someday she drops dancing to play his beloved soccer, and part of me hopes she will become a world renowned violinist and pianist. For now, she is overjoyed at being a dancer and I am happy to give that to her.  It was a lot of work for the parents, and the time commitment and expense was great.  Yet through the exhaustion I can see that for her joy, I would gladly do it again if she asks.  For now though, all she asks is to be called “Ballerina”. 

A librarian IS a teacher!

I have been teaching for twelve years.  Five of those years were spent teaching Kindergarten, establishing the very foundation of education for little minds.  It was thrilling to be the first teacher in their lives, and I loved seeing them grow so much during their first year in formal school.  During that time I completed my first advanced degree (a Master of Arts in Education Administration).  I will admit, I only got that degree for the pay raise.  I have never had aspirations of becoming a principal.  As I finished my coursework, the tiny school where I taught lost the “travelling librarian” we shared with three other rural schools in the district.  It was a classic case of “Country Mouse, City Mouse”.  The school board moved him to a town school, and he was thrilled to be in one place every day.  There was no one in the district with the qualifications to fill the position.  I was determined that our students would not be denied access to a school library.  So I did what any perfectly normal person would do.  I began working toward another degree!  For one entire school year, the doors of four elementary school libraries were closed while I worked to get the degree.  No books, no library lessons, no book fairs, nothing.

I completely my Masters plus 30 in school library media science in May and began my new job as traveling rural schools librarian in August.  It was an amazing experience.  I woke up many mornings unable to tell you where I was going that day.  My beat up Volvo went through two sets of tires.  It was thrilling and heartbreaking.  Word came down that the small schools were going to be consolidated in the next few years, closing the community schools and in effect killing the communities.  I could not bear to be a part of it, and I was going through a painful divorce. (Yes, that’s a story for another time.)  I packed up my bags and my considerable amount of student loan debt and moved to my current city.  A forward thinking, progressive school system in the fifth largest city in the state, our district feeds from the Army installation and the ever growing population.  I am so blessed to be a part of this elite group of educators.  I spent the next four years at one of the many elementary schools, being a teaching librarian.  I had library classes and open checkout all day, every day.  I began to see that some teachers think that librarians (and music teachers, art teachers, PE teachers, Guidance counselors, and computer teachers) are only there to provide them with planning time.  How many times has someone said to me “I didn’t know you had to have a college degree to be a librarian!”.  I always want to say “Yes, idiot- in my case it takes THREE and I have more student loan debt than you make in a year thankyouverymuch!”.  I don’t say it though.  I was raised in the South.  I just smile and say “Bless your heart”.

This year I made a change.  I’ve spent my entire career in an elementary school setting.  It’s safe there among the little chairs, kidney bean tables, crayons, and picture books. Besides, the librarian is a rock star in the elementary school.  I likes walking through the cafeteria or down the hall and hearing screams of “Hi Mrs. Library Lady”, or “Hey I love that book you gave me”. Rock star status, people.  For real. Yet…for some reason I glanced at the open positions sheet posted in the school office last spring, and there I saw an open library job at the high school about ten minutes from my home.  High school.  BIG kids.  BIG books.  BIG building.  But I felt led.  I loved my faculty, my school, my principal, but something was pushing me toward THIS job.  I applied, interviewed, and got it.  I just finished my first year as a high school librarian.  It’s been a challenge.  I haven’t taught lessons about how to cite reference materials since library school.  I haven’t been “in the know” about the latest young adult fiction, except to know that vampires are hot commodities and that manga/anime books have to be read backwards.  Slowly but surely I have become acclimated to my new surroundings.  I’m getting used to more mature subject matter in the fiction, and reaching into the far corners of my brain to remember biology terms when students come in asking for help with research. I’m even getting comfortable patroling the stacks in the mornings before the bell rings, watching for young lovebirds who like to hide among the shelves and steal kisses.  I’ve even heard a fellow librarian tell those lovebirds they shouldn’t try to make a baby in the library, because that won’t make the baby smart!

I love my new school.  I love my job.  I love my students, even though instead of 500 I now have 1500 and there are so many I haven’t gotten to know personally.  I feel like an equal, a part of the faculty, and a part of the school community.  I’m getting used to seeing my students at the salon instead of Toys R Us.  It’s nice for them to be able to introduce me to their parents, if they don’t hide from embarassment because they don’t want to admit they know the librarian.

So I told you all that to tell you this.  Sunday afternoon I was standing in line with my Handsome Husband and Little A at Publix, playing my usual game of “guess the grocery total” and losing miserably.  Someone at the next register tapped me on the back.  I turned to see the rosy cheeks, acne scars, and gelled hair of a student, wearing the green apron that proudly proclaimed he has gotten a summer job bagging groceries.  I smiled in recognition because he is what we call a “frequent flyer” in the library, not so much for the books but to use our computers and iPads.  He opened his mouth just as I was about to ask about his summer, and I know my face fell.  He said “Ma’am, do you work at RHS?”.  I smiled and replied, “Why yes, yes I do.  I recognize you, John.” A grin as wide as the Mississippi spread across his face and then he said it.  It sliced like a knife, and set a fire in my throat.  He said “I thought so!  But I know you’re not a teacher.  What are you, a lunch lady?”  Handsome Husband drew close to my side, I’m sure he could tell it felt like a slap in the face.  I felt as far from being a rock star as I could, but I smiled and said “Yes, John.  I’m your librarian.”  I know he was oblivious to what he had just said- that I am not a teacher.  I am somehow less than a teacher.  Despite the fact that I have three degrees, twelve years of teaching experience, and countless hours of inservice and professional development. All I could do was gather myself, give him my most sparkling smile and wish him the best in his new job, hope he enjoys the summer, can’t wait to see him in August, etc.

Walking to the car Handsome Husband put his hand on mine, pushing the shimmying cart across the blisteringly hot parking lot. I knew he was treading lightly, looking for signs that I was not about to start screeching about my education, the lack of respect, lack of acknowledgement for what I do, and more.  All I could do was take a deep breath, smile at my beautiful family and say in my sweetest voice….”Bless His Heart”.


SCORE- Parents: 1 Three year old: 4,987

My daughter is three years old.  Three years and four months old to be exact.  She is a joy, a delight, and makes my life meaningful.  Every single say she says and does thing that make me laugh, make me cry, and make me think “Awwwww……where did she learn THAT?”.  Then there are the times when her mood flips in 0.2 seconds.  Seriously, is this like early signs of biploar disorder?  Multiple personalities?

First an example of the good moments.  On Mother’s Day weekend as I was putting her to bed, Little A reached up and put her tiny hands on my face. Holding my face close to hers she began to sing the song from the children’s book Love You Forever by Robert Munsch.  If you don’t know the book you can learn about it HERE. I was completely shocked, touched, and overwhelmed.  I have never read that book to her, mainly because I learned years ago when I was teaching Kindergarten that I can’t read it at all without sobbing- much less read it ALOUD.  Here was my sweet baby, singing that song to me and looking soulfully into my eyes.  When she finished she smiled and said “I love you Mommy”.  I asked where she learned that and her response was that her preschool teacher had read them the story.  Well played, Mrs. Caitlyn.  Well played.  Really good teacher appreciation week gifts are coming your way. (And thank you again! sob sob, sniff sniff)

Fast forward to last night- an example of a WTH just happened moment.  The same sweet child, this angelic little creature had enjoyed our family evening, been sweet as sugar during dinner, and played happily through bath and storytime.  As we walked down the hallway toward her room she suddenly was struck by what I can only assume was the realization that it had been a few hours since reminded us that she is three years old.  Suddenly her Bitty baby doll was simply too heavy for her to carry another step farther.  (Keep in mind that she carries her for hours on end and had carried her halfway to our destination at this point.)  She collapsed into hysteria on the floor, screeching that I simply must carry Bitty into her room for her.  Surely if I did not comply with this request the world would end immediately and all gummy bears and princess movies would cease to exist- such with the tantrum she threw!  Thinking fast on our feet while still stunned at the speed this meltdown began, my Handsome Husband and I sprung into action.  Simultaneously we tried to calm her sobbing while reminding her that if she wanted Bitty to sleep with her, she must carry her the last ten steps into the bedroom herself.  Twenty minutes later with red ringed eyes and a runny nose, she begrudgingly carried the doll over the threshold.  SCORE one for Team Parents!  We continued our routine, discussing first bad things that happened during the day followed by good things.  (It is worth noting that when Handsome Hubby asked Little A what bad things happened during the day, she said “I frew a fit at night-night time”. ) We ended our discussion time with the usual round of hugs, kisses, proclamations of love and devotion, and the customary tickle monster sighting.  Little A happily carried Bitty to her bed and stopped to look back over her shoulder as she climbed into her bed and smile happily at us, her loving parents who had just overcome a mega-tantrum with calm, steady discipline and understanding. All was right with the world.

Until she collapsed on the floor screaming that she couldn’t get into bed by herself.

A very good place to start…. (cue Julie Andrews singing)

I have done it now.  I have really done it.  After months of a bordering on ridiculous obsession with the Google Reader I have done it.   I have laughed until I cried at some of the blogs I follow.  I have cried until I laughed at others.  I have marveled at these wonderful moms who share their lives on these magical mystery things called blogs on the “intranets” (as my sweet Granny refers to it).  I have been inspired by their parenting techniques, awed by their sense of self, and emboldened by their willingness to share.

So I have done it.  I want to join the club.  I want to be a part of this wonderful Mommy blog movement that is making headlines.  Since when is it bad to be a mommy and blog about it?  Since when is it acceptable to discount someone’s opinions simply because they are a mother?  Why isn’t Strollerderby the primary news source in more American households than Fox News? I won’t stand for it!  (Well, actually I will sit on the couch and complain loudly- so loudly that my keyboard squeaks as a type really really hard.) I want in.  I want to be a part of this.  Mommies rock, and we rule the world, people!

I’m in.  I’m going to start a mommy blog.  I want to be among this fellowship of mothers.  I just have to go to the gym first.

She really gets it!

Lies I have believed Part III.

Please click on the link above.  Read her words carefully.  Now read them again. I cannot express how much I love this woman’s point of view.  She hits the nail on the head so clearly and concisely.  I wish I had a billboard to put this on, or could somehow manage to get her on the morning show rounds to preach this message to the masses!


Please don’t let this be our recital!

Dance recital fight

This weekend will be our first foray into the marathon of strength and endurance better known as dance recital.  Three nights, three performances, total show length of 4 hours, plus one night of rehearsals.  Four days, four hours, and only the strongest survive.  At least that’s what I hear.  Little A has only been taking dance for two years, and I decided not to participate last year (she was only 2!).  This year she asked, begged, pleaded, and cried.  I relented.  I paid large sums of money for recital costumes, more large sums of money for the new shoes and tights required, and even more large sums of money for tickets for all the grandparents (plus my ever patient husband) to attend the performances. (That’s right- we pay for lessons, and we get to pay for tickets to see the recital as well!)

I have been in the bunker with the other mothers planning our strategy.  We will be armed with portable DVD players, toys, stickers, coloring books, an assortment of juice boxes and snacks (only the type that won’t stain those high dollar costumes please) and more.  All of this in an effort to entertain our wiggling giggling gaggle of three year olds backstage.  Best I can figure they have two dances of approximately 1.5 minutes each.  That leaves us with 237 minutes to try and keep them quiet and occupied while they are not onstage.

I am willing to do all this, and suffer through this travesty because my daughter loves to dance.  She loves the costume, and she is giddy at the mere mention of recital. Of course that might be because she hasn’t done it yet.  But if we are going to go through this, we are going to do it all the way.  That’s why when I saw this post on Strollerderby today I got shivers up my spine.  Toddlers on stage dancing and then BOOM- two of them lose all track of what is going on and get into a fight.  No punches thrown of course, but certainly not the choreographed dance that the other kids are doing.  I feel badly for the ones on stage who were trying to do the actual dance.  I feel badly for the kids who got into the fight. And I feel badly for me because I am terrified that the same thing might happen onstage at Little A’s recital this weekend.  Check it out at the link, do you think my fears are justified?

Lord give us strength!

The meaning of Memorial Day for a mother

Best laid plans of mice, men and mommies.  I had planned to drop off Little A at preschool this morning and go to the gym, but wound up having to come home to wait for the air conditioner workmen.  They just left and the gym is closed until this afternoon now, so I am stuck here with my own thoughts and a mountain of laundry.  A dangerous combination.

Since my plans were foiled, I am ruminating on the fact we just had Memorial Day.  Living here in the shadow of the  home of the “Screaming Eagles”, the Army is so entrenched in our daily lives that we hardly notice it anymore.  A large percentage of my students at school are military dependents.  Many co-workers are military spouses.  My in laws are retired military, and my husband (former military himself) works on the post.  It permeates the entire city, and we embrace it.  We were even in the running for “Most Patriotic City in the US” a few years ago.

Yet the constant ebb and flow of soldiers in and out of the post and the daily lives of their families goes largely unnoticed by the general public.  Yes there are the news stories that “such and such division, such and such infantry” had a coming home ceremony where families were reunited, babies were kissed, and happy photos are on the front page of the paper.  But is it all lip service?

Do we fully appreciate the dedication that these brave soldiers and their families display every day?  When a friend confides that they have gotten word of another deployment (the 8th of their marriage and career), do we think of more than the inconvenience she will face?  Do we think of more than the missed birthdays, holidays, special parenting moments? I doubt we fully appreciate the fact that every moment of every day they are in silent prayer, that they are steeling themselves and using all their reserves to maintain composure while knowing that their loved one is in danger.  A dear sweet friend is about to see her only son leave for his first deployment.  Her firstborn, he is a fine young man and is at the point in life where she can finally see all her hard parenting work coming to fruition.  He is well trained and prepared to serve.  He calmly told his parents where and how he wants to be laid to rest if he should die.  As familiar as deployments are among my circle, I had still never considered that they must have that conversation.  They must address what should be done if they don’t come home.  She will pray every second he is away, never ceasing and never breathing deeply- knowing that her 19 year old child has willingly and gratefully planned his own funeral because he is willing to die for what he believes in.

It is this fact that has made me reconsider Memorial Day.  It’s not about hot dogs and trips to the lake, or even putting up the flag on your porch.

It’s about the ones who never made it home, the ones who are prepared to not make it home, and the ones left here- holding it all together.  It shouldn’t be lip service.

May their service never be forgotten.