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The people in my  house have rounded the corner and are feeling better.  Everyone except little Dane.  Dane had troopered through this week playing nurse to everyone, now it is his turn to be sick.  Let me tell you, the kid is putting in an Oscar-worthy performance of a very sick, very little boy.  Yes, he has a cold.  Yes, he has a fever.  Yes, he has a headache.  But he’s giving Debra Winger (Terms of Endearment) a run for her money.

Being military we’ve been following the road to sequestration intently.  Obviously something needs to give.  Things need to change, and I am beyond thankful it is not my job to figure it out.  One of the biggest pro’s the United States has is her diverse people & cultures.  Unfortunately, when tough decisions need to be made it is that same pro that becomes a huge con.

We are not sure, no one is sure, how this will ultimately affect us.  It is a scary place to be.  The biggest change looming over our heads is Cole’s school.  Military schools will be facing teacher loss, whether due to job cuts or the anticipated furloughs (4-day work weeks starting in April).  I am saddened not just for the teachers, but also our kids.  It is so hard to leave family & friends behind, and now military kids must lose out on education, and the continuity of school in a language they understand.  Before civilian schools.  Before civilian programs.
Our military works long days, long hours even those not deployed.  Much of what they do is not seen by the public.  Much of the safety people feel in their daily lives, the freedom to speak their minds, is provided by the tireless work of our military.  It is hard on family.  We pack our bags and go where we are told, we wait without word, we love from afar.  There is not a lot of support for us, many times our friends & family turn their backs thinking we have choices.  We did have a choice, we choose to serve.

Now even one of our smallest benefits, American school in a foreign country, is being whittled away. It makes me sad.  It worries me for the future of our country.  I see such wealth and care for the people, all the people, here in Germany.  And I do not understand why the US cannot provide this to her people.

Christian graduated from Patch Barracks High School, here in Germany, almost two years ago.  It is a fantastic school.  It is tough.  It is fair.  It works hard to help our children, our future, succeed. He is now in the final stages of training to be a Marine.  I am so proud of my son. I worry for his future.  I worry for Cole’s future. I hope his opportunities will be the same, as strong, as they have been for Soren & Christian.


 Dave giving Soren the side-eye on Christian’s graduation

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I thought I couldn’t be prouder of my boy, and then, yesterday, he couldn’t talk.  He was driving.  He was collecting toys for the Marine Corps Toys for Tots program. As much as I’m struggling to come to terms with my baby being all grown-up, and a Marine to boot, I’m thrilled to pieces that he gets to participate and lend a helping-hand to such a fabulous program.  Early in our marriage, when we were young, both working, with four growing boys, Toys for Tots helped us give our kids a real Christmas.  I’m beyond pleased that it has now come full circle and my son is the Marine making another boys Christmas dream come true.

I looked up the website for those of you that are interested as well, and I spent a little time reading about it.  I feel I’ve always “known” it was there, but I’ve never truly known how it came to be.  It came to be from a very small realization, there was no program to get toys to  needy kids, to the huge, massive undertaking it is today:

Toys for tots Began in 1947, when Major Bill Hendricks, USCR and a group of Marine Reservists in Los Angeles collected and distributed 5,000 toys to needy children. The idea came form Bill’s wife, Diane. In the fall of 1947, Diane crafted a homemade doll and asked Bill to deliver the doll to an organization, which would give it to a needy child at Christmas. When Bill determined that no agency existed, Diane told Bill that he should start one. He did. The 1947 pilot project was so successful that the Marine Corps adopted Toys for Tots in 1948 and expanded it into a nationwide campaign.

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I had a little bit of sentimental babble planned today.  How Christian had a dream to be a Marine from the time he was small, I even had a photo of him at five, and him now in his Marine uniform.  I also planned to spin it a little woe-is-me.  He graduated from bootcamp yesterday, Pearl Harbor day, in San Diego.  The full pomp & circumstance, the big ceremony, in the beautiful warm sun on the Marine parade grounds.  And I was here alone in a big ol’ snowstorm.  Poor me.

But as I went out to shovel my portion of the sidewalk (in Germany this is required by law, in my town it must be kept clear between 8 & 8 even during snowfall), my mood cleared a little.  Not so much because I love shoveling snow, in fact definitely not that, but because Dane came bounding out the front door, grabbed a snow shovel, and cheerfully yodeled:

“Now that Soren & Christian are all growed up, I have to be the man & help!” And away he shoveled, never tiring, helping with the steps, sidewalk, driveway & even our communal walking path.  How can that not bring smile to anyone’s face?

My smile did falter, as the time for the actual graduation ceremony drew near.  And then I got a phone call from Soren.  Quick!  Turn on the Skype!  He had technology!  He tried his darndest to live-stream Christians entire graduation with his fantabulous 4G phone.  It was almost impossible to see, I had no idea there were so many young boys (and maybe girls, I really couldn’t see) becoming Marines yesterday.  The quality wasn’t great, though the Marine Corps band came through beautifully and Tess & Dane were soon marching along with great glee.  Christian was impossible to pick out, but I felt, just a little bit, part of his big day.

I went to sleep much happier, and then this morning, with my first cup of coffee, I went through the bajillion emails Soren sent through the afternoon & evening yesterday.  Until I came to this photo & literally snorted coffee out my nose & laughed out loud.  My boys (Soren as Batman, Christian as Cap) may be full grown men, with real jobs, real responsibilities and real lives but they are my Superhero’s.


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