A Letter To My Peaches

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Peaches,

Today is the first Sunday night you will not be tucked into your bed here and I miss you.I am crying as I type this and I hardly ever cry anymore. I went to your Mom’s work and told her you had to go to your dad’s. It was one of the hardest things I have ever done. I feel like I have failed you miserably and I want you to know that you are so loved by your Momma and the rest of us. These last six months have been a gift from God. I don’t know what is in store for us and my heart is heavy right now but I know things can change in the blink of an eye and that is what I am hoping for.

Your mom loves you so much. She is trying to be able to be with you no matter what. Remember that. I am writing this so some day you know she has fought for you since the moment she knew about you. You are so blessed to have such a strong mother. No matter what anyone tells you she wants you all the time because you have a bond that only mothers and daughters can have not to hurt someone else. She wants you because God made you in her womb and she kept you safe there until you were ready to come out. She loves your fat little feet and your soft peaches cheeks. She loves your laughter and your giggles. She just loves you. She will tell you with her own mouth some day when you are big like her that she never did anything to ever hurt you only what she thought was best. She had to leave your dad’s house so she could be healthy and take good care of you. She did not want to break up your family and she did the right thing. It wasn’t something she did lightly and we had many conversations before she left.

Now for this, I want you to know that I tried to talk to your dad about taking you away from your mom for a week and then him missing you for a week. I think that there could be a solution to this but tonight he couldn’t listen to me. My only hope is that peoples heart soften to the point that they start thinking about you and nothing else. There is a story in the Bible about two women that were fighting over a baby and they had to go to the king to decide who was the real mother. The king told them he would cut the baby in half and that would solve the problem. The real mother then told the king to give the baby to the other woman because she couldn’t bare to have her baby hurt. That wise king then knew who the real mother was and she got her baby back. This is my hope for you. Your aunt is not your mother, your dad’s girlfriend is not your mother and I am not your mother. You have a mother that loves you with everything in her no matter what anyone tells you. I want you to have access to both of your parents but especially your mother.

Now as I close know that every night you are tucked in your bed here that we say your prayers and I am missing that right now. I love how you fold your little hands and look up at us with that grin. Your mom and I will say them for you until you get back. We love you my little sweetheart and so does your crazy dog Boots.

                                                                                 Love, Your Nana

P.S.

I have to tell your mom this McKenzie. I love you Alisha. Know your dad and I are in your corner. We are proud and so blessed to have you as our girl. I know how humbling it was for you to ask for our help and how hard it was for you to ask God back in your life. That’s what is so great about giving up the old and putting on the new. You grow and God will sustain you through it all. He will put people in your life that will help you, Always remember that I don’t care what other people say and never have. You are my sweet sweet girl and I love you just as much today as I did when you were little like my Peaches.

I Miss My Navy Girl

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MOM!
I got your great package with the great books (which I am realizing that I am totally into those types of books) and the crackers, snacks and peanut butter. The sad bad news is that the Jar BROKE 😦 and I am saddened to say it just
didn’t make it. But, when Jan and I do go back to Michigan, when ever that may be (before Jan 21st because my drivers license expires) we will be taking some back with us!
I am so glad to hear about the family and I just wish I could be home to enjoy everyone and everything. It makes me sad when I know the kids are growing up without me. But I love that they are learning so much and that they are so loved and I am always just so grateful for the amazing loving family that we have! After going from country to country and having seen so many sad things, I have really realized just how blessed I am.
I cannot wait to go home and make goulash of all things. Here on the ship, they say they make "Hungarian goulash" but it is really just beef cubes and noodles….nothing like it! I wish I could show them all how to make the real stuff from scratch!
Again mom, thank you for everything that you have done for me out here. No matter what happens, know that I am always thinking of you guys and know that you are all safe and sound at home. Maybe that is what this is all about?
Oh and you need to write some more blogs! I have saved every single one of them in a binder so I can always go back to them.

I love you mom and will talk to you soon,
Boots

That was the last email I got from my Beth and I have it memorized. I am so missing her and when I read her words I can actually see her lips move in my mind. I miss her freakishly long second toe that I used to kiss when she was three. I miss her hair and I miss her beautiful long fingers with the slightly square nails so perfectly shaped. I miss how she says Mom. I miss how she laughs. I miss her hour long showers and her running down our steps. I miss how she thinks her dad can do anything and I miss how she plays with the kids. I miss the sound of her voice and I miss how she says my brother. I miss her little nose. I miss how she looks when she drives. I miss her playing her flute. I miss how she chews. I miss how she leans down to hug me when she walks in the door. I miss hearing her sing. I miss her beautiful smile and I miss her writing messages on Grandma Perkie’s note board. I miss how she blinks. I miss how she runs. I miss how she puts the best spin on everything. I miss how she is so proud. I just miss.

She is a soldier but to me she is my daughter and she is a sister and an aunt and a niece and my mother’s granddaughter. Our family is missing a piece and we are ready any time to get it back.

I love you my Bethy Boots and I am trying to be patient but it is not easy. We are waiting with jam to replace the broken jar and goulash bubbling on the stove. We too are grateful for our family but it is so missing you. I am trying to remember that you are soldier but it is hard for this mother that is missing her daughter. I am sad and lonely for my girl. I am waiting to hear your voice and praying that you are safe. I wrote this so you can put it in your binder with the others. Now that you have it go get some rest. When you lay your head on your pillow tonight remember how I tucked you in bed and helped you say your prayers so many years ago. Feel my breath on your forehead as I gave you that goodnight kiss. I can’t do the same tonight in person but know I am doing it with all of my heart in my mind. I love my Navy Girl. I miss you. Mom

Footsteps

Bethy 3My daughter Bethany is in Korea right now and today I got an email from her. How I loved it while I was reading her words that so sounded like my girl. Her Grandma Perkie baked her some cookies and they finally arrived. Some of the things that I have been sending her was also in the mail drop and she was so grateful. Sometimes I complain about this computer but today I am so thankful for it. It is a lifeline to my daughter so many miles away and technology is something that I take for granted but won’t after today. On Mothers Day at two o’clock in the morning I and her dad heard her sweet voice. She apologized for calling so late and for a while I thought I was dreaming. She sounded like she was here in the States. I couldn’t sleep for hours after we talked those few minutes.I cried and cried like I do when my kids are involved and my heart was full of so many emotions.It was such a gift for me on Mothers Day and I needed that because sometimes I don’t know if I am a very good mother.Sometimes I wonder if I make good choices when it comes to my kids but that phone call made me feel so appreciated at that moment. It was truly a gift for a worn out mama.

My Beth is a woman of the utmost in family and I am so proud of her. Smiling comes easy as I think of how different her dad and my conversations were with her. I was asking about how people treated her,about the food,and how she was feeling and she was asking about her nieces and nephews and her grandma and how she is sending them gifts from Korea. I told her about how my Dad was a paratrooper in the Korean War and was on Pork Chop Hill.

Her dad on the other hand was wanting to know exactly where she was and where she would be going.She couldn’t tell him a lot but that she would let us know as she could. He was popping out questions like the grandkids before a party. The love in his voice was so thick that it was hard for me to listen to. He is a man that loves hard when it comes to his kids and I wondered what that was like because my dad was taken from my sisters and me when we were little and never knew him as adult women. Would Daddy be proud of us and how we turned out? How different would our lives have been if he wasn’t taken away from us? Some day I will ask why he made it home from war just to be killed in a car accident leaving five little girls and a wife not out of her twenties all alone.

daddyservice 001My dad was one of the paratroopers that landed on Pork Chop Hill.That is him on the left.I think he is so handsome in this picture. I googled it and spent half the morning reading about it. So many soldiers were lost and I felt so sad. I don’t know much about war I admit but seeing some of the things my dad was a part of was an emotional roller coaster for me. A young man like my Beth is a young woman so far from home. I wonder if their footsteps felt any of the same path. To think that my daughter and my dad were in this place in the military is something I have never thought about. I hope he knows about Beth because he would love her. She is like him even though she has never met him. Like my dad Beth loves her family intensely. She loves to laugh like he did. They both rode a ship to Korea though their jobs were very different.He told my grandma all he did on that ship was peel potatoes. Beth on the other hand tells me she works twelve hours a day and is very busy. Both soldiers,yet one a man and one a woman both connected by a family that loves them so even though they never met. I get reassuring words from Beth about how safe she is just like my Grandma Hahn did from Dad. His letters to her were always upbeat and Beth is too.

I told her on the phone that night how Dad fell in love with a Korean girl but her parents wouldn’t let her come home to the states with him. It’s probably for the best because he fell in love with my mom the first time he laid eyes on her after he got home. My mom jokes about how different we girls would look if that Korean woman would have been our mother. I can’t even imagine. I guess it’s funny how things work out sometimes and maybe he was heart broken when he left without her but I believe God knew that her life would have been so hard after he was killed here with all her family in Korea. I hope she is a happily married woman and that her life is good. If I could give her a message I would tell her thank you for caring about my dad and that we loved him so.

As always I would like to leave my grandkids with this. Footsteps are something we make on this walk of life. They sometimes take us far away from home but you never know when God will connect them from something in the past and your family can be entwined in ways you can’t even fathom.The future is a wonderful thing but sometimes looking at those footsteps from the past can bring you joy. I know it did me today. I feel that my dad and my daughter,two of the most wonderful people that you could ever meet,are part of these footsteps.Like my friend JoAnn said to Bethy in her message I salute you.

Carry on soldier and God’s blessings.

Grandpa’s Girl

Bethany and Grandpa

My Bethany is in the United States Navy and she is deployed right now. As her mother I am anxious because she is so far from home and I haven’t heard from her. We usually email back and forth but that has not been possible this last month because my internet has been down. The frustration I have felt trying to get my provider to get me up and running just about drove me crazy. After many phone calls to a stupid computer telling me to try this and try that and sitting on the phone for hours to talk to a live person I had about had it. We had a technician out and he thought it was fixed and it was for about ten minutes. The next day I called and waited forty minutes to talk to someone and told them if it wasn’t fixed by the end of the day we were cancelling all of our services with them. Why didn’t I do that in the first place I don’t know. The reason I even bring it up is because usually I am a take charge kind of person but I let worry overtake this thing because of my Beth. I just knew she was emailing me and thought I wasn’t taking the time to answer. I knew she needed to tell me something important and I wasn’t there for her and I worried she was feeling all alone. That wasn’t the case I am happy to say because I never got one email from her when my computer was up and running. That’s how it goes when you have a kid in the service. You go through what I call the three W’s,wait wonder and worry.Not good and I am trying to get over it.

My Beth is an Aviation Structural Mechanic for Safety Equipment. She loves her job. I sent her some questions when she first left and this is what she told me.

They have church everyday on the ship and Lutheran services on Sunday.

She works twelve hours a day from six at night until six in the morning seven days a week.

She really can’t tell me where they are because of Operational Security.

The food is pretty lackluster but you can buy snacks until they run out which is often.

She shares a room with about fifty other females from different commands.

She doesn’t like to touch anything in the shower.

She has trouble keeping weight on right now.

People tell her she is refreshing to be around and she has made many friends.

When she emails it sounds like she could be anywhere and it is still my Beth. I hope that if you know someone in the Armed Forces you take a little time for them. Send them a letter a package or just a card. Let them know they are missed and loved. It is our responsibility to keep them informed about what is going on back home. They miss us and they are tired so I am sure that even brings on loneliness. Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers but also give them something tangible to hold on to and look at. If you belong to an organization or a church hand out their address and ask them to help.Anything from home is something they will love.

I know my girl reads this blog when they have access and that was another thing that tricked me off when our service was down but it is up today and I am doing this for her.I love you Bethy. I miss you and I can’t wait to hear from you. Dad and I talk about you every day. I put that picture up there of you and Grandpa because he was so proud of you. You remember the day don’t you? I bet he has the biggest grin on his face right know and is spewing ship details to everyone up there that will listen. Grandma too is so proud and she loves you so much.She asks everyday if we have heard from you and she plans on sending you some of those cookies that you love. She has never erased that I love my Grandma Perkie off her message board by the phone that you wrote many moons ago.

You are on everyone’s mind back here at home. Thank you for doing what you do and for being my daughter. You are a blessing and I love you.

I have one last thing I want to do for my girl. If you could please give her a hello today on this blog. It doesn’t take but a little bit of time and it will make me so happy that she has something to read from all of us wherever we are. People she is special and has been from the start. Give her a little love.

Thank you and Blessings Everyone.Bethy 2

Thoughts From a Navy Girl’s Mother

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My daughter Bethany is in the Navy.Right now she is out on the ocean on a big ship and I can’t just pick up the phone and talk to her like I normally do when I miss her.Now we email.She knows I love her with all of my heart but I wonder if she knows how much I appreciate how much she loves me and that it has taken me a long time to realize that.

Bethany came to this family when she was fifteen months old.If you haven’t read about it my little post Home Made or Imported That is the Question give it a look now.I have loved this beautiful creature since the minute I laid eyes on her.She was scared of everything at first and  wouldn’t go from the living room carpet to the linoleum in the kitchen.To think that now she is so far away from home on a ship and loving her job is almost unimaginable to me.

The reason I need to write this is to let her know how important she is to me.We have had our ups and downs and at times I am sure she thought I was from another planet.Sometimes I wasn’t understanding and maybe expected too much but I always wanted what was best for her.I now realize that when she was looking for her heritage it wasn’t because she wanted a new family,it was because she needed to know where she came from.I would do the same.Maybe what she doesn’t know was that I wanted to go on that journey with her.I wanted to be there when she needed me and I needed reassurance that she wanted me and not them.I hope that Bethany thinks back on our life together as I do my childhood with pride and the knowledge that her mother and father in this tiny town of Owendale were a spring board for the adventures that she now has.I want for her to think of a pink bedroom that she shared with a little Wheel as a soft place to fall and I hope when ever she sees the word home it reminds her of a big blue house with baking cookies in the oven and kids everywhere.

Bethany and Grandpa

I have to remember that my Bethany is a gift.God made her in His Image and she was given to me because He knew that we would be the right fit.I know now that she is doing important work and she is a soldier.She may be a world traveler but I know her heart is always where her family is.Her beginning in this world came from another woman but she is ours.She was the pride of her Grandpa and is a sweetheart in our family.I don’t want her so far away but I am so proud that she is serving our country.

She knows how to swim in the ocean and she can shoot a gun.She knows about airplanes and how to command respect.She is so much smarter in worldly things than her mother and I hope she knows that her mother is amazed at her resilience.When she couldn’t do what she set out to do in the Navy she learned something else and was first in her class.

Sometimes I  think of the song Blue Navy Blue sung by Diane Renay from a long time ago when I look at Bethany’s Navy picture that hangs on our wall.I change the words around a bit to suit her and me.

Blue navy blue I’m as blue as I can be

‘cause my steady girl said “ship ahoy’’

And joined the Nay-ee-ay-vee

Bethany is an adult woman protecting our country,but to me she is still my little girl,my baby that I rocked and that slept with her big sister Brooke.I can picture her long beautiful hair flying as she runs down our upstairs steps and I am sad right now because I miss her so.I want to touch her and I want to hear her goofy laugh.I need my baby home and can’t wait for her to get here.

beth baby 001This is the beginning of a Navy girl.Just a little baby in a foster home that came to live in a big blue house with a big sister,brother,mother and dad that thought she was the most precious thing on earth.She is all grown up now and I still carry her around.The only difference is it is in my heart.Love you Beth!