As I was driving across the dark, unlit base the other evening to drop off muffins for a spouses' event, I was suddenly struck with a very particular feeling, one that I don't usually get, and when I do, I never pay attention to it. Although it was wasn't raining I hypnotically watched the wipers on the truck go back and forth across the windshield. The extra humidity at night always brings about a heaviness, this time made manifest as dew on my windshield. The open fields of the underutilized base, lined with sporadic palm trees did nothing to assuage my sudden feelings. How did I get here? To Corpus Christi? Yes, it is Texas, but hardly so for a girl from Dallas.
I've been carrying that helpless and sometimes hopeless feeling around with me for a few days now, extra baggage during this already stressful limbo period. As I woke up this morning to another day of very little responsibilities, I wondered that question again. How did I get here? With an empty house and a cup of tea, I sat down at the kitchen table with my thoughts. My thoughts carried me all the way back to the days when I was a tiny baby. OK, maybe not actually that far, but to thoughts of seeing pictures of me as a tiny baby...dressed in Texas A&M gear.
Literally my entire family on my mom's and dad's sides have gone to A&M. I was one of the 'few and proud' third generation Aggies on campus (grandparent-parent-me). Thanks to my parents' encouragement and my dad's threat of not paying for any other college (I never knew if he was serious or not, but decided not to test him!) I never seriously dreamed of attending any other college. So, fast forward from my tiny baby days with A&M bows in my barely there hair, to the beginning of my junior year of college at A&M. About a month into school had brought a few old boyfriends trying to get back together (once was enough!), a few new dating prospects, and a feeling of a great change about to happen in my life.
My parents have a little ranch house about 20 minutes away from Texas A&M. One particular Sunday I attended the little country church with them and my baby brother, who was about 8 at the time. During the middle of church, he crawled into my lap, and I put my arms around him and just hugged him while the sermon continued. That very moment is what started those feelings of impending change that would bring about how I got here.
No more old boyfriends, no more casual dating. I wanted something real and lasting. Forever. 2 weeks later I met my future hubby in my first floor dorm room window. Of course I didn't know I would be marrying that shy boy, but I was intrigued by the way he talked to me, the sweet way he looked at me, like he could already see the real me, the way he would always kiss my cheek, and his crooked little smile.
Fast forward through the next few years and you'll see that shy boy from my window receiving his Marine Corps contract and scholarship (Big deal! I thought at the time.), us falling in love, him finding out that he got his flight contract, us being so in love, my graduation, a marriage proposal, a year apart (with only weekend visits) during our engagement, his graduation and commissioning, a wedding, our first move courtesy of the USMC, us falling even more in love every day, a move to Florida, another move to South Texas, and my happy face every time he walks through the door.
It's a beautiful day in Corpus Christi today. Sunny, clear, and an appropriate 40 degrees outside. And I can happily remember and understand how I got here.