I'm a people watcher. I watch their gaze to see what they're looking at and watch their expression and body language to try to read what they're thinking. When I am able to "test" my hypotheses by talking with someone after my observation, I'm usually right (just ask Hubby!).
Recently, Hubby, Baby, and I were having a farewell breakfast at the base
golf course restaurant before sending Hubby off for a bit. Since he was in
uniform for his departure and it was a Sunday morning, the golf course was our
only dining option. It was a beautiful morning--clear, cool, and just a slight
breeze. Though the golfers were out in droves at that early hour enjoying their
serene morning outside, ours was the only family eating outside on the patio.
We sat and talked, casually enjoying our last few moments together for a while
and watching the comings and goings of the golfers.
Between bites of my fruit and entertaining Baby with stacking jelly
containers, I noticed an older gentleman walk by our family and cast the
sweetest smile in our direction. There was no eye contact. I could tell he was
just smiling at the entirety of the image before him. I watched him watching us
as he walked by. Then he was off in his cart to tee off.
From that kind, reminiscent smile, I knew that he was probably remembering
back to his own days in the military. I bet he had many a meal with his family
under similar circumstances. I bet he had beamed with pride and love for his
family while simultaneously dreading the inevitable separation. I bet he loved
his choice to serve his country and has no regrets about the lifestyle he chose
Seeing that smile gave me an unexpected feeling of comfort. Though fleeting,
that smile offered me a pat on the back, as if he was saying, "I know this
is hard, but I promise you'll look back on your time with the military with
As crazy as it sounds, that stranger's smile gave me that last little bit of
courage I needed to drop Hubby off and say goodbye (again). Years after the
blessings and hardships of his military service, that gentleman is still
smiling. In the thick of the hardships the military is placing on us, that is
encouraging. And that's something to smile about.