Ok, so maybe this is late, considering I’ve already left Alabama. But, I just wanted to get my thoughts out on the subject. Oh, sweet home, Alabama…. what can I say about our time with you?
When Jason was first selected for the aviation program I was psyched for him, and cringed at the location. Rural Alabama? 2 years? I don’t speak southern! But really, it was one of the best experiences of my life.
These two years have taught me so much about myself, my husband, my marriage and my outlook on life. For me, I finally grabbed my… ahem’s…. and went back to school full time. 18 hours every semester. INSANITY. I never knew I could handle so much, but I did. I had a baby in the middle of the term and just kept on going. I learned that even when I feel like there’s simply no way I’m going to get it all done, I still do. I’m really not sure how that all happens, but I stress, I freak, and I accomplish. December is almost here. But I never could have done it without Holly.
Jason. Wow. What can I say about that? He worked so hard to get where he is. He had surgery on his eyes 3 1/2 years ago just to apply for the flight program. He got in on his first look at the board and we were just shocked… well, maybe not shocked since I was pregnant, and Jason always seems to get promoted when I’m pregnant. I’ve never seen him so dedicated in my life. That man ate, slept, and breathed helicopters. He still does. To the point that he seriously woke up in the middle of the night saying, “less weight… more lift…” Nice, baby. I always knew he was capable, but he just wow’ed me.
Brodykins. Alabama will always be about my Brody. My unexpected last baby. It’s a good thing he’s so very mellow because life was just crazy for those years. For crying out loud, he was born a little after midnight, and Jason was back in class for a test by noon. He’s our little Rucker baby. Is it any wonder his nursery is done in helicopters?
Oh, the friends. Mother Rucker brought me so many new experiences. Not always good, but mostly so. I learned that I can be naive. I learned that I had to learn when to say enough was enough. I made some of my dearest friends there. My Rucker girls, you know who you are. These are the girl’s I’ll keep up with, the ones worth the long-distance effort. Thank God for the photo-cropping incident of 2008. Without it, I may have hermitted indefinitely. With friends like these, distance doesn’t really matter. A phone call brings you just as close as a visit. Then again, living up here with Tami doesn’t hurt either… 😉 I met one of my best friends, whom I miss every day… Everyone should be issued a feisty little Italian to keep them on their toes and laughing. Thank you, Elli, for always being a safe place for me. I was blessed by having wonderful neighbors. Emilie will probably never know how often she kept me sane. I learned that it’s not okay to let people hurt you, and that some people have to be cut lose before you let them get the best of you.
I learned how to set aside my own wants for someone else’s needs. As a reward, I got to pin silver wings on my husband’s chest. I’m just so proud of everything he’s accomplished. But I also learned that it’s not all about him. I don’t get a say in where we live. I don’t get a say in when he deploys or what crazy flight hours he gets. But I learned that living this life doesn’t mean I have to give up everything that makes me… me. I’ve learned to carve my own moments and my own accomplishments. I refuse to be the wife who wears her husband’s rank. I have rank of my own, thank you.
I will not miss the shrines to Dale Earnhart in Walmart, or the insane people there. But I will miss the sunsets, the warm winters, the drive to the Beach. I will miss living close to my brother. But most of all, I will miss my friends, and our small slice of time that we all had together. We’re all headed out now, all over the globe. To the boys, I say, “fly safe. Remember, big sky, little bullets.” And to the girls, I wish them love, luck and sanity during our upcoming deployments. I’m always a phone call or a flight away…. (Katie, I’m telling you… Eclipse. Syracuse.)
Oh, Alabama. Thank you. Thank you for the dwell time. Thank you for my Brody. Thank you for my husband’s mistress…. Apache. I may be going, but I’m leaving you as a much stronger woman than when I arrived. Remember, we all eventually return to Mother Rucker.