The sun is shining, and I am feeling quite inspired. Yesterday was quite a day for me. I have been getting all the ancestor pages together, not realizing just how much work they would be. It is not a sense of indifference, quite the opposite. These are our roots... but I do not have the story embedded in my heart. As connected to the past as I am, they are not MY memories. (on a side note - I did not do most of the journaling - the pages that have a great deal of old typed text were taken from printed materials from family books done by others. One of the nifty benefits of Photoshop is that I was able to take the "white" out of the documents and drag them into the layouts. - an example of what I mean by "somebody else's story".)
So, yesterday, I decided to get into more of MY memories, or should I say OUR memories. I thought about making pages of more recent times... his wedding, his trip to Disney Land, times at Seeley Lake etc. I spent some time cleaning up photos in PS and started to play. I had no idea of the power of some of these images. I had put my headphones on (listening to my blog play list) - much like at this very moment. Toward the end of my photo editing, I started to come across photos of Boy's return home - airport photos.... THAT is when the waterworks started (much like this moment as I type this). It amazes me how a single photo can take you to a specific place ~ a moment in time, and you can feel every single emotion you had when it was "live". Powerful stuff!!!!
When the word of deployment came, there was so much insanity in Iraq (Nick Berg had just lost his life). I was terrified, but I also knew that I had no choice in the matter. He is a proud soldier, and had committed to serve his country with honor. Whether we believe in this mission or not, it is the soldiers we must always support. (and their families)
I remember the day we were at the National Guard Armory saying good bye. I remember the children crying as the roll call took their daddies to buses to go catch a plane for six months of training. I remember hugging my son, and then his wife and me, crying in each other's arms after he was gone. I had promised myself not to worry until he was actually boots on sand. I had 6 months to try to prepare myself. I had to have faith that it would all be OK. It was truly in God's hands.
He was able to come home for two weeks between training, and going to Iraq. This will tell you what kind of boy (Man) he is... He was supposed to get in on my birthday. I knew it would be late, and that he would want to be with his wife. (Moms have to step aside for wives sometimes, and this was one of those times). His wife wanted to take me out to lunch for my birthday. I met her at Applebee's, and guess who was at the table. The brat had snuck into town the day before, and wanted to surprise me. Yes, these are the moments that tell you you have raised a compassionate human being... and yes there were tears. Tears of joy. He has provided so many of those.
He was able to come home on leave after 6 months. We were not told ahead of time. He would just get the order, and fly home for 2 weeks. I had gone to Miles City with a friend, Patsy. We had stopped in Billings to see a friend, and put her on a plane. That is when the call came that he would be home in about 3 to 4 hours. That gave me just enough time to get back to Bozeman to meet his plane - and yes, I was right on time - just barely!!! (Cruise control and 75 mph) LOL!!! We will miss NO homecoming by golly!!! We had such a nice time, and I was feeling less stressed. I hated that he had to go back, but I knew it was almost over.
Last, but certainly not least, I remember when I was at work one day when the cell phone rang. It was him. "Mom, I am in Kuwait, and I am stepping on a plane and coming home". More tears of joy, and a HUGE sigh of relief. We went to Helena about a week later (they had to stop in Tacoma for debriefing). There were hundreds of people at the airport hanger - there to welcome their men and women home. The army had chartered a American Airlines plane, as there were alot of soldiers coming home that day. We watched the plane come out of the west - then it kept going back toward the mountains, then... it turned and came back - low... the pilot did a "FLY BY". It was incredible. (of coarse it might not have been so good for the guys, as there were some pretty fancy curves... Boy said there were a few "green" guys surrounding him. I was close enough to the plane after landing to get a photo of him stepping off the plane. THAT is a total keepsake. They had t go across town to get "released from duty". They closed the roads in town - police escorts etc. All the families went in the procession. The thing that will always stick with me were the crowds of people (thousands) that lined the entire route - saluting.
A day embedded in my heart forever.
And here are 2 layouts from it. There will be more, but these are my faves.
The layout below is somewhat my own... with 2 borrowed elements - the wordart is again Bethany's and the frame is from Lesley at Digkeepsakes (I LOVE HER WORK - go check her out!!!). The photo was taken by me. they wanted a portrait of sorts. I do better with candids, so I told them to go play over by the water (we were at a local lake). I had my 300 mm lens... and this was the "money shot" so to speak. As we were leaving that day - we saw a double rainbow. I turned the actual photo into a watercolor - and there you have it.
Have a great day!