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Saturday, June 8, 2013

Funny thing about a Fighter Jet Family

     In our family, when Holden asks for the airplane ride, it's a slow, smooth, gentle ride.  I make a quiet zooooooom sound.  I carry him around and jog at a gentle pace.

     When Holden asks for the jet ride, I move at lightening speed.  I imitate the sounds of bombs exploding and guns being shot.  I twist and turn quickly, trying to simulate the effect of a few G's.  I intentionally make the jet ride far more exciting than the airplane ride. 
Call us aircraft snobs, if you will, because we kind of are.

     When you're a fighter jet family hanging out with other fighter jet families, and some kid calls an F-18 an "airplane", there will be another kid who immediately pipes in and corrects him. He will say, "Well actually it's a jet.... It's an F/A-18 Hornet."


     When you're a fighter jet family, your kid will know more about different types of aircraft and aerodynamics at age 6 than 99% of the adult population.

     When you're a fighter jet family, and you see an airline pilot walking through the airport looking all self-important you'll roll your eyes and think, "My husband compares your job to being a school bus driver."

When you're a fighter jet family, and someone asks your husband what he does for a living, he'll respond with a simple, "I'm a Marine."

When they pry further, he'll respond with,
"I work at the Air Station."

When they ask, "well what do you do at the air station?"
he'll say, "I'm a pilot."

Finally, when they ask what he flies, he'll very quietly and casually say,

 "I fly the F-18 Hornet."
And then it happens:

The "oooooooohs and wows, and women immediately looking at your husband like he's a GQ model, and they give you that raised eyebrow like you've won the lottery.

     And you'll smile knowingly because you have won the lottery. Your husband has worked so hard to earn the privilege of flying F-18's. He continues to work incredibly hard to keep earning this privilege every day. He knows that it wasn't just hard work but a bit of blessing and luck and being in the right place at the right time that got him here.

    And it was guts.... a whole lot of guts to admit that he wanted to be a fighter jet pilot and to throw himself into the ring and fight for it.

     You'll also smile knowingly because only you and the other pilot's wives know how unglamorous his job can often be. Only you know that sometimes on the aircraft carrier, he'll sit in his jet for hours waiting to be catapulted off, and the cooling system doesn't work until you're in the air.

     Only you will know how old the jets are and how often they break, and that praying for your husband's safety and worrying about that knock on your door isn't just a reality during deployment. 
 It's a daily reality.

     Only you will know that sometimes, for just a few minutes, you'll wish your husband was boring and got to come home at 6:00 every night, or heck, even 7 or 8 every night.
     Only you will know how often he's gone for weeks at a time for training.

     Only you will know how very hard this lifestyle is.  It's so hard, and you haven't even made it through your first deployment yet; let alone your sixth or seventh.

It's overwhelming just thinking about it.

     And only you will know that sometimes it feels very uncomfortable to get all of the sexy attention when you know there are all these other incredible men and women in the military--working just as hard and sacrificing just as much.

     And only you will know that despite your occasional dreams of living a normal life; that you are incredibly blessed -- that the same qualities that made your husband become a fighter jet pilot are the qualities you love and admire so much. 

     He is strong, and determined.  He is honorable and hard-working.  He is smart and motivated.  He puts others first, and would sacrifice everything for his family and his country.  He is brave, and a risk-taker.  He is creative and fun.  And somehow, at the end of a 12, or 14, or 16 hour day, he can still come home and listen to how many times your kid went pee-pee on the potty, and that he learned the words camel and otter, and that he ate more at lunch than he did at dinner.  And he'll sit on the edge of his seat listening to this, because that's how amazing and selfless he is.  So even though sometimes you wonder what life on the other side might be like, you know you wouldn't trade this life for anything.  You wouldn't trade him for anything. 

Funny thing about a Fighter Jet Family...



  1. Thank you for being a fighter jet family!!! I love this post! I can't wait to read it to my Luke. He knows what kind of jet your husband flies. He brings home a different military book home from the library every week.

  2. Thanks, Catie! I love that about Luke. He and Chris would be good buddies if they met!

  3. OK, you HAVE to print this out and give it to Chris for Father's day! This is so fun and funny and beautiful and heartfelt! I can't wait to hear about Holden's knowledge of all things jet-related!

  4. I am sure your husband will enjoy reading this even more than all of us! What a beautiful tribute to him.

  5. Thanks, Nancy and Jen! Chris is on an aircraft carrier right now, and just read it. He said it was "very moving and creatively poetic" (among other things) Love that man!