The Not-So-Jolly Emotions of a Pilot’s Wife at Christmas

 

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The Not-So-Jolly Emotions of a Pilot’s Wife at Christmas

When my girls were twelve and seven, they were taking ballet for a season. As the holidays approached, they had been practicing several routines for the big Christmas event.

As excited as I was to see my girls perform, a growing anxiety rose within as I knew what would be required of me.  There was only one of me, but there were two girls, two different dances, two costume changes and two hair prep demands.

With Jeff working I wondered, how would I get it all done?

  When the big day arrived, I tried to balance my husband being gone and my parents’ arrival with the demands of getting the girls’ hair and makeup ready and a two-year-old needing a nap.

Needless to say, girlfriend, I was not in a jingle-bell Christmas spirit! All I really wanted was some quiet, and a  have glass of wine!

Finding a seat of cheer

When I arrived at the Hall, I took the girls to their designated places for the performance. 

They were excited as well as my son.

When the girls settled, I needed to find a table to that would allow me to take pictures and have enough chairs for my parents and Jeff when they arrived.  As the world slowed down, I felt as if a plane of loneliness had flown over me.  All I wanted to do was take off.

To overcome my loneliness, I looked for tables with people who seemed friendly or for the familiar face of a mom from the ballet studio.

I don’t know about you, but when I am in a crowd of people, and by myself, it’s not fun. 

When I finally found a place to sit, I was greeted with kindness and smiles. It was easy to find common ground for conversation as we talked about who are children were and which performance they would be in. At one point someone asked my son, Tobin, “Where is daddy?”  In true two-year-old fashion, Tobin replied, “Daddy, plane.”

Funny how those two little words opened the door to all the familiar questions”…Oh, he is a pilot?  How many days is he gone? Does he fly the same route? Do you get to travel a lot?

    Usually, I can handle those questions, but at this time of the season, I just couldn’t.

As I sat there with my new friends and answered their questions about my absent husband,  all I wanted to do was to take-off somewhere else. That’s not always easy to do in a season that’s supposed to be all wrapped up in joy.

Not-so-jolly emotions

When you’re a pilot’s wife, taking care of it all during the holidays, some of the feelings you have wrapped up aren’t always pretty and sweet.

  • A gift bag of frustrations because I have to do so much by myself.
  • A box of comparison and jealousy when I see other families laughing and carrying on about their plans for Christmas,
  • *A stocking full of loneliness.

Unwrapping the Emotions of the Holidays

I’ve been flying this Christmas route for years, and I’ve learned that those wrapped up emotions are honest emotions.

So how do I carefully unwrap those feelings, so they don’t pour out on everyone else?

1.  I remind myself that God knows my struggles and frustrations, and he offers me support and wisdom to handle those difficult times.

2.  I take comfort in knowing that God has equipped me with confidence and encouragement in areas where I feel as if “their” Christmas tree is greener and shinier than mine.

3. I trust that I’m not alone.  I may feel lonely, but in truth, God is with me every step of the way.

4.   I try to find comfort and joy in all circumstances and focus on the blessings I have: a smile, a wave from the stage or a little boy laying his head on my shoulder.  Most importantly,  I have a husband who loves me and wants to be there for recitals and events. Even if he is a little late.

Recently, I asked my girls if they remember their dad being at their Christmas program.They don’t recall their dad showing up late.  What they remember is their dad giving them hugs and kisses after their performance.   Both of them said, “Of course, he was there!”

Looking back now, I have to admit, that day was fun.  I was proud of my girls, and my heart was full love and joy watching them on stage. 

I know first hand that this time of the season I experience a multiple of emotions and challenges of being a pilot wife.  I have to continually remind myself to be open for unexpected bumps,  detours, and even late arrivals.

A Shoe for the season

So what type of shoe should we pilots’ wives slip on to feel secure, confident, and not-so-alone during this holiday season?

Personally, I love a canvas Ked sneaker.

Why?

  Because canvas is a durable fabric. It’s tough, and it withstands a lot of things.

How appropriate since the Keds company motto is, “To empower women to be who they want to be and go where they want to go.”

Wow! Isn’t that like us as pilot’s wives to feel empowered and strong, especially during this, or any season?

I also love how versatile a canvas Ked can be: festive and sparkly or just plain white.  It’s the kind of shoe that can take you from day to night, so you’re ready for anything. It’s also the perfect shoe to chase a 2 yr-old around while suddenly stopping to watch your girls on stage.

There’s no doubt I need that type of shoe during the holiday season!I

Decorating my canvas Ked

If I were to decorate my Keds, I would add a little glitter and color but, I would also paint a verse on each one.

On one side, I would have “I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me.”

( Philippians 4:13 NIV)  The other shoe I would paint, “The steps of the godly are directed… He delights in every detail of their lives. ( Psalm 37:23 NLT)

I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me.z (1)

 

 

I can do anything through Christ that strengthens me.z

These verses comfort me as I am easily distracted when things get off course, or I find myself getting lost in all the events, i.e., performances, parties, etc. They are my reminder that God is watching over me, and directing my steps. 

You and I just need to trust him! 

This season let’s remember that  God knows what we are doing at all times. From juggling our kids’ activities to feeling alone in a crowd and to the frustrations and overwhelming feelings of trying to do it all. 

After all, isn’t He the one who designs our shoes for whatever flies into our path?

How would you decorate your holiday Keds? Leave a comment below, and let’s share what sort of Keds we’re wearing this Christmas.

Love for you to fly over to The Takeoff and Landings Facebook page. Where we can talk and encourage each other while living this life.

Take off and Landings Always,Tiffany

 

He’s landed, he’s landed

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Do you remember the TV show Fantasy Island? I do.

I loved it when Tattoo would climb to the lighthouse, ring the bell and shout out,”The plane! The plane!” Mr. Rork would greet the guests as they were arriving and say, “Here, you will be a part of miracles.”

Just like on Fantasy Island, the plane has landed at my house.  However, I’m far from announcing, “He’s home, he’s home!”

Lessons in Landings

My husband has been on a three-day trip, and he will be home in less than 8 hours.  I’m looking forward to being with him, but, girlfriend, I have no bell to ring.

While my pilot was away my son’s turtle died. Being the compassionate, loving mom I said a little turtle prayer and suggested that we have a burial ceremony in our canal behind our house. The whole time I tried not to cry.  Afterwards, we went back to the house to dispose of the tank full of smelly water. While doing so, five-gallons of water spilled all over the floor!

Need I say more?

As I sit here in my yoga pants and walking shoes waiting for my pilot to land, I’m also thinking and praying. With all the departures and arrivals of my life, it’s not about the “shoes” I wear going from one gate to the next; it’s what I put in them.

When I put on my shoes, I set the mood for my pilot’s arrival.  I can make the landing bumpy or smooth for him.

Over the years, here are a few things I’ve learned…

1.I set the altitude of his arrival.

2. I need to focus on his arrival, and not my problems.

3. I try hard not to instantly share every little thing that happened i.e. turtle died, a flood of water on the hardwood floor or present him with a long list such as fix the tub, install a lamp above the dining room table, etc.

I have a choice.

A verse that speaks to me about how I handle his arrival is in Psalm 20:14  It  reads,

“ May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you?” (NLT)

_May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you._Psalm 20_14 (NLT) (1)

When Jeff comes home from a trip there are times that I need to take a deep breath and remember that God’s love will guide me in what I say and how I think. While I think I have it tough when he is away, I’m learning that his time away from home isn’t always sunny either.

It’s not all blue skies for him either

Recently Jeff received a small package in the mail from SWA and it said he would be featured in “LUV mail”. They wanted to thank him for living and working the Southwest way. They also sent him a heart pin that he could wear or attach to his bag.

Of course, I was curious! What did he do to earn such a special pen and honor?

I asked him and he said, “Oh I don’t know, must be something.”

So I immediately took a trip to find out what he did.  Apparently, this past summer while he was about to pushback from the gate, a passenger had an upset stomach and made a tactical error in trying to reach the lavatory that was at the back of the plane.  As you can guess, the passenger did not make it all the way,  and in the process managed to throw up on 3 passengers.   While the flight attendants immediately took charge of cleaning up, Jeff ran out to the terminal and bought clothes for the affected passages.

As if that weren’t enough, that same flight had to divert to another city due to thunderstorms and windshear, resulting in a second round of air sickness. In the end, they refueled and were able to return to their original city.

Crazy, right? He was definitely not landing on Fantasy Island.

Let’s face it, no one desires that kind of life, our lives as pilot’s wives are anything but. Now I know, some days neither is my pilot’s.

I have to remember that my husband’s day to day responsibilities, of dealing with passengers and weather can be just as challenging as at home.

So when he arrives home after stormy travels, I have a choice. I can vent, by pouring out my frustrations when he walks through the door, or I can have an open heart and mind to let him rest and feel welcomed.

“It’s better to live alone in the corner of the roof than in a house shared with a contentious  (nagging) woman.” (Proverbs 25:24 NASB)

How to plan for a smooth arrival

So what can you and I do to make our pilots feel as if they’re landing on their own Fantasy Island?  Here are some ideas you may want to consider:

1.Slip on some open-toe booties which say, I’m open to listening about his day before I speak.

2.Give him space to reconnect with the kids.

3.Most importantly, kiss and hug him as he comes home.

4. After 3 days of eating out, plan a “home-cooked meal”. It will mean more to him then you could know!

I won’t lie, at our house, not every landing is smooth. I struggle. I fail. And I admit Jeff has come home to a nagging wife. Within minutes of his arrival, I can easily share with him all the frustrations that I have dealt in his absence.

Those days, however, are few and far between. Not because we’re perfect people, but solely because we’ve both worked on our arrivals with each other.

Right now, it’s good. We just have to remember that like our pilots, you and I  are in an ever-changing pattern that life has for us.

So when I  get a  text message of “I have landed,”  I run into my closet, slip on my open-toe booties, and prepare my heart to welcome my pilot home.

How do you welcome home your pilot when he returns from a trip?  I’d love to know! Leave me a comment below and let’s learn from one another.            

Take off and Landings Always,Tiffany

Love for you to fly over to my Takeoff and Landings Facebook page.

 

 

 

I don’t do weekends…

I don't do weekends photo

I don’t do weekends…

When my husband takes off out on a Thursday or a Friday only to arrive a few days later, I often find myself in a love-hate relationship with the weekend:

1.Friday nights – everyone else is on a date with their pilot, while I sit at home alone.

2. Saturday – full of kids activities, rebellious attitudes, and the inevitable accident.

3. Sunday – I walk into to church by myself, putting on my “I’m blessed to be here” face for others. In reality, all I want to do is hide in my seat by the window and cry.

Please don’t think that all my weekends are like this cause, in all honesty, they are not.I do have some weekends that are full of fun with friends and family.  Nevertheless, I will find myself flying into a weekend that wasn’t on my schedule.

A boot-kicking type of weekend

I have two boys. I love them to pieces but they are a challenge at times. So much so, most days feel like I’m in constant turbulence with them.

A few years ago the boys were outside playing with nerf guns.  Harmless fun, right? Not with my two.  Within 30 minutes, their fun of shooting each other had turned into a battle to see who could break the other’s gun first. 

I could only watch from my kitchen window and wonder what my pilot would say if he were here.  I glanced at the clock – it was only 10 am!

Later that afternoon, I asked my oldest son to mow the lawn.  By his attitude and behavior, you would have thought I’d asked him to mow 10 acres with a push lawn mower. Every so often he would come inside dying of thirst or be complaining the mower wasn’t working.

At that point, I was ready to throw off the black suede boots I was wearing that day and hit the call button to kick some bootie!

On weekends like this, I’ve found that my black suede boots support me in the “tuff” areas of walking, standing, and protecting myself when my pilot is gone.

Need some suede protection

We’ve all had the unexpected happen when our husbands are away: sick kids, broken pipes, the family dog attacked by a raccoon or a boat hanging ever so slightly off the lift.

While those situations weren’t funny at the time, I can laugh at those incidents now.  If you’re like me when those things happen, you may want to pack up your black suede booties in a bag and scoot off into the sky.

Honestly, though, I wouldn’t change one bootie.  I have three different ones for flights such as these:

  • Slip-on for easy access for whatever flies my way
  • Lace-ups  when I need strong support
  • Open-toe booties for when my husband is coming home

Adapting to my husband leaving is not easy, even after all these years.  I may take off wearing one style of bootie and immediately put on a different one.  But that’s the life of a pilot’s wife.

When my husband flies off I have to plan and prepare, ‘cause I’m up against far more than I can handle on my own. Although I get to pick out which shoe I choose to wear when my pilot’s gone, ultimately I need  God to show me how to protect my feet.

That’s why I love this verse in the bible, ”….for shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared.”  Ephesians 6:15 (NLT)For shoes, put on the peace that comes from Good News so that you can be fully prepared.Ephesians 6-15 ( NLT) (1)Our shoes are never a mistake. We buy them and wear them for whatever season we are in to handle any malfunction that may occur while our pilot’s on duty. Our shoes provide us with the traction we need for those difficult times/days/moments. When we put on black suede booties we find an anchor for our faith.

If you think about it, suede’s a delicate material. It stains easily, and it’s hard to get rid of scuff marks – kind of like the stress we PWs endure when we’re flying solo. In addition, it’s not the best fabric to withstand rain either – similar to the tears we shed as we face the struggles we encounter on the weekends. 

 

 

However, if you were to put a protectant spray on your shoe, in the form of God’s covering, and lightly brush them with prayer and God’s Word, then your suede boots will last longer.  And so will you, my friend.

Without that hope, we’d find ourselves heading out the door without anything covering our feet! Then where would we be?

Something happens when I wear black suede booties. I become more aware of the way I walk and act. Yes, there will be some turbulence and rough patches. However, I’m able to take the controls of my day and pray that I won’t experience engine failure.

Which suede bootie are you wearing today?

 

Take off and Landings Always,Tiffany

Love for you to fly over to my Takeoff and Landings Facebook page: https://Takeoff and Landings of a pilot wife

Shoes that a Pilot Wife may pack…

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 Have you ever been stressed about which shoes to pack for a trip?

This past summer our family traveled to Japan for two weeks. I was so proud of myself for investing in a few pair of trendy but comfortable shoes to wear with my outfits: a pair of wedges, black espadrilles, Van sneakers and cute sandals. All were walkable and would go flawlessly with my versatile outfits.

When my adult daughters saw what I was packing, my shoe selection went from four to two. All that was left of my original shoe choices were my sneakers and my espadrilles  (which didn’t count as they were only for the plane ride!).

After a lengthy discussion, my girls determined that besides my sneakers and plane shoes, oxfords would be the only other shoes I would need to bring.  Three pairs of shoes for a ten-day trip. That did not fly well with me.

So what did I do? I threw a pity-party shoe fit.

No one walks in our shoes

In those two weeks of our trip, when I decided which shoes I was going to wear for the day of sightseeing, I found myself irritated in what I’d picked out myself.I was disappointed that I didn’t bring the shoes I had originally set out to wear.

As I prepared for our trip and set out my shoes and outfits, I made sure they would all fit in my carry on bag.  I have been traveling for more than 25 years; I’m confident in knowing how to pack for a 10 day trip in a 22 inch required carry on.  In other words, girlfriend, by letting others make choices for me ….I was creating my own turbulence.

How many times do we pick out the perfect shoes for just the right occasion, only to have someone come question our choice and tell us we shouldn’t be wearing those shoes?

A pilot wife shared with me that no one walks in our shoes. There are times that our friends, our children, and our family do not see what we personally pack every day to put in our life of travels but us.

Maybe you’ve found that to be true too?

Different Shoes for Different Travels

For over 25 years I’ve ventured into my closet to find the right shoes for the right occasion.  As a Pilot’s Wife, you may have a similar collection of footwear as well:

1. You’re leaving, oh wait, you’re coming home? ( Suede bootie)

2. Sergeant Mom has arrived  (Military boot)

3. Reunited and it feels so good (Sandal)

4. WHAT??? You’re picking up a trip or you’re rerouted.( Flip-flop )

5. These are the storms of my life (Rain boots)

6 5 Second or less communication (Running shoes)

7.Keeping things stabilized( loafer.)

8. I’m his runway for when he lands. (Stilettos)

9.  How to bring my own glitter to the Holidays (sparkly glittery shoes)

10. I’m on the conveyor belt and I can’t get off! I ( finding your own shoe)

11. A wedge of friends ( Wedge)

12. Traveling on the wings of flexibility—Changing at a moments notice  (Easy on, easy off flats)

Maybe you’re like me and you love the shoes you’re wearing.  But if I’m being honest, some days all I want to do is throw them out the exit door. The shoes, not my pilot.

As you walk with me down the runway of our lives, may we bring each other encouragement, love, and laughter.

If you find a new shoe  I would love to hear about it.