Fear of Arrival…

Image

t-shirt add ons

Have you ever walked into a room feeling apprehensive about what you were wearing?

As I headed into a party the other night where pilots, flight attendants, and other friends, were in attendance, I wasn’t sure I had chosen the right shirt. In fact, I was so nervous I carried my tote bag over my chest to cover it because I didn’t want anyone to see what it said.

What was I wearing that caused me this much panic and anxiety? 

Yes, He’s working

No, I don’t know when he’ll be home.

Yes, we are still married.

No, He’s not imaginary.

While I love the shirt and think it’s highly appropriate for a PW like me, I was uncertain about how people would react to those phases. Thankfully after one cold beer, my t-shirt insecurity flew away.  As I talked with different people throughout the night, people stopped me to ask about my shirt:

  • A group of pilots laughed at the phrase, “He’s not imaginary, and No, I don’t know when he will be home.”
  • When another pilot read my shirt said, “No, he is not imaginary and lets’ keep that way. My schedule can change at a moments notice and heck; I don’t even know where I’m going half the time.” ( actually, our pilots do know where they’re going).
  • Even my PW wedge of friends couldn’t help but laugh cause they personally know the truth each of those phrases conveys.

Despite my earlier unease, I’m glad I wore the shirt to the party – not only because it added some fun to the evening, but it also reminded me of how I always respond to those phrases with others.

IMG_0955

My T-shirt reality

Yes, he is working. I’m not just making it up. His job is to fly those big jets in the sky, which requires him to be away from home a lot. He will wake up at 0 -dark early or finish his day at the wee hours of the morning.  His day is making sure hundreds of passengers arrive at their destinations without any technical difficulty.  He loves the work he does, and I’m proud of him for it!

No, I don’t know when he will be home. I’m not the PW who tracks his location all the time. Instead, I  put on my Superpower PW cape and take on my day!  I run errands, manage everyday household tasks and fill my day doing what I love to do such as writing (my job) and work on staying calm and picking my battles with a teenage boy. 

Jeff’s schedule can change in the blink of an eye. As I’m writing this, Jeff got called out on a three-day trip. He’s scheduled to come back tomorrow. However, that could change like the wind, and he could be home three days later.  So, no, I don’t know when he will be back.   But when he does return, I’ll be happy to see him fly into my arms. As long as he’s been a pilot, I can’t remember a time when I haven’t been happy to see him.

Yes, we are still married.  That’s why Jeff leaves for three or four days. Hahaha! I won’t lie to you, we’ve had turbulence, malfunctions, and miscommunications in our marriage. (you can read about those here).  But over the course of our marriage, we have learned to carry the bag of grace, patience, respect, and more importantly, the oversized bag of love.  I have heard from a few PW’s and their spouses that being a pilot requires some adjustments that are different from flying.

In the book Highest Duty by Capt. Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger he says, “I can control an airplane and make it do what I want it to do. I can learn all of its component systems and understand how they work in every circumstance. Piloting is well defined, with a process that is predictable and understandable to me. Relationships, on the other hand, are more ambiguous. There’s a good deal of nuance, and it’s not always obvious what the right answer is.”

Let’s be real, girlfriend, we are far from being predictable and understandable! At least I know I’m not!

So, yes, we are still married, I love him more and more each time he lands back into my life.

He is not imaginary.  Because I attend events, parties, and church by myself a lot, there have been occasions where people question whether I really have a husband!  When someone asks me where my husband is,  my brain goes into auto-responder mode:

*He is flying. 

*He’s gone for a few days. 

*He’s on the beach and decided not to take me (just to be sassy!)

I get excited to tell others about my husband and who he flies for. I’m proud of who is, and I talk about him with respect and love.  Trust me, he’s not imaginary… he’s alive and real!

In the end, it was fun to wear my shirt. In doing so, it brought up some great conversations with other wives and even their husbands.

If I made my own PW t-shirt, here are a few statements I’d consider having on it:

Stay steady and calm upon arrival

Altitude and Attitude are essential

Flexibility needed in all areas

I make him happy when he leaves and when he comes home

If you were to make a PW t-shirt what would you have on it? Leave a comment below, love to read what yours would say.

fullsizeoutput_4b1

 Take-off and Landings always, Tiffany

(**You can read more about these on a series I did A Pilot Wife and her shoes)

Love for you to hop on over and join  The Takeoff and Landings Facebook

Rain Boots by the Door at all Times

 

Rain boots requiredHave you ever had a water explosion you couldn’t identify? Or you wake up at 0 dark early to the sounds of your dog yelping in pain outside?

These are the storms of my life, and both of them required me to wear my rain boots.

There is a saying amongst Pw’s: If something is going to happen that includes waters, it does so when our husbands are away.   In my case, every water rescue occurred that way.  I want to share two of them with you as I’m sure you can relate. I have had a few waters rescues in my 25 years of marriage.

Water Emergency #1  

I heard a loud knock at my front door at 5 am one morning. With Jeff out of town, I created in my mind a madman or ghost coming into my house.  I didn’t want to answer the door, so I hid under the covers hoping whoever it was would go away.   

A few hours later my neighbors called to tell me that water was spouting out at the corner of the house.   It had made a loud noise that startled them out of bed.  Apparently, one of our sprinkler heads popped off, hit the roof, and all that water was making its way into our garage ceiling.   To make matters worse, I didn’t notice the intensity of the water damage until two days later when Jeff came back home.

Water Emergency #2

Another morning, my boys let our dog out in the backyard.  Within minutes of letting her out, I heard loud yelping. Running outside in my pajamas, I saw that a raccoon had attacked my dog and was dragging her out to the water near our boat lift (I later learned that when a raccoon attacks it will take their fight to the water to drown its victim). 

IMG_0065

Lucy’s smile before the Racoon fight.  Gotta love that smile!

Honestly, I had no clue what to do. 

My boys, however, thought that shooting the raccoon with a bb gun was the solution. Sure I would shoot my dog rather than her attacker, I suggested to my boys to throw rocks while I grabbed the water hose and aimed it straight at the evil animal. Within 5 minutes, which seemed like an eternity, we managed to scare the raccoon away and free our dog from its snare.

Upon closer inspection, we say that there was minimal damage to Lucy. She was out of breath, had some blood on her paws from the oyster shells in the water, and suffered cuts on her neck from the raccoon’s teeth. In the end, she only needed a few rabies shots and some recovery time to overcome the trauma.

Each of these water emergencies required me to don my rain boots. I gladly put them on as they provided stability and protection during a crisis.

Sully’s rules for emergencies

A few years ago I read the book Highest Duty, by Capt. Chesley “ Sully” Sullenberger. I’m sure you recall the unforgettable landing he and his FO made on the Hudson River.

In the book, he said there are general rules about any aircraft emergency. 

1. Maintain aircraft control.

2. Analyze the situation and take proper action

3. Land as soon as conditions permit.

Some pilots have found an easy way to remember these basic rules: Activate, navigate and communicate.

Being married to a man who lives and flies by these rules, has caused me to adopt the same mindset when faced with water emergencies.  I will confess there are times where I first panic, scream and maybe cry, but within minutes I have switched gears to:

1. Activate my surroundings and establish what is going on.  I have to simultaneously gain control of the situation while at the same time remain level-headed with my emotions and the emotions of those around me.

2. Navigate where it is I need to land as soon as possible. Gather information as to how to find a solution to the problem.

3. Communicate with those around me. Once I’ve assessed the situation and navigated my way to safety, then I need to calmly communicate with others what it is I need help with.

My water challenge rules 

Once I’ve followed those rules and have put on my own personal flotation device, then I call my husband without freaking out and explain to him what just happened.  Let’s face it our husbands are flying a heavy-duty machine in the sky which requires their full attention.   Calling or texting him while he’s flying and yelling, “Mayday! Mayday! “ would only make matters worse.

I will spill out some water guilt, I have called him freaking out about a crisis or emergency, it didn’t make anything better.  In fact, it only made me feel like I was drowning all the more.  How could I expect him to solve my problem when he was miles away?

Now, when I’m alone and facing a difficult situation, I need to rely on the One who not only walks on water, but can cause it, and my troubled heart, to be still. In water emergencies and more, I find comfort in Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.”

“I can do all things through Christ who strengths me.”Philippians 4_13I have to remind myself that I’m not Superwoman. When I face troubles, pressure, and trials,  I should take a moment to pause and ask God to give me strength when it feels like the waters will overtake me. I’m grateful to know He won’t let me drown.

I’m sure we can all share our water stories and how often we find ourselves wearing rain boots.   The storms of our lives definitely offer challenges.  Though, I would have to say that in those water challenges we find the strength we didn’t know was there.  Because of that strength, the next time we step into our rain boots, we can walk with confidence and the right tools.

Our prayer: Dear Father, when stressful times arrive, and I find myself worried and anxious, please give me the peace of mind and calm my troubled heart.  I feel as if I’m in a turbulent sea and unable to find my balance, so I worry. Help me to find clarity of mind and answers that I need for Your protection.  You are my life vest, and I know that you will guide me as I walk through the stormy waters of life.

In Your name, I pray, Amen.

 

IMG_3765   Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

Leave a comment and share your rain boot stories. I’m sure we could get a good laugh and relate from our own water emergencies.

Love for you to hop on over and join  The Takeoff and Landings Facebook  page.