The 3 Items I’d Place in my Adult Backpack.

The three things in my backpackI’ve heard it said that Fall is like New Year’s for women, especially moms. New beginnings, new routine, and a return to structure have made its way back into our lives. It ’s a time to reevaluate our priorities and goals. It’s time to get back to the things we put off over the long days of summer vacation.

A few weeks ago I found myself at Target in the Back-to-School section. I had the overwhelming feeling of excitement as I walked past post-it notes, folders, pencils and pens.  Scanning the larger amounts of supplies, a certain backpack caught my attention. Before I knew it, I  was in the check-out line with this cute backpack!  

You might be thinking a backpack?

That evening while sitting on my couch with a glass of wine and my backpack I thought about what I would put in it.

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  1. Books I want to read and books yet to finish.
  2. A pretty journal to write down my thoughts, goals, and prayers.
  3. Post-it notes to remind me to take time for myself, of course with a new Sharpie.

To be a good mom, a good wife and to be the best possible me,  it’s important that I take the time to have my own backpack. One that is filled with things that bring me fulfillment and joy and peace-especially in those times I need it most.   

Cause let’s face it we all need that!

So exactly which books will I be placing in my backpack? Here’s a list of a few that I’ll be packing. (maybe a few of them will be of interest to you too! )

Non-Fiction:

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 The Fringe Hours Jessica A. Turner 

The Best YesLysa Terkeurst 

Girl Wash Your Face   Rachel Hollis

 

Fiction: Since we all have a different interest in fiction, I recommend that you read an old Classic that interest you as a child or Pick-up a best seller that you’ve heard people raving about.

Relationships:

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The 5 Love Languages- Gary Chapman

The 5 Love Languages of Kids -Gary Chapman

Boundaries  – John Townsend and Henry Cloud

 

 

 

Devotional:

100 days to Brave; Devotions for unlocking your most courageous self Annie  F. DownsIMG_0410

I admit, a few these I have only skimmed through and some I have read with a pen and highlighter in hand.

It’s been said that a well-read woman is a dangerous creature. I love that and am taking that as my homework assignment this fall. My goal is to read one of these books a month.

I don’t know about you, but I  want to be to a dangerous gal of hope, bravery, grace, love, and beauty, with a  little mystery thrown in.  The right book might just help me do that!

My PW friends, what would you put in your backpack?  Would it be books or something else? Leave a comment below. I’d love to know!

fullsizeoutput_4b1 Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

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How I Found my Window Seat of Confidence

How I Found my Window Seat of Confidence

I’m usually not the one who does the travel planning for a trip. I leave that to the experienced travel companion of mine. I just layout where I want to go, the dates we are available and the sights and restaurants I would like to visit. Once I communicate the desired plans to my husband, I can focus on the more important things. Like what to pack! Hey, I have my priorities in check.

A few months ago I took the left seat in planning a trip that was just my daughters and me. It was my youngest daughter’s, Jillian, 21st birthday. She had asked if we could plan a trip to Carmel and Monterey area of California and visit a winery. Once I said yes, I received a detailed list of what my daughter wanted to do and see. With wishlist in hand, it was time for me to get my wheels turning and planning.

My doubtfulness made its arrival

Have you planned something where you have it all mapped from start to finish? Well, I had the arrival of her best friend, Rebecca, to come hours before Jillian was going to get to the house. I envisioned the look of shock as Jillian witnessed her big surprise as she walked into the house.

Unfortunately, that ideal surprise did not play out the way I had hoped. At midnight Rebecca arrived, twelve hours later than expected. I had to adjust a few things to make Rebecca’s arrival a secret and make up an excuse to have Jillian go with me to pick up “a friend” at the airport. Let me just say, Jillian was super surprised! “Mom our family doesn’t do surprises, cause no one can hold a secret” she kept telling me. Little did she know!

IMG_1170With just three hours of sleep that night we woke up excited and ready to enjoy our girls trip. When we finally arrived at our destination, got our rental car and googled mapped our way to our little Air B&B, Jillian said, “Mom, you’re the airport travel queen, you’ve got this down!” What? What they didn’t know was that I was sweating, and my stomach was in knots. The fear of having to do this all by myself scared me!

Why?

1. I didn’t have the security of having Jeff with me.
2. I had to google map everything. I know I can do it, but there is something about having a husband that deals with maps on a daily occurrence.
3. Jeff can navigate his way through any airport all I have to do is follow him.

For me, this trip was a life lesson that I will never forget.

Unpacking the courage I’d been looking for

I’m sure at some point in your life you have heard someone say that they had to travel the world to discover themselves. We all have that desire to find out what it is that makes you, you.

Before this trip was in the planning stages, I found myself praying of what would bring me joy, and renew confidence that I’d lost somewhere between raising kids to having adult children — now. What dreams or goals do I want to accomplish for myself?

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Ever had those thoughts?

I know that I’m not the only PW that struggles with longings of joy and looking for that once lost desire to reach a goal. I know that many of us can’t exactly runaway to California in wishes to discover a new found confidence or yearning we have.

I will say this: I learned a few things about myself, including ~

1. I know that I’m capable of planning a trip from point A to point B. Setting some personal goals that I want to do.
2. Navigating is not as hard as I make it out to be. Just gotta write it out.
3. Don’t be fearful of taking the lead when things are not going as planned.
4. Be flexible in the plan. If what you’re hoping for doesn’t happen as expected, try another way.

With all that being said, doing something that was entirely out of my comfort zone made me discover courage that I didn’t think I had.

We all have that within us, what about you?

Whatever it might be my hope and prayer is that we never stop traveling to find those little discoveries that are deep in our hearts and continue to grow in what God has for us.

I challenge you to find something that will make you get out of your comfort zone. Maybe you need to…

Call a friend that you would like to get to know more.
Start that exercise program that you keep telling yourself that you’re going to do.
Plan a little getaway with your husband.

 

If you are thinking about something, do it! Tell me what it is. I’d love to hear about it.

fullsizeoutput_4b1 Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

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The Important Lessons I Learned from my Kitchen Rag.

The Important Lessons I Learned from my Kitchen Rag 2 (1)

Before I jetted out the door to pick up my handsome navigator, I did a quick wipe down of the kitchen counter of any crumbs, finger marks, and coffee spills.  When we arrived back to the homeland, I positioned myself sitting on our kitchen bar stool. I began sharing with Jeff about family stuff and all the happenings. Before I knew it he promptly grabbed the kitchen rag and began to wipe the counter!   Why did he need to re-clean what had already been cleaned?

As I watched him perform his kitchen cleaning ritual, I found myself wanting to say something that would probably change the whole loving feeling.

Girlfriend, this was not a one-time occurrence; this occurred for a few months! Not only that, but the infamous kitchen rag found a little travel companion-a dish towel was also included in my pilot’s need to tidy up. A double whammy!

I have issues. I admit that. Let’s face it the kitchen is the heart of the home. It’s important to me that I take the time to have that welcome home feeling there for my husband’s arrival. It’s my gift to him, but when he comes in after me and does it all again, that’s when the momma bear in me comes out.

Being a PW, I take pride that I’m independent, and I’ve developed skills in running/controlling a household. I know that I’m not the perfect PW, I struggle. I’m sure I’m not the only one.

So what’s all the drama in the kitchen about?

1. I like to place the dishrag folded over the sink. Jeff prefers to put it on the kitchen faucet.

2. The dish towel has a towel rack below the sink. He likes to dock the towel over the dish rack.

The longer I flew around with the frustrations of things not being where they’re supposed to be (or where I think they should be), I began to form an immediate response of resentment that would continue to repeat in my mind like a broken record.

How was I going to turn off the switch?

In those struggles, I’ve come to realize that I should work on picking my battles and be willing to accept his habits and placements of things. I know he’d do the same with me.

Making a change in my approach

As I became more and more aware of the blurred vision I was developing, I had to think of ways I could match my outlook with expectations.

I set the tone for my home. The way I react effects all those around.

Ask myself, who am I really doing it for?

Evaluate ways to approach my thoughts in how I’m viewing things. 

“We won’t develop new responses until we develop new thoughts.”

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I needed to retrain my brain and my attitude and not necessarily my husband, to my way of thinking and doing things. When it comes down to it, I can’t make my husband place a towel a certain way or a dishrag.  However, I can control how I feel and react.  I choose whether my thoughts are destructive or constructive.

As PWs we have the mindset of taking charge when our husbands are away. That’s a great attribute to have!  Letting some of that go while he’s home can be a challenge at times. But as wives, it’s important that we are flexible and willing to veer off course and let him take controls. In doing so,  we’ve created a show of respect and love as they make their entrance back into our little abode.

So what was the solution?

As I was reevaluating the kitchen control Nazi that I was representing, I started to change my attitude. Yes, I could have nagged and complained, but that’s not going to get me anywhere:

“It is better to dwell in the corner of the housetop than to share a house with a disagreeing quarrelsome, and scolding woman.” ( Proverbs 21:9 The Message)

So rather than looking at it as if he was coming into my space and taking over, I realized that he was taking the time to clean the kitchen, dry the dishes and help any way needed.  Instead of allowing my frustrations to enter in, I needed to offer grace and flexibility rather than assuming I was being corrected. Not only did I need to bring that attitude to the kitchen but with the kids and the remote control.

I’m sure us PWs have our own little control issues whether it be the kitchen rag placement,  determine who’s responsible for the cooking, or agreeing where his suitcase should land when he walks in the door. (Girl, that’s a whole different post).  But that’s the lives we live as PWs, and I’m sure we wouldn’t want it any other way.

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Needless to say, after some prayerful thoughts of a happy home, a happy wife  I bought a sponge that fits inside my stainless steel sink cubby box.  Now I have his and her kitchen towels. As a wife of a pilot, there’s got to be some give and take, wouldn’t you agree?

Do you have issues when it comes to controlling, even over something as simple as a kitchen rag? Leave a comment below. I’m sure we can all learn from each other. 

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Takeoff and Landings, Always, Tiffany

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The Passengers of my Life

The Passengers of my Life

With my coffee in hand, I sat down at my desk, powered up my laptop, and clicked on Facebook. Scrolling through my newsfeed, I noticed that one of my posts from Takeoff and Landings was shared on a PW’s page; I couldn’t help but get a little giddy.

Wow! Someone must have liked what I’d written.

However, within seconds of viewing their post, there were some negative comments that a few people felt compelled to share.  To me, it felt like a dozen people were stating their opinion, but in reality, there were only one or two. Unfortunately, for them, they didn’t agree with my Christian viewpoints as it was related to being a Pilot’s wife.

Needless to say, my day had vastly taken a nose dive and landed hard with tears of negativity and doubt.

Have you ever encountered those types of passengers showing up and choosing to sit right next to you?

Those two “wonderful passengers” (sarcastic tone) grabbed a seat and within minutes became a thorn in my side. They stole my armrest, talked non-stop in my ears and wouldn’t let me have a moments peace. Sadly, it was a long, long, flight for me. That lasted a week!

I flew head-on into a self-pity mode. This wasn’t the first time I’ve boarded a plane only to sit next to those travelers who have caused me to run into the lavatory and cry.

I’m sure we’ve all been there.

When we find ourselves wandering with those passages in our lives, that’s when we should look for the Manual of Emotions and process the situation. 

Here are a few examples of rowdy passengers you might want to look for:

Negativity Nancy. She can arrive at a moments notice, reaching for the call button and telling you that you’re not experienced enough or questioning your position to say things. 

Those critical and negative comments hurt. Ultimately I found myself crying in my closet, feeling like I had a failed landing.

Doubter Debbie. She will plague you with questions of why? how? and are you sure? She’ll take the controls and leave you doubting your actions.

Debbie had me in full-speed confusion about sharing my story. She was spewing excuses into my headset about why I shouldn’t be doing what I love to do.

When seated next to these types of passengers, what’s a girl supposed to do?

My Manual of thoughts

When I come across these type of tourists, ones who like to play with my thoughts and emotions, it’s then I have to pull out my Life Operation Manual and figure out the best way to navigate the situation. Here’s what I’ve read and learned:

  • Maintain Control of the feelings that arrive in our thoughts.

I recall reading — “Someone else’s opinion of you is none of your business …, You believe in your creations…  they deserve to be out in the world.  You create because you have a God-given ability to do so.” (Rachel Hollis Girl, Wash your Face: Stop Believing the Lies About Who You Are)   Armed with that encouragement, I decided to have a better perspective and outlook!

  • Analyze the problem: what is really causing the problem? It is the cynical passengers’ or something else?
  • Take appropriate Action: by looking for someone to talk to or ask for a hug.
  • Maintain Awareness of our surroundings. Stand firm to your goals and trust God to help you what He has called you accomplish.

This life is not easy peasy. It takes prayer and lots of grace and mercy.  I have a story to share, and maybe, just maybe, one PW or two PW’s might be able to relate and say,”That’s where I am! I really needed to hear that!”

One of my favorite authors said, “Negative thoughts lead to a crisis response-activating us physically but hindering our thinking. Positive thoughts allow us to process a situation accurately and respond in a healthy way”.

Are we going to let those contradictory passengers take over our flight? Or are we going to seek out those that bring us the courage and strength to get back on course?

Who I want to travel with

When I find myself squished tightly between Negativity Nancy and Doubting Debbie, it’s then that I can choose to leave my current seat and search for those passengers who can lift me up instead of tearing me down.

Here are the types of seat-mates I would much rather fly with:

Focus Frances. She can help us get back on track by reminding us that we have value and importance to those around us. “Frances” can focus our vision and help us live our best PW life. Thankfully, I didn’t have to search too hard for my “ Frances.” I reached for the intercom and called out to my wedge of friends to vent while sipping a glass of wine. By doing so, I was able to look out the window and see the blue sky of encouragement.

Goal setting Ginger.   Not only is she there to pull me out of the depths of self-pity, but “Ginger” reminds me of my final destination and helps me re-evaluate what I’m doing.  When I was shot down by someone or something that caused me to reroute my thinking, I had to find the ticket that had my goals written on them, showing me a first-class seat in life.

In those days of flying around in my self-pity cloud of discouragement, I recall a scripture that I highlighted in my bible, “Fix your thoughts on what is true and honorable and right. Think about things that are pure and lovely and admirable.” (Philippians 4:8 NLT)

“What we put into our minds determines what comes out in words and actions.”

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “What we put into our minds determines what comes out in words and actions.” I was allowing those negatives comments to shut down my engine (mind) and stay that way.  I had to ask God to help me find my focus ( the keys) to start back up and fly into what I’m called to do.

I won’t lie to you and say I immediately go to God and ask for help. It takes practice, and I have to practice every day.

As I make my descent and final landing, I’m learning I don’t need the approval of many or even one. I write, look at the flight plan God has put in front of me and fly with that. When I do that, it’s a much smoother journey.

What about you, what sort of passengers in your life have you come in contact with?

Love to hear from you and maybe we can help each other as we carve this PW life. Just leave a comment below.

 Hop on over and join The Takeoff and Landings Facebook

fullsizeoutput_4b1Whether you’re seated next to your pilot in the right or left seat of life, we are flying and taking off and landing together. Flying alongside my pilot for over 25 years I have found a sense of courage, discovered independence that I thought I did not have and developed a better understanding that I can do all things through Christ that strengthens me.  Maybe you want those things too. You have come to the right place.

  Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

Coffee in the Air

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Coffee in the Air talk (1)I’ve had the privilege of talking with a few PW’s about their window view of what it’s like being married to a pilot.  I’m calling them “Coffee in the Air” and it’s a series I hope to share at least once a month with you and that you hear from different PW’s on how they navigate this crazy, sometimes turbulence yet, wonderful, life we live.

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For my first chat, I had the fun opportunity to visit with my friend, Lisa North who I met a few years ago when Jeff and I were in the beginning stages of moving back to Texas.  As soon as we met, Lisa and I connected as if we’d known each other all our lives. 

So let me tell you a little bit about this amazing lady. Lisa lives in Dallas with her husband, Jacob, and their 14-year-old daughter, Sarah. For over five years, Lisa has been a Real Estate agent, handling residential and commercial properties”, as well as dabble a little in investment properties. Lisa is also the Cheif Operating Officer of the North Household, and she represents her title with honor!

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A dose of southern charm and Texas strong, Lisa is a woman full of love, strength and a heart full of passion for God! So listen in as Lisa, and I discuss the ever-changing flight plan of a Pilot Wife.

As we were catching up and talking about our husbands and flying, Lisa shared that her family is in a different season right now with Jacob’s job.  A few years ago, he flew over to “the other side” and now works at the SWA Headquarters in the Communications department.  “I miss him flying…just the other day I said, ‘I hope you fly soon!’ You get used to your husband gone for three to four days at a time; I needed me time!”

I had to laugh (and could relate) when Lisa told me, after sipping her coffee, that when he starts to get on her nerves he leaves and when she starts to miss him he comes back.  I’m sure you could relate! I know I can!

When I asked Lisa what she enjoyed about having Jacob take-off for a few days, she cheerfully stated,”I have complete control over the remote. I don’t’ have to cook dinner. I have time where it’s not distracted.”

With Jacob working at Headquarters he doesn’t fly as much — he only flies once a month to stay current. “Right now it’s been three to four months since he last flew. He’s been home every night,” Lisa says. One of the most important things about having her husband home every night is that he is there when their daughter has a special event or birthday.  Lisa opened up and said, “That’s something not to take for granted. He doesn’t fly as much, and that’s okay.”

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So what does Lisa say is her biggest struggle after all these years? As long as she and husband have been married, Jacob has worked in the office more than flown combined. “I still experience those PW’s challenges of trying to do it all. I feel everybody needs me and I’m running around crazy! The most significant challenge for me is balancing.” Can I get an Amen? I can totally understand that! 

Lisa continued to open up to me about another challenge she goes through which is maintaining and developing friendships. “Friends are essential in my life. “Over the years, I’ve realized that friends change throughout our seasons of life. Right now I’m in a season where I’m don’t have a close-knit group. I’m 47 and friendships are harder,” she tells me after taking her last sip of coffee. Lisa has two best friends that live in Georgia and when they reconnect it’s like as if they had just spoken the day before.  Those type of friendships are worth more gold!

I asked Lisa what advice she would give to other PW ’s, and I have to say I will fly away with some of her suggestions:

1. Try not to beat yourself up feeling as if you have to do it all yourself. It gets better cause you to learn to adapt to each season. You find a new way to cope!

2. Communicate constantly. Keep it open at all times, especially when he is home.

3. Cling to the Word, or find a devotional, that you read to get through those challenging times as you are navigating your way through family and raising children. 

4. Learn the art of adjusting. Especially in areas of raising kids. We must learn to grow with the changes and roll with those unexpected flight plans of life.

As I was talking with Lisa, she said something that was so profound it has stuck with me ever since, “Just remember it does get better cause you get better dealing with it” I don’t’ know about you, but that is excellent advice!

As we started to fly into our final descent, I had to ask what sort of things she enjoys when she’s not selling properties, maneuvering teenage life, or sharing the remote with her hubby. Surprisingly,  we discovered we both like shopping, taking walks, the chance to read in solitude with a nice warm cup of coffee —and hanging on a wing and prayer raising a teenager!

Lisa loves her coffee! She almost made me spit out my last sip of coffee when she told me that she loves going to Starbucks with her coffee and stare aimlessly at her laptop and do mindless thinking. What PW wouldn’t want to do that?

When our “Coffee in the Air” time landed, Lisa and I said our goodbyes promising not to let so much time go by without taking again.  I’m sure we could have kept on talking. But we both had responsibilities that require our attention and love. Until next time!

Love to know what connected with you in our conservation.

What kind of future “Coffee in the Air” chats would like to know more about it?

 

Take-off and Landings Always, Tiffany

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Fear of Arrival…

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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.

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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.

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 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

Daughters of a Pilot…

IMG_6289Raising kids and having my husband travel comes with its challenges. There have been times that I’ve questioned my mothering skills and have become so frustrated that I would cry if his trips were one day too many.

A couple of weeks ago I asked my adult daughters how they felt about their dad traveling. More importantly, I was curious how they saw me as I was carrying that extra parenting bag on my own.

Paige, my oldest daughter, was little more descriptive in her answers. I guess you could say the firstborn view came out in her. Paige was born into the military life with Jeff who was gone for 6 months at a time and was surrounded by other kids who had their dad gone for long periods as well. Paige was a strong-willed child and still is. She would let you know if she was unhappy and she was definitely not afraid to speak her mind.  Now that she in her early twenties she has become an amazing young woman. She is independent and strong, like her mother. She works full-time for a start-up company in Austin.  Surprisingly, she and her sister, Jillian, live together!

My youngest daughter, Jillian, has always been the wise, old soul kind of girl. She often tells me to settle down, or says, “Mom, you gotta pick your battles with Tobin or Adin.”  Jillian helped me a great deal when I was dealing with health issues, and she immediately stepped up and helped out with family responsibilities that I couldn’t handle at that time. I will always be grateful and blessed for her help and attitude. She is in her early twenties now and works at a Flour Mill. In addition to her job, she is a part-time student at a Junior College in Austin studying  Organic Farming.

Here are the five thought-provoking questions I had asked my girls….

  1. What’s it like having a dad who travels all the time?

Jillian: I’ve never thought it was that weird because that’s how it’s always been! It’s cool that any city I go to he has recommendations. The opportunities to travel both as a kid with the family and now as an adult is amazing and all the trips we’ve been able to take because of his job is incredible… not something to take for granted!

Paige: Kind of annoying. But it just becomes life. At some point, I realized how weird it would be if dad was home all the time and how annoying that would be. 

As a little girl, teenager and now in my early twenties?

  • Because everything was about ‘me’ when I was little, it felt like a personal thing. Like “oh dad doesn’t care if he misses my birthday.” – not true 
  • As a teenager, I started adopting my own independence. I didn’t take it as personally. It was just the way our house worked. I got to have his car when he was home. 
  • Now, I’m an adult. It doesn’t bother me. I learned to crave the space from growing up the way I did, watching mom and dad orbit around each other to an extent. Occasionally, I’ll call dad and the call with go straight to voicemail and I know he’s flying; I just know to call him in an hour or two and fix problems myself. 

2. Did you learn to play-off on Dad and I when he was on a trip? How was I when dad was gone?

Jillian: Mom is the person to ask about most things but for the “big” decisions you talk it through with mom and get the final vote of approval from dad. Dad’s harder to talk to sometimes and sometimes more strict… but I think that’s based off military experience, not pilot life. Mom was always firm on “I’m the same person no matter if dads here or not” so not much of difference.

Paige: Not consciously? Mom, obviously, took the brunt of the parenting just because of proximity. 

  • Was I scared of Dad for a long time? Yeah. He was the hammer. He would get home and whatever trouble I got in 3 days ago was suddenly remembered. It was like “ah I love my dad but he’s scary.” He’s really tall and his voice is really deep, it as a lot for me sometimes.  
  • Mom was a little more stressed out with dad gone. She had 2 kids to take to school, a dinner to cook alone. Then, we decided to add another lil baby in the mix. At a few points, mom had a job so she was doing all that plus working with dad being gone. She constantly had to tell her friends “oh Jeff is flying, he can’t be here.” In a world where a women’s place is based on her husband’s success (and arguably, availability) I think that was hard. Some of mom’s friends just didn’t get it I think. 

 

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3. Did you enjoy your dad being gone? Cause I recall a few times you girls asked when he was leaving.

Jillian: Sometimes! Because he gets antsy when he’s home too long! But also sometimes I’d think “hmm when is dad gonna be home for longer than a day or two?” when we were working on a project or he got called in semi-unexpectedly.

Paige: Yes, sometimes. We were a house full of girls. He was (and is) this giant man who booms around the house. I’m making him sound like a giant, but he’s not. He just takes up space. Like any human does. 

  • Me and dad butted heads a lot as I got older. When I was mad at him, it was great having him gone. I didn’t have to deal with tip-toeing around him trying to be nice when I was fuming. 

4. Were you ever worried about Dad flying? If so, Why?

Jillian: No. I think flying with him in smaller planes 1-on-1 and seeing his knowledge really solidified how much knowledge he has about flying/air safety that I can’t even grasp.  He’s also an observant guy who always talks about issues in the news/scary stories openly and I’ve never doubted he can think smart and quick to manage any situation.

Paige:  During 9/11 yes. I remember that day. 

  • When your dad is a pilot, there’s just always a certain amount of fear associated with the profession. Being 30,000 Ft. in the air in a metal tube isn’t a natural place for humans to be. So, of course, it’s a little scary. You have to become comfortable with accepting the fact something bad might happen. You have to trust that things will turn out. 
  • When dad started flying with a gun and going to the shooting range, that’s when the danger of what he did set in a little bit. 
  • When I was little I remember sobbing when he left. I thought he was never going to come back. I totally just neglected the fact that he already flew airplanes every day. 
  • There was a night in college when I woke up from a dream and dad had died in a flying accident. It was 5am and I called mom and dad. It’s a scary dream, my worst nightmare, but it’s just a fear. 

5. What have you learned by having a dad who’s a pilot?

Jillian:  Airports aren’t scary or stressful unless you make them that way. Time management is the key to life.

Paige: Traveling is fun. 

  • Traveling is stressful. 
  • Traveling is taxing, emotionally and physically. 
  • Traveling is worth it. 
  • I will forever have a love for aviation. If I get to retire early, or ever get to have time in my 30s, I would like to learn how to fly. Just for fun. 
  • The space mom and dad had in their relationship is rare, and they made space work for them. They had to establish a lot of trust. As an adult, I’ve realized I couldn’t live with someone who comes home and lives in my world every day. Having a dad that traveled and a mom that stayed at home made me live with 2 very independent parents. They trusted each other and were really a team in both providing for the family and raising us. For the most part, they made it look easy, even though I know it wasn’t. 

Just for fun, I asked the girls what they told friends if they asked what their dad’s job was…

Jillian: My dad flies airplanes and its cool. My friends thought the same thing. Plain and simple.

Paige: What he did for work and what he did in child rearing are 2 different things, but related. 

  • When I say my dad is a pilot, people think it’s cool. It allowed him to do adopt a pilot with my 5th-grade class. Now when I say my dad is a pilot, it’s usually followed up with explaining how much training he had to do to get there — I have a lot of friends who are scared to fly. I’m like “get over it, my dad is a pilot. He literally has to go through so much training.”
  • But, raising us, he made me f*** work for s***. Sorry for the profanity but it’s true! 
  • When I left for college and didn’t have a car, was living with 14 other college students in a house, and had little money my friends were like “Wait, what? Won’t your dad help you with school? Why do you have to have a job? So mean.”
  • Now I describe him as an airline pilot, highly intelligent, if not conservative-leaning, hard-working dad who worked really hard so we could live comfortably growing up. He loves me, he loves our family, but he’ll also give me advice + compliments sometimes at weird times. Imagine being home although Christmas and having your dad say “Have your own finances together before you get married, you should buy your own house.” Or running a half marathon and at mile 8 having him say “Just so you know, I really like who you are as an adult.” Dad is a low-key feminist, but he wouldn’t say that. But he is. He has always prompted us to provide for ourselves, be able to be independent, to not need to depend on anyone else. 
  • When I tell my friends those stories, they laugh. You never really know what dad is going to say or do next. He might rent a plane and fly to Tampa, he might buy a tiny boat, he might have to have an emergency landing on a trip. His life is more exciting than he thinks it is. 

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WOW! After reading their honest answers, I cried. But a proud cry.  As a mom, I felt like I wasn’t there for them as I wanted to be. I was surviving from sun-up to sundown. I yelled, slammed doors from time to time, and I’d cry in my closet or behind a locked door.locked.  I tried hard not to reveal the ugly side of me, but more often than not, I did just that.

Lest you think I forgot about my son for this interview, I promise I didn’t! I was going to ask Tobin these questions as well, being a teenager I knew his answers would only be one-word sentences. So I’ll wait a few more years to ask.

If you’re a young mom, a mom in the teenage season or have adult children just remember that you’re doing a great job. Your kids see that.  I had a friend tell me, “The seasons you are in with motherhood become different only cause you get different.”

I couldn’t agree more. 

photography of aircraft wing

Take-off and Landings, Always Tiff