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The Best Day Of My Life

As many may know, The Fiance is getting home from his extended ‘vacation’ overseas. After long days turning into weeks, and long weeks that turned into months, I finally get to see him. The day he left was dubbed The Worst Day Of My Life – and I can still honestly say that it was. I felt empty and alone.

I recently recalled a fantastic conversation that I had with my Grandma. My Grandma, it has to be said, is one ballin’ woman. She is beautiful, intelligent, loving, and some would say stubborn (I am not saying that, I have just heard it said LOVE YOU GRANDMA). The day that The Fiance left, I must have called every person in my family seeking comfort. Pop, of course, gave me a bit of hard love. Ma cried along with me. My Auntie cried along with me. But Grandma had the words that truly carried me through my day.

Grandpa, who remains to this day one of the best men that I have ever met, was being shipped off. I don’t recall exactly where, due to the tears and snot streaming down my face, but I remember that he was going to be gone for a long time. At the time, he and my Grandma already had four kids – my three Aunties and Pop – so as she stood in the driveway she said good-bye to him, and kept her head up and her face strong. As soon as he pulled out of the driveway, she took all the kidlings inside and got them playing. She then locked herself in the pantry and started crying her head off. It’s a scary thought, being without the one you love for any given amount of time.

In typical King family fashion, my Grandpa had forgotten something, so he rolled right back up into the driveway to retrieve it. Then he searched for my Grandma… and found her in the pantry, probably crying into her aprons, refusing to let her children see her like this. Of course he comforted her and loved her, as he always did when he was on this Earth (and I like to believe, still does).

I’m so lucky to have such strong female role models in my life. And I’m glad that my Grandma, in her way, told me that it was good for me to cry. And I hope that she thinks it’s okay for me to cry when I see my darling Fiance this weekend, and get to touch and hug and kiss him in person for the first time in a long time. I look forward to what I have already dubbed The Best Day Of My Life.

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Great.

You know what never gets old? Your parents telling you how great you are. Sure, sometimes you listen to them and you think “Really? You think that about me? You do realize that I’m crazy, irrational, a mess and about to fall apart from the seams, right?”

Apparently, even though I feel like a giant mass of crazy, bizarre energy, Ma and Pop love me unconditionally. That is something I don’t think I’ll ever understand until I have a child of my own. Until then, I believe that I’ll remain the flighty, silly, indecisive girl that I am. My parents are a great example of what true love really is. You know why? Because they’re just great.

(I will probably always be a bit flight, silly and indecisive.)

Ten Years.

Find Your Way Home

Today we remember the attacks wrought on our country by an extremist group. We remember the grief, the anger, the fear and the love felt on that day. And even though it was 3,650 days ago, we all recall exactly what we were doing when destruction was rained down on the country that we love. Everyone has a story, some more tragic than others, but they are our stories.

World Trade Center Tribute

I was 15 years old when September 11, 2001 came around, a sophomore at Brooke Point High School in Stafford, VA – just 45 minutes outside of Washington, D.C. I clearly remember not knowing about the attacks because I was in PE and there were no televisions. It wasn’t until I walked into my 4th period chorus class that I learned what was going on. The administration said that we weren’t to watch the news, but luckily most of our teachers ignored that instruction, as many of us had family who worked in the nation’s capital. I recall sitting at lunch – no one really eating, just wondering what in the world was going on, who would do this to us, and why, why, why…

Getting home was the most difficult part. I raced into the house, and immediately began trying to call my parents (can you imagine me without a cell phone? I got one soon after this). All phone lines were shut down. For the first time in my fifteen years on this planet, with parents who were trapped in D.C. and a brother who was searching for his first apartment in New York City, I felt utterly alone. It wasn’t until about 5:15PM that my grandma called me and let me know that everyone was safe. Our family was safe.

Virginia Loves NYC

There are moments that shape our lives. There are moments that shape our nation. September 11 was a day for both. We clung to each other, looking for love and solace. Our nation was truly united. Arguments forgotten, anger at each other left behind. Our grief and our tears brought us all together.

Remember that feeling as we lift those up who were lost on that day. The victims, our heroes, those watching the television in horror. September 11 is not a day for politics, it’s not a day to point a finger at the people who did this to us. Today is about us loving each other and remembering.

That day taught me how important family is, how important community is. I never knew how much it would shape my life, but it has had a big part in who I am today. My desire to always talk to my family, to love and respect others because you never know what the next day will bring. Ten years later, the love of my life is serving our country, far away from all that he loves on the saddest of days. I miss him with every fiber of my being, particularly today, when football is on and the air is getting cooler. But I am so proud of him.

Wall Of Rememberance

Tomorrow we will go on with our lives, as always. That is what makes our country so great. We do not run in the face of fear, we face it head on. We celebrate the differences in our country – black, white, Asian, Hispanic, Hindu, Christian, Muslim, atheist, liberal, moderate, conservative – that is what makes us the United States of America. Remember that, especially today.

Heroes

About A Boy

As we get closer and closer to Independence Day, I keep thinking about The Fiance and how much I miss him. Independence Day is probably his favorite holiday and it’s my third favorite (you will notice that after Christmas (1) and Thanksgiving (2), all holidays are my third favorite). It probably has a lot to do with the potato salad and watermelon, but it is also most definitely about the pride he has for these here United States. He is currently serving our country and I am so terribly proud of him.

Last year on 7/4 we decided to go all out. We bought American flag bathing suits, flip flops, sunglasses, beach chairs, towels, t-shirts… everything. I even had my toenails painted like the Star-Spangled Banner. It was one of the more fun days of my life. It’s especially fun to hear The Fiance grunt “‘Merica” under his breath every fifteen minutes on the Fourth. Or when we’re watching extremely patriotic movies, like “The Patriot”. Or “Braveheart” which doesn’t really make sense, but whatever.

Waving at the boats in our 'Merica Gear

Pop and The Fiance get along very, very well. I think it stems from the fact that they are pretty much the same person. You always hear “You marry your father” and I definitely got that one down pat. They even look alike, more so than Pop and I. Ma and he get along really well, too. In fact, when I brought The Fiance home for the first time to meet the Parental Units, Ma said “He seems like such a nice boy!” You could have knocked me over with a feather. Ma has never liked any of the guys that I have dated. I think that’s the moment I knew that he was the one for me.

In any event, this Fourth of July weekend, let’s make sure we keep in mind all of our family, friends and fellow country(wo)men who are protecting us. I might not get to spend this Independence Day with The Fiance, but I know I will be wearing my American flag flip-flops and thinking about him all day long. Throw one back for him, ya’ll. Preferably an America shooter (recipe below).

America Shooter:

1/2 oz grenadine
1/2 oz vodka
1/2 oz blue curaçao

Step 1: Pour grenadine into shot class
Step 2: Float vodka on top of grenadine
Step 3: Float blue curacao on top of vodka

Happy Independence Day, ya’ll!

 

Happy Father’s Day

I love my Pop, and I just want to give him a shout-out and let him know he’s the best Dad ever! Further proof is shown in this photo.

As you can see, I learned all of my defensive skills from Pop. Also, it appears that I am not the only one in the family with double-jointed shoulders. It’s possible that we didn’t start off with double-jointed shoulders, we just developed them as a safety mechanism.

Happy Father’s Day, Pop!

Bye-bye Tree

I got a notice from my insurance company that my favorite tree in my backyard had to come down (probably due to the fact that a storm had taken out a giant limb). Well, luckily, Pop came down this weekend and we cut the entire thing down, with the extraordinary help of The Fiance’s brother (by the way, WE’RE ENGAGED! Me and The Boyfriend (henceforth known as The Fiance), not The Fiance’s brother).

So yeah, after a lesson in how to cut down limbs with something that looks very similar to what the Grim Reaper carries around (scythe?), we decided to just cut down the entire thing. So The Fiance’s brother and I pulled on a rope while Pop notched the tree, and it was falling perfectly… then I must have sneezed or something, because it suddenly turned 45 degrees and landed on the tree next to it and it’s totally stuck there. Also a terrifying moment, because for ten seconds after it fell, I couldn’t see Pop, and I honestly thought he had been crushed. Then I heard the sound of a beautiful, wheezy cough, and I knew he was fine, though desperately in need of some water.

Then the chainsaw wouldn’t start. Apparently Broski had bought this chainsaw for Pop awhile ago, and he’d been having nothing but problems with it. New carburateurs (oh wow, I spelled that right on the first try) have been purchased, and after watching Pop standing outside and then kicking the chainsaw a couple of times, we decided to call it a day. By the way, this is my official denouncement of Husqvarna chainsaws. Completely unreliable!

So basically, I have a fallen tree that’s resting against an upright tree in my backyard. I love my Pop and The Fiance’s brother for helping me get it down. I know I couldn’t have done it myself.

Losing Things.

Pop

I spent an amazing long weekend in NYC with the Boyfriend. We traipsed through every burough within 36 hours, including Yankees Stadium, the Empire State Building, Ground Zero, the Staten Island Ferry and of course 5th Ave.

Now to the hiccups of the trip. Broski was on his way back to VA on Friday morning, so I called him while he was on the train to find out where he left the keys. Well, he left them in his pocket. In the jeans he was wearing, while traveling to VA. So through a series of phone calls, a near panic attack by me and an amazing maintenance man named Sal, we got back into the apartment and made copies of the keys.

Additionally, on the trip home and in my stupor of slumber, I managed to leave all identification on the train when I got off at the stop in RVA. Amazing, right? I’m going to start supergluing important documents to my arms so that I don’t lose them anymore. I went to the DMV and I couldn’t get my license unless I had my birth certificate, which neither Pop nor I could locate. So he had to come all the way down to RVA and we had to go to the Department of Vital Records and prove my birth. He was not happy about this at all, and I can’t say that I blame him. Between the Broski and I, we are the most unorganized people in the world when it comes to things that identify us and things that get us into places (keys). I will say that the Department of Vital Records is the most efficient government agency that I have EVER dealt with, and we were in and out in 15 minutes with a birth certificate that validated me as a living human being.

I am now in possession of my driver’s license, and I feel much better knowing that if I come down with a sudden case of amnesia I’ll at least know my name and that I’m an organ donor. I’m also happy to report that my lost items were located on the Amtrak down in Charlotte, NC, and they are en route to me as we speak.

Broski did leave his keys in VA this weekend on his way back to The City. Unfortunately for him, Pop is so over both of us right now, I’d be surprised if those keys weren’t put in the oven and melted away.

Love you, Pop. You’re my hero, and thank you for everything that you do for me.