I don’t know if I’ve ever mentioned that I’m a Navy Brat. it’s not something I talk about a lot as it’s just a part of my childhood and who I am.
We weren’t one of those lucky families that you hear complaining about being transferred from port to port. Nope, we lived in our same home in San Diego ever since I was could remember. I always felt jealous when I’d hear of kids that traveled to new and exciting places every few years. I didn’t realize how fortunate we actually were to have had a stable home environment until I was a parent myself. Instead of our entire family picking up roots and moving away, it was my dad that was constantly going away. The Navy would deploy him (and hundreds of other sailors) out on Westpac Cruises.
As a child, I had no idea what a Westpac really was. (In all honestly, I still don’t know for sure!) All I knew was that my daddy would be gone for a really long time. Communication was difficult. At the risk of dating myself, I have to admit that there was no internet, cell phones or even readily available ship-to-shore phones. (Mom had to contact the Red Cross to let Dad know that my brother was born) Our only means of communication was to send him letters, care packages and most importantly cassette tapes telling him how much we missed him. It was wonderful getting tapes back from him just to hear his voice.
When I was a little older, I knew what to expect. However, when I was nearly three, I simply couldn’t understand why my daddy wasn’t home. So I like to imagine that, one day, out of desperation, my ever practical mother reached over and handed me a framed picture of my father. Family lore says that I lugged that photograph with me everywhere and constantly bestowed it with sweet baby kisses.
Of course, I don’t remember any of this. I do know that I’ve always had a soft spot in my heart for this particular photo of my father…the one I hauled around with me for months while I was waiting for him to come home.
I no longer haul his picture around with me, but Dad will always be my favorite Veteran.
Happy Veteran’s Day Dad!
Be sure to thank a Vet today…and thank their family as well.