First of all, I want to thank all service people and families who sacrifice and have sacrificed for freedom. Without you, our lives would be different, and I am humbled by your generosity. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. On Memorial Day, I remember you and your gift to our country.
As a child, this weekend, meant one of two things: the beginning of summer vacation Yay! or three days off of school, only having to get up again to payback snow days from the previous winter. It also meant time at the lake, family picnics, chips, and the beginning of summer. Actually, as a kid, Memorial Day doesn’t stand out much to me.
As my brothers and I grew up, Memorial Day weekend marked our high school graduations, also marking change for our family. As the youngest, I was the last to graduate in 1997. This weekend in 1997, I graduated from high school, said good-bye in person to Theresa, and moved away from Brookings, South Dakota. I have been back there probably less than 5 times since that day, and I have not looked back. It was a big thing to at 18 years old, but it felt so good to leave behind the person that people thought I was there. Honestly, I didn’t leave alone, and I haven’t returned because my mom also moved away from there later that summer.
In marriage, the first big change, began on Memorial Day weekend. Ten years ago, as newly weds Scott and I had a farewell picnic, packed up our apartment and moved to Maine without any money, jobs. We moved because it felt right and we wanted to live the Atlantic Ocean. We knew deep down it would work out, but man, there were times the first month, we really thought we should move back. All in all, we both ended up starting careers there, strengthening our marriage, starting our family, and having a nice a life for 8 years.
The biggest change of all came in 2005, but he didn’t arrive on Memorial Day. He came sooner than that, but his first Memorial Day, marked our first annual Memorial Day weekend picnic at Fort Williams, our favorite park in Maine. We had a picnic there every year until we moved, ah memories!
The biggest lesson of my life also came Memorial Day weekend, or actually the day before. In 2010, God paved the way for us to move back to Nebraska. We often wonder WHY we moved back, although deep down, and on the surface we KNOW the answer. Needless to say, that May I was trying to finish out the school year, jury duty, deal with Scott’s CRAZY work schedule, resign from my job, pack our house, deal with the move, and still try to be a mom to our 3 and 5 year old (let’s not forget that one of the kids has autism, which makes all change very difficult), so let’s just say I was STRESSED OUT. I cried a lot, wished I could just walk away, sleep for a long time. Life was feeling pretty YUCKY.
Along comes the last day of our work week: Thursday. The kids and I had Friday off (Yay!) We were on our way to daycare before 7am, bopping along to Help! by the Beatles (no joke!) when a dump truck rear-ended us, causing us to hit another car, and then the dump truck fell over on its side on top of the front of our car. Needless to say, the angels were guiding the car, were injured on our backs and had some scratches, but we SURVIVED.
On that Memorial Day weekend I changed. I changed perspective. I changed how I mother. I changed how I view my children. I changed how I view others (most of the time). I changed how I view the world.
Two years later, I am still not over it. I still hate the song Help! I still hear the sound. I still have nightmares. I still wonder what our greater purpose of life is. See, we lived, so I believe the three of us are going to do something special when the time is right. I think God is starting to tell me little by little. I do wonder, will he some day make the answer very clear on Memorial Day weekend?