A note to all friends in the world.

Ah, alas a subject which I am all too familiar with. A long distance friend used to be a paradox amongst people less than a century ago. In those days people had pen-pals, but that was still all too different to the limits we have reached in our digital era. As a sailor, my life has been shifted from one location to another in a relatively short amount of time; thus I’ve had to leave and make new friend on every move. This has given me the opportunity to recognize how important the people I leave behind me were and still are.

In the military we have an unwritten custom in regards to friendships. When a member transfers and leaves a friend behind their friendship is frozen inside a metaphorical “time bubble”. If the members were ever to meet again their friendship would simply return to the state it was in regardless of how many years have passed. To a member this simply comes with the territory. We learn from an early start of how fleeting life can be, for us forget those that have been dear to us at one point in our lives is a terrible concept. These are people who might have been your only friend in the darkest of times, and as such the member learns to cherish them dearly. After all, these people eat, sleep, breathe, work, live, and protect each other even when the military is such an emotionally overwhelming environment (unlike the movies, in real life the bonds of brotherhood are extremely rare, so much that you’re likely to have a few members that hate your guts too) so the important ones become that much more valuable.

To me this extends past the military, and into friends that I have cherished since I was a teenager. I have three friends that I have been through thick and thin with since I was twelve years old, and they are invaluable to me. For the sake of protecting their real names I will not mention them, but I will post some pictures. These guys have been my favorite part of growing up, and even when we made mistakes or hurt each others feelings our friendships held strong. The one on the top is a friend whom I call practically everyday to make sure he’s doing well, the two at the bottom, I play video games with on a regular basis (I still can’t beat V at Super Smash Brothers 4!!!!). We grew up very close to one another, and all three are the closest thing I have to a family that is not blood related. You see while I was growing up life was not easy (it still isn’t). But, I learned quickly that you needed friendships to survive, and as such I picked from the best people that were available to me. This allowed me to realize that friends were a family that you could pick and choose. We can’t very well determine our biological relatives, but true friends can be chosen with some good judgement (pretty sure luck also has a lot to do with it). I love them all, they are just regular people that are simply trying to make the best for themselves. Yet, in my heart they are magnificent individuals with hopes and dreams that they will one day achieve. Thank you for making my life bearable guys, I can’t stress that enough.

Kiko
Kiko
V and Pepecampo
V (making the goofy face) and Pepecampo

This isn’t to say that our friendships are perfect. Far from it in fact; the friendships I have with these folk have been  steeled through the hottest flames on earth. There were times when we didn’t speak for months/years due to the decisions we had to make or things we said without ill intentions that were misinterpreted. In those times, I have stepped away, and simply let time run its course. I have been forgiven, and forgave the trespasses that we have committed on each other because I know the value that they hold to me. I could simply not imagine my life without these guys being in it, and I hope they feel the same way about me. Due to the fact that we all live in different states (every single one of us)  the time differences, work schedules, and life-in-general that seem to conspire in order to forbid us from spending the time we would like together. But, our friendship stays strong. This is what made me realize that the only true treasure in life is not gold, but friendship.

It is theorized that it takes a minimum of seven years to form an unbreakable bond with a person (your mileage may vary on this). In the military this is reduced to two or three years of being stuck in the same awful situation together. It’s not well documented on why this is the way it is, but my own twist on it is that misery just breeds camaraderie between folks of similar tastes, and personalities (the military is a very serious environment, even if we take time to goof off every once in a blue moon). While we keep this in mind, it is not hard to see how in order to make the best of a situation the members have to pick someone (from a very limited pool) to confide in. Sometimes this works out great, and you get some amazing friendships… Other times not so much and you end up with someone who we like to call the Blue Falcon (if you don’t know what that means go catch up on your military lingo).  For me it has been amazing though. I’ve had the opportunity to meet some of the most amazing and caring individuals whilst serving in the military. Each with their own story filled with amazing challenges that they have had to overcome in order to get to where they are at this moment in life. Each of these folk have changed my life in more ways than one, and for this I have to thank them.

I’m not going to specify any names, but a special mention goes to two individuals who broke regulations in order to protect me during an emergency evacuation of the base. I didn’t know it at the time, but his wife was a distant relative of mine (we were both unaware of this until my grandmother met her). But, these folk will forever hold a place in my heart for taking me all the way to Camp Roberts in order to get more milk supply for my son (6 months old and breastfed at the time), and then hosting me in their house while the crisis went over. We had only known each other for a small amount of time, but that was so unexpected that it will forever leave a mark in my heart and I am proud to call them my friends/family. I can’t stress this enough, the military is a difficult environment that is not for everyone. But, I’ll be damned if I say that it has not provided me the opportunity to meet some of the most courageous people in the world. Their deeds shall forever live on in my heart, and will not be forgotten. Thank you! From the bottom of my heart my dear friends.

On a lighter note it was best friend day on June 08, 2015. I was surprised when my buddy Pepecampo called me to wish me a “happy best friend day”. But, it was an extremely pleasant surprise. It’s not much of a commercialized holiday, and I wasn’t even aware of it until then, but the gesture was very much appreciated. I did some research (by this I mean Google) and found out that friendship day is on August this year. These were some humorous news because I never knew that day was even a real thing. I don’t know what I’ll be doing that month at this point, but I hope that everyone remembers to cherish their friends everyday that they are alive. Life is much too short to hold grudges that happened years ago. No matter how much it hurt back then; never forget that time heals all wounds. Trust me when I say that you will regret it more, if you don’t forgive the mistakes of those whom you once called a brother/sister in-spite of the lack of blood relations. You might just discover how much they were missed once they are back in your life.

Please like and share if you liked this article, if you didn’t like it leave a comment, and maybe I can address the issue. Perhaps send me an email with suggestions for future articles.

Seriously though if you didn’t like it here is a picture of a baby for you:

Yay!
Yay!

This article is copyright of the original writer.

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Father’s Day! and Hallmark Holidays

First of all, I’d like to wish fathers everywhere a happy Fathers Day. But, I wanted to voice my opinion on this Hallmark holiday which in my opinion should not be the one day of the year where we show appreciation for fathers (or mothers) everywhere. I’m certain this has been said a million times and I’m probably just repeating myself at this point. However, we need to stop and think about what this day is truly about in this day and age. It’s about corporations making money on gifts, and sappy cards with generic messages that have no soul to them.

You see fathers day was originally an event hosted in Spokane, Washington, but the very first observance of it came from a Methodist Episcopal church in West Virginia from the year 1908 one fifth of July under the suggestions of a woman called Grace Golden Clayton to pastor Robert Thomas Webb. In those days it was simply a day to honor fathers in church whilst giving them the recognition that sometimes goes unnoticed. There were no large events held in their honor and as the website I got my information (I will link to it at the end) from mentions ” Making a big fuss never was very dad-like, anyway”. It is said that in Spokane they still celebrate the holiday as they did back then, and I have to say that I would love for it to be this way instead. There was no need for expensive gifts, no need to demonstrate any extra amount of affection for a father. It was simply to recognize the hard work that they put into raising a family, and isn’t this what we should be truly celebrating?

It took congress an extremely long time to officiate the holiday and in a truly ironic twist of events the largest fears that held them at bay was the commercialization of the holiday. Isn’t that just a kick in the rear? Their largest fear ended up becoming a reality after the holiday was made official, and now we simply have another Hallmark holiday in which corporations take their chances to sell us neckties, gift cards, clothing, and other items which we give to our fathers, and sometimes they aren’t really even needed. But, it’s hard not to get into the festivities and want to join them, I’d even dare to say that society bombards us with stimuli to incite our spending during the “parents day” events. Treating them extra special, with treats such as breakfast in bed or doing some of their chores for them (which truly we should be doing that regardless of what day it was). But this is not the worst part about the event to me.

There is one aspect of these two holidays in which we honor our parents that I truly hate. It’s that we act like this is the one day we should remember our parents, and once that it is done with we can forget about them for another 364 days. This is not how it should be, we should honor our parents everyday that we (both them and us) are alive. If they truly deserved the recognition that we give them this time of the year. Then they are worthy of the same treatment during the rest of it. As a son I try to call my parents on a regular basis even if it’s simply to tell them that my wife and son are doing well. Sure it can be trying at times to keep them so involved in my life when we are thousands of miles away from each other. But, this is the one way that I can keep them aware of my appreciation for them. Even when I get angry or bothered by their meddling it doesn’t change that I do love my parents in-spite of the mistakes they made (they are human too). But, I also acknowledge that they do like receiving presents (there are not a lot of people who don’t like gifts). So for them and a few other extra-special people in my life I am willing to swallow my pride, and join in the celebration.

The one thing that I don’t like is getting presents on this day. The one gift I asked for this year (and it was given to me very late during the day) was some time for myself. I am a father 24/7, and in exchange for this I don’t want anything except the love of my family and close friends. When my wife comes to me with gifts in hand in the morning; I’m not sure on how I should react. I don’t like the feeling that I get whenever someone brings me something. But, I grin and bear it. I receive these presents with a hint of melancholy, and a smile in my face because it makes my family happy. That is not to say I didn’t like the gifts and in fact I loved three of them in particular.

The first gift I loved was getting to spend time with this guy:

BFF's
BFF’s Yo!

He was my very first friend in the military, we’ve been serving together since our first command and I absolutely adore spending time with him and his family. I had the time of my life with them and so did my wife. Truly a man could not ask for much more than this. We also went shooting bottles and it was hilariously amusing.

The second (though equally as amazing) was receiving two letters that my two year old made for me:

Can you guess which ones?
Can you guess which ones?

To me those two letters with his hand-prints and foot-prints are priceless. I also received a shirt along with them. But, I could have literally gotten those two things and it would still feel like the best Fathers Day present to me.  I didn’t need anything because I can afford to buy anything I really want (this is to say I’m frugal and love items that are on sale).

The third and final present that I loved was spending some quality time with a man that is like a father figure to me. I will not disclose his name for the sake of protecting him and his family. But, once the sun went down, and my wife and son went to sleep. He got a wine bottle, lit a bonfire, and we spoke for over 3 hours about life.  There were few words I could use to describe how nice it felt to do this, so I had to write them in a letter I gave him that night (along with a Raiders pocket knife, and a Shirt). In it I described the impact that he’s had in my life, and my appreciation for protecting my son and wife when I needed help. His wife and him have literally jumped through hurdles in order to help us out because of military restrictions, and for that I thanked him from the bottom of my heart. In my opinion the shirt and knife were simply extras, and it was the letter the one thing that was uniquely his because no one will ever take the words written in that letter from him. I made it for him, and there are none other in the world with those exact words.

All I wanted this Fathers Day, was some alone time to relax. This as you can see did not come to fruition for me. But, I can still say that it was probably the best one I’ve ever had. I will certainly never forget how great it was to do everything I did. My son and wife enjoyed it as much as I did, and that is also important because without them I wouldn’t be celebrating it the way I did.

Yet, I feel like I can’t stress this enough, don’t forget to cherish your parents everyday of your lives (pertaining they truly deserve it). They did so much for you that one day is simply not enough to show the gratitude that they deserve. Trust me when I say that they will be much happier and so will you. After all, what goes around comes around, and as a society we should really show our gratitude more often. Remember that your parents love you, as much (if not more) than you love them.

There is one last thing I’d like to tell everyone who reads this. Sometimes the best gift that you can give a dad is some time off from being a dad. Ask your parents if all they want for their respective parents day is to loaf about without having to worry about anything (chances are they will say yes). If this is the case listen to them and do it. They will love you that much more for it. After all being a parent often becomes a thankless and extremely back-breaking labor of love.

Link to the website speaking of the history of Fathers Day: http://hamptonroads.com/node/283021

This article is copyright of the original writer.