Do you remember you need to take a left on Dodge Street? Do you realize you need to be in the left lane? Do you know your turn is in a couple of blocks? Well, I didn’t want to say you were missing your turn because you always get mad at me if I tell you what to do. I don’t know if you hear me if you don’t respond. I don’t know if you are taking a left or right because you recognize Port and Starboard much faster than I can think to give those directions.
At eighteen, boys were lined up with anxious anticipation for the series of shots that were part of the mandatory regimen. Short hair caused them to stand out while on leave. There were routines like spick and span, shipshape as well as barrages of drills and orders. The illusion of seeing the world, the pride of doing something good for our country, was rapidly shattered through a relentless schedule. The life that was imagined was a far cry from the life that was the reality. There were no back doors. Once you signed up, you were committed.
What I live with today is ingrained deep. Port and Starboard, socks bundled just so in case the ship was sinking, the smell of fire with the slightest whiff even if only in one’s imagination. As a result of living under the flight deck as well as other activities without ear protection for a lifetime, hearing is waning. Is it selective or just the fact that vowels on one side and consonants on the other side are missing? And the nightmares. There are other health issues surfacing as aging takes its natural course.
I find myself being vigilant, on guard and protective. Admittedly some of it is self-protection as I am left with consequences. My aim is to be a great life partner. I think that calls for loving and nurturing and sometimes that may be in the form of Mothering.