My Family

Family Picture

Before I continue writing, I need to explain that thru this all, I know the importance of the family.  Unfortunately, not all my family lives near me as my older brother lives in Washington DC, only one of my nephews live near me, my folks and the majority of my in-laws live down by the border in South Texas.

I was released from the hospital after getting three procedures done over the week which I will get into more detail in my other blogs.  My son drove down from North Carolina so I can spend time with the youngest in the family, Emilie, or as she likes to call herself, “M”.  She is the one sitting on her daddy’s lap and her mama, my only daughter in law, is sitting at the end of the photo.  She is turning 2 soon so the kids decided to throw a quick last minute birthday party for her.  I decided to take a quick photo before they left the next day.

I am holding my two older grandkids, Eva and Calvin, who are currently living with us.  There mom is directly behind me and is in a fire academy; training to become a firewoman.  My baby girl is sitting between her big brother and big sister.  I love my daughters very much.  They mean the world to me and I would do anything for them.  My babygirl is learning how to drive which scares me a bit, going to be honest about that, but I know that one day she will grow into her own.

The person who always makes everything possible is standing behind me, my wife, Maria.  She was the one who informed me about not including the family and I told her I didn’t, I just needed some time to include them.  So here we are!  She has been a great sounding board throughout my life and I am fortunate that she is with me.  We have had our differences and sometimes it results in unpleasant results.  But at the end of the day, I love her with all my heart and soul.  I don’t think I can make this without her; I can but it would be very very difficult.  For that, I am eternally grateful for her being with me through out this process.

Behind her are my mother and father in laws.  I really appreciate all they have done for us throughout the years.  I joke that my father in law is my ranch hand, and I even told my neighbors that if they needed any work done on their yards, he is a very hard worker.  I show him his resume, my own yard and the work he has done.   My mother in law is a great cook and loving mom.  I love to see her cook in the kitchen and take mental notes and try to repeat her style.   Maybe one day, they will move in and set up shop here at the hacienda.

Truth is this, if you are going to go thru chemo/radiation, you need a very strong support system.  I loss a cousin to leukemia but what I saw was that my aunts and uncles all got together to support her.  I know it was rough and I know that my treatment is going to be difficult as well.  I know this because my doctors told me so.  But, family is a way to cope with the stress of going thru the cancer treatment process.  The joy and laughter of little ones, the political discussions of the next generations, the poking fun of one another or just getting together burning some meat on the grill celebrating a 2 year old’s birthday are all things that a family can do to bring a sense of ease into what is otherwise a very difficult road to recovery.

Let’s start with the middle

Every story has a beginning, mine just happens to start in the middle of my life.

post I have always enjoyed the ocean.  Maybe it’s because I was born on March 3rd.  Even though I love the water, I don’t have the sea legs.  So needless to say, get me out in open water and I get motion sickness.  Took a deep sea fishing trip while I was stationed out in Hawaii; I provided the chum that day and we caught a lot of mahi-mahi.  Now, I just enjoy the beach and walking barefoot on the sand allowing my feet to sink in a bit, while I search for sand dollars and interesting shells.

I am getting ready to turn 48 later this year.  I have lived a very interesting life to say the least.  I studied History at the local university and I believe it was a quality education.  Do you know how many self proclaimed learners of history do not even know who or what is the Frederick Turner’s Thesis?  In 2015-2016, I was fortunate to visit the Valley Forge NHP, Yorktown NHP, and the battlefields of Chancellorsville and Gettysburg.  Living in DC at the time gave me not only that opportunity but also to visit the Smithsonian Museums and other local historical sites.  The history of Harpers Ferry, for example, can easily take up a days worth of reading.  Not to mention this is the location of the Appalachian Trail HQ!

I just retired from the Army and boy was that ever an adventure.  Remember those old commercials, “Be All that you can Be!”  Well that was me.  I managed my own career.  Made some bad decisions and some good ones along the way.  But in the end, I managed to obtain the rank of Lieutenant Colonel and my last position was the Branch Chief for Foreign Military Interaction for US Army South.  I was responsible for the execution of 3 exercises in Central/South America and in the Caribbean focusing on Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.  The Army, in it’s infinite wisdom, moved me to Texas and we were able to purchase our forever home in the hill country just south of New Braunfels.

Now, in my second career, I am a Finance and Insurance Manager for a car dealership here in San Antonio, Texas.  I just barely started and I am still figuring out a lot about this business.  I love this job!  I help people finance their vehicles and also provide them insurance products to protect their investment.   The best part is meeting new people from all walks of life and from all over Texas and I get to hear their stories!  The historian in me is just loving it!

Overall, life has been good to me.  Not bad for a boy who grew up in a small dusty border town along the Rio Grande Valley.  Growing up, the dream was always to retire north of Falfurrias, Texas, because that was where the last border patrol check point is located.  The idea to be north of this little town and the border patrol, in my mind, meant that I made it to the promise land; the city on the hill; I am successful.

But, alas, all is not well.  Earlier this week, I was diagnosed with some sort of Cancer.  I thought I was getting the flu as my lymph nodes were swollen.  But, that’s not the case.  I have a cancer which now throws a monkey wrench in my life.

I haven’t written nothing about my family yet.  That is yet to come.  Let’s just say I loved one woman with all my heart, I will do anything for my three kids, and I love my grandchildren to the moon and back.

But there are days, like today, oh how I wish I could just be by the water.  To hear the slamming of the waves on the shores, the sound of the seagulls above and the wind blowing over the sand dunes…picking up sand dollars and interesting sea shells.

So, this is where I find myself in my life and it makes perfect sense now to start in the middle.