ALOHA suggestions

Discussion in 'Life After the Academy' started by kar57, Aug 27, 2012.

  1. kar57

    kar57 Member

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    I need suggestions! :shake: I’m a non-military Mom to several military children one of whom is DD, oldest of the military ones, a USNA ’09 grad, Marine Lt., who will be visiting home here in southern Ohio this coming weekend - one last time before reporting to her new duty station in Hawaii. Although circumstances are much much different now than in ’10 when she left for her 7 months in Afghanistan, the desire to make this last weekend together as a family for a long time as awesome as possible is equally strong. I realize the Hawaii-to-mainland communication will be more frequent than the Afghanistan-to-US rigamarole and more reliable and may possibly include Skype-like opportunities (Hawaii IS part of the United States after all!!), but the length of time away – 3 years - that’s the part that’s really weighing on me as this “one last weekend” approaches (due to family circumstances here, travel to Hawaii is not at all likely over the next three years)! Since June of ’05, her plebe summer, I’ve been really hands-off (honestly I have:smile:) because “she’s Uncle Sam’s now” (tough acting job for this Mom for sure, especially given the fact that she’s my only girl of my 6 AND she’s my really good friend). Visits, phone calls – those have been “blue moon” events all along, during her 4 years on the Yard, her 6 months at Quantico, 7 months in Helmand Province, her years at Camp Lejeune. And after her wedding last summer, not only is she Uncle Sam’s, but she’s now her DH’s and he’s hers and they’re both Uncle Sam’s (he’s a Navy officer – just returned from his 4th or 5th deployment – I’ve lost count - this past weekend). At any rate, I really, really want to make this weekend a great Aloha (hello/good-bye and all that) for the two of them!! If any of you reading this has a suggestion – food wise, stuff to do wise, movies playing in theaters now, yard game, board game, whatever – bring it on! I would really, really appreciate it!! Thanks!!:yay:
     
  2. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Honestly, don't try to make it into a Norman Rockwell picture. I know it sounds insane, but planning will just create stress. Think about it:

    8-10 a.m. breakfast
    10-11 showers
    11-1 lunch
    2 - 4 movie
    5-7 dinner at favorite restaurant
    8-10 board games

    OMG, this is not time to have fun, it is time to report.

    I am being exaggerative, but I think you get my point. They don't care about all of that crap. They want to come home, take a deep breath (moving is stressful), hang with the family and make memories.

    In the 20 yrs that Bullet was in the AF, and moved to England or AK for 3 yrs at a clip, all we wanted was to drop our bags, and relax. If at 6 we as a group decided to go to the movies, great, and if we didn't well great too.

    For us when we came home, the one thing that we always wanted was to have it casual, a time where we could decompress. PCSING is stressful. Calling all of your credit card companies, insurance company, change of address being sent out, movers in your house, cleaning a home top to bottom, and eating out for 5 days morning, noon and night, on top of the fact that they are going to HA means they also had to ship a car, per diems, TLA, booking Q's in Hawaii, etc. is what they just completed last week.

    If they have a favorite restaurant make a reservation for one night. If they have a favorite meal, make it. Otherwise, sit back and enjoy their company. Don't plan every day something special. Don't remind them that they need to drive to Aunt Susie to say goodbye to her. Aunt Susie knows they are there and if she wants to see them, can drive to your house and say goodbye to them.

    I am not trying to be harsh, but Bullet's and my family were night and day when we did our moves. Bullet's Mom planned because she wanted to make those "special" memories. It was just days of events with timetables. My family was Bullet and Pima will be here from X to Z date, on Y date we are having a BBQ at my Mom's house for all of the cousins, aunts, uncles, etc., come, don't come, but if you want to see them, than here is your opportunity. We woke up everyday when we woke up and did what we wanted to do that day, and during the day we talked about dinner plans. At dinner, if my siblings showed we hung out on the patio, and made plans for the next day, if they didn't show or we didn't make any plans, we woke up the next morning and started the process again.

    I get and understand your question, but honestly, they don't need to be entertained. They need time to relax before they have to face in-processing, finding a home, unloading hundreds of boxes, and hoping when they pick up their car at port it is not damaged. That is what is on their mind right now.

    Yes, maybe you can't afford to go to HA, but it doesn't mean she won't come back home to OH.

    I cannot stress enough how I get where you are coming from, it is hard on her too. I am just of the mind, that after 20 yrs as an AF spouse, as parents we have the ability to play that "this is their last... whatever". You want to make it special. It isn't their last, nor do they see it that way, at least we didn't, but I don't have enough fingers and toes on my body, Bullet's body and my kids bodies after 20 yrs of how many times I heard this is their last. We saw it as this is a pit stop and I will see you soon. We weren't dieing. We were just moving somewhere new for you all to visit.

    Sorry for a long post, but because I lived through this for 20 yrs., I just wanted to give you the other side on how they maybe feeling when you do all of this planning. Bullet and I smiled all the while, but when we left we were always more exhausted than when we came because of those good intentions regarding making plans to entertain for as long as we were there.

    If you want them to enjoy this time, don't ask us, ask them. Remember their real goal for staying at your house, is not to see the Batman movie, or eating somewhere, it is to spend one on one time with you and their siblings, making memories that they can look back on come Xmas when they are in HA without you.
     
  3. kar57

    kar57 Member

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    Thanks Pima for being the voice of reason!! A lot of what you said helped me slow down a bit and take a breath – if only for a few minutes, then I had to get back to baking their all-time favorite cookies and making homemade ice cream and whipping up a few dozen buckeyes and softening the 40 ounces of cream cheese to put in the famous cheesecake… All kidding aside, actually I wasn’t kidding at all, but here’s the thing. Showing ALL my kids the love, respect, and support they deserve is not an easy task now that the four oldest are away now and spread all over the place and doing amazing wonderful things in their respective far-flung places! So when even just a few of us can be in one place together, it’s time to celebrate.

    Only five of the original 8 of us will be able to be here in Ohio on Saturday. One of the three not able to make it is DS#4, an NMMI Navy Prep in Roswell, NM who will be recognized on that very day in NMMI’s 21-Day Celebration of the RATs. Since I’ll be here, in Ohio, hosting the Aloha celebration, I will miss RAT recognition, but hopefully #4 will get his phone back that day and we can all “visit” long distance! As for DS#3, he WILL be here! He’s the one who just a little over a week ago graduated from PLC Junior in Quantico, VA, and now is back at OSU – I wasn’t there for him either - in Virginia; his sister was though having come up from Camp Lejeune just to support her younger brother! I wasn’t there because PLC Junior graduation was the same exact day as my only brother’s wedding…in Seattle. Why do big things have to happen all at once on opposite coasts???!!! Maybe it’s like this for all families…having to make impossible choices, ones that invariably shortchange someone, or someones, and shortchange them big time. So as the Mom of this spread-all-over-the-place gang, I feel compelled to do whatever I can to make the rare together times into CELEBRATIONS – celebrating being together, celebrating all the things we’ve missed and celebrating things we’ll miss until we meet again!
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    kar57,

    I get that you make celebrations, I think every tight knit family does. I am just saying don't get so wrapped up in planning that you are too busy to enjoy those days with them. Kind of like the movie Father of the Bride, there was so much activity that he never got the chance to relish the moment.

    Relish the moment.
     
  5. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    One thing that was started when the oldest cousin left for college-was a giant all family ping-pong tournament. Every time we get all (or almost all) of the extended family together (1-2x per year), we have a double elimination ping-pong tournament-There is a ranking system etc. for brackets. The tourney is complete with a giant tacky trophy that gets your name plate added to it each time you win the tournament. Winners have included 75 year old grandmother to 12 year old cousin. Some of the girl cousins try to loose and they get paired up with a terrible aunt who cant play at all (painful to watch actually). Two cousins who are hockey goalies (which means better ping pong skills) typically duke it out in the end and then smack talk all year until the next tournament. Christmas gifts have included custom made ping-pong paddles. Girlfriends have decided not to marry into the family after a weekend tournament.

    What I like about it is that it repeats from year to year and it encourages discussion (smack talk) all through out the year. This has become a fine tradition in our family. (We are Irish, so there can be alot worse family traditions). It also includes those who like to chew the fat and those who are quiet. Now you know, if the cousins are going to be there, bring your paddle.

    If ping-pong isnt your family's idea of good times, what about darts, pool, poker, bags (corn-hole), golf, tennis, foosball, flag football, shooting range, archery, really anything with a trophy at the end will do!


    PS:
    Another suggestion is to make chocolate fondue. The reason is everyone has to sit close (and then talk) while eating.
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Vista,

    I probably would have been one of the GF's that decided not to marry into the family, and I am a Jersey girl married to an Italian guy! :shake: Our family taunts each other and DS's GF has stated openly to me, she feels we are so cruel at times, I am sure she would run for the hills if she saw the level of your family's competition. :yllol:

    I do think it is a great idea to start a family tradition like a tournament. It bonds everyone and it makes memories that is tied to you wherever you go and no matter how long time has passed you still laugh over those memories like it was yesterday.

    I own a chocolate fondue fountain, and I will say, NOPE, wouldn't do that, the clean up on it is why I have never brought that thing out again! :unhappy: I still have it because I lend it out often, and even tell them no need to return it, but sadly they all do! :frown: They have the same feeling as me, the clean up was not worth it!

    Just saying if Kar57 wants to do the chocolate fountain, and needs one, I will happily mail her mine free of charge, and she should feel no need to pay the postage to send it back.:wink:
     
  7. Vista123

    Vista123 Member

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    Pima,
    Not to get all suzie homemaker here but I TOTALY agree with you regarding the chocolate fondue fountain. A mess! A friend rented one and ended up throwing it away (and paying $$$ for it) so she wouldn't have to clean it. I just used an old fashioned fondue pot.

    http://img.ehowcdn.com/article-new/...use-cuisinart-electric-fondue-set-800x800.jpg

    Regarding the competition-its not all fun and games: sometimes the ride home with the one who came in second is just no fun at all. Worse than that is the agitation of the uncles when the cousins start to LET them win :rant2: (which is ironic because none of the uncles let the cousins win when they were younger!). There has been some John Mcenroe type of racket smashing-and its always the uncles never the cousins.

    I am terrible at ping-pong and darts, pool, poker, bags (corn-hole), golf, tennis, foosball,etc. The younger cousins petition their grandfather (who makes the brackets) to play me in the first round so they know they can advance.:thumb:

    Losing early has its blessings ---->:beer1:

    Also Tell DS's GF that "A perfect family were not, but thankful for the one we've got.” Smack talk is just letting off steam in a way that cant get you fired, send you to the pricipals office, or get you arrested.
     

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