I recently had an amazing dream, the kind you don’t want to wake up from. I dreamt I enjoyed an evening with the grandfather I never knew. My grandfather Rea (pronounced Ray) died in 1961 at the age of 51. My father was just a teenager when his father died while returning from vacation. They had been in Arizona and stopped for the night in Kansas when he had a heart attack and died.
I don’t much about him. He was a farmer and school bus driver and an only child. One day a family friend, Mary Kay told me I acted a lot like him. She told me a couple stories about him and I’m grateful for the things she shared for it’s all I know about him. She told me he had one of the first still cameras and that he was a jokester.
It’s the first time I have ever had a dream about him. He and I were walking about their old farmstead. We were talking and I remember it was delightful. At one point I took his hand and told him I was grateful to finally meet him. He showed me where their barn used to be, and I explained that after he died Grandma sold the animals and neighbors farmed the land he owned. The barn became dilapidated, and it was torn down.
You know how people ask, “Who is one person dead or alive that you would want to have dinner with?” Hands down, it is my grandfather. It’s strange how I can have such a strong attachment to my grandfather even though I never knew him. When we were expecting our second child, not knowing if it was a boy or a girl, I knew that if it was a boy, I wanted to honor my grandpa. Grandpa Rea’s real given name was Thompson Rea, named after his grandfather. My son’s middle name is Thompson.
I’m grateful for that evening with my grandfather and I hope to have another evening with him soon.
Well, after 24 years it’s Farewell to the Air Force. It’s been a part of our daily lives. More than just a job, it was a career, a lifestyle, an accomplishment, a burden…but it was never just a job. That’s the difference between a military career and a civilian career in my opinion and that’s what makes the last day in uniform bittersweet. Chris was the one in uniform but all of us were affected by his career more so than his current civilian job. And so here we are 24 years, 3 months, and 29 days later. We have grown up in the military, all of us. It has molded us, shaped us and forever changed us.
The stats of a 24 year career:
1 year-long deployment
In a previous post (https://missykuester.com/dear-air-force-had-it-not-been/ ) I shared that had it not been for all the Air Force gave us and took from us, all the adventures and the missteps, that we would not be who we are today. So, we say thank you. We have found our home in Utah and we’re gonna plant some deep roots here. Thank you for getting us here.
Years ago Magnum was asked to speak to a room of JROTC cadets at SHAPE American High School Dining Out. I snuck this recording so don’t mind that it’s not the best quality. I believe he said it best.
Air Force Thank Yous in the style of Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show:
Happy New Year! We are excited about 2021. I wanted to update all of you on our farm. Ideally, I consider it a hobby farm as we don’t plan on using it for large farming or animals. As a family, we decided to name it Haulin Kuester Acres. It was the name all 5 of us could agree on. You offered many amazing suggestions. We felt this best reflected our homestead and would maybe help people remember the correct pronunciation of our last name. Thank you for sharing in our enthusiasm and watching along. Due to weather and other commitments we are not currently undertaking any projects until the weather improves. Also, we currently maintain two households so fiscally we are trying to be responsible.
Additionally, my talented sister, Larissa designed our logo. We wanted a logo that could stand on its own but also be identifiable and unique. She accomplished that. Next up will be to get some swag with our new logo.
In my next blog post, find out the reason you are not allowed to ask “Why?” on Haulin Kuester Acres.
We still haven’t named our farm/ranch so for now it’s just Our Place. What is the difference between a farm and ranch? https://www.land.com/buying/difference-between-farm-and-ranch/ According to this article our 7.5 acres with no current animals or crops is a farm. Don’t tell Delilah, the dog as she considers herself a ranch dog. So, we’ll keep stewing on that name for our farm.
So here is our first Renovation Update: From the Inside.
Don’t judge a house by its crappy vinyl siding
In the Cache Valley, it’s hard to find a house with land. This was a unique piece of property but it ain’t pretty. We have grand plans down the road. When we move in permanently in July 2021, we will hire an architect or engineer to tell us if the house is worth remodeling or if we should start over. For now it’s liveable.
People asked for pictures of the inside. Here are some. Excuse my photo gallery, it’s not perfect either.
Thanks for following along. I hope you’re in for the long haul.
It’s that time of year where kids are graduating from high school. Parents are excited and sentimental. It brings back nostalgic memories of when my oldest son graduated from high school. In the aftermath of graduation, we prepared for him to leave us. He had chosen to attend a college across the country from where we lived.
About that same time, a friend recommended Kami Gilmour’s Release My Grip: Hope for a Parent’s Heart as Kids Leave the Nest and Learn to Fly. https://www.amazon.com/Release-My-Grip-Parent%C2%92s-Heart/dp/1470748479.It changed the way I looked at this transition. Did I perform it flawlessly? Nope. However, I did learn some truths and I want to pass them onto other parents. Your kid may be transitioning to a job, a trade school, the military, or a traditional 4-year college or even taking a gap year. The letting-go part is the same. Here are some things to keep in mind as you drop your kid off at college as was my case.
13 truths as you drop your kid off at college…
(Why 13? Because a list of 10 seems too predictable.)
Wait until you’re in the car to cry. Crying makes them feel worse and apprehensive. Besides, no kid wants to see his mom cry on the sidewalk.
I text and talk with my son more than when he was under my roof.
They still need you. You’ll find out soon…
You are doing the best thing for them. One day they will return. By giving them the freedom to leave, they will be someone who longs for home instead of someone who longs to run away.
They have the confidence to leave and that means you did such an amazing job of raising them! Applaud yourself!
You are still their mom, that doesn’t change.
One day you will find out that your kid is a pretty cool adult. (My friend Craig kept reminding me of this and it’s true!)
As my son told me, “If you don’t leave, I can’t start my life.” Move out of their way. You’re hindering, not helping.
Kids don’t grow confident by clinging to you, just like a toddler has to let go in order to walk.
What if your parents had never let you go?
As my friend reminded me, I still had people at home counting on me.
Kami Gilmour in her book chides parents for stealing their kids’ joy. This is a joyful time and your resistance to letting them go steals that joy. Stop being selfish!
Lose them now or lose them forever. Some of the best advice came from the ABC show The Goldbergs. (https://abc.com/shows/the-goldbergs). On one episode titled, Graduation Day, the father Murray Goldberg, played by Jeff Garlin is trying to console his wife Beverly played by Wendi McLendon-Covey. The usually cranky Murray has sage advice for his wife when she divulges that she is afraid of losing her daughter when she goes off to college. Murray says to her, “I would rather lose her for four short years than hold her back forever.” I needed to hear that and may you do too.
There is good news
Do not despair; it’s not all bad news. They eventually come back for visits and all the things that once annoyed you about them are soon forgotten. You start to trust them more. They communicate better, eventually. You might even get a text or phone call full of appreciation. There will be moments of great pride. You never stop worrying but they prove they can be trusted and get themselves out of tough situations. Don’t forget to applaud them and share in their triumphs and joys. One day down the road, you’ll wonder why you worried.
This is a song that helped me through the transition of my son leaving home….
This is not Goodbye by Sidewalk Prophets
I can see it in your eyes that you are restless
The time has come for you to leave
It’s so hard to let you go
But in this life, I know you have to be who you were made to be
As you step out on the road I’ll say a prayer
So that in my heart you always will be there
This is not goodbye
I know we’ll meet again
So let your life begin
‘Cause this is not goodbye
It’s just “I love you” to take with you
Until you’re home again