That Time When I Mobilized My Village

You two already know this story, having lived it. But it was hilarious. And I’m still blown away by your dedication to my cause. This one is for you. ❤

This story involves friends, spicy tuna bowls, changes in plans, and submarines.

It’s an overwhelming feeling to have the proof right in front of your face. When you know for sure that your friends like you and they’re there for you when you need them. I’ve written before how making friends as adults is much different from making friends as children. Or at least, it is for me. I am 30+ years old and I still have to ask myself if my husband really likes me, (does he like me or like like me?) so you can bet I’ve wondered if I’ll ever have close friends again. You may know how it is when you get to a new location and start all over from the ground up, even having to make new friends. I know I’ve hit the friend jackpot.

It happened a few days ago. My daughter recently turned one and we had her birthday party. Of course, it was mostly adults. She has one other close baby friend, they share pacifiers for some reason, it is adorable. I digress. Of course, we planned this birthday party for when my Sir would be certain to be home. Why we thought we could plan an event around his schedule, I’m not sure. Needless to say now, he was unable to be there. But my friends were. My village. I am so grateful. After the party, once my daughter was asleep, my friends gathered around my table for dinner and laughs and it was great. My Sir was underwater so my friends stayed so I wouldn’t be alone. And because I cook delightfully delicious food but I never really like to cook for just myself so I need to cook for friends and they benefit. (This particular night was greek chicken pitas and zucchini spears.) Anyway, we made the plan to get together at a playground in the next few days with my daughter.

So we met up at the appointed time, coffee in hand. Baby girl was all excited to play in a new house with the kitty toys. She ignored the new kitty in favor of kitty’s toys. Go fig. My friend made muffins for us. We headed down the hill to the playground in her neighborhood and I got a text from my Sir. I wasn’t supposed to get texts from my Sir. My Sir should be underwater on a submarine, doing Super Important Secret Work for the Navy. He said simply that I should head to a certain point where families like to go to watch boats come in and out of the channel. My response was the very celebratory “Are you broken down again?” But I was about to drop everything and go see my husband. My best friend. My soul mate.

And do you know what my friends did when I asked them if we could change plans? They immediately packed up my baby, their coffees and waters, used the bathroom, and got in my car as we headed to the point. No questions. No complaints. Just motivation to get me and my kid to see my husband, even for a fleeting glimpse of a second. I mean, who does that?

We sat under a big tree for shade, but of course, my incredibly independent daughter wanted none of that. She didn’t care for the picnic blanket I keep in my trunk at all times. She just wanted to explore rocks and walls and grass. Between us three adults, we corralled her as best we could, but because my Sir is Super Important, he doesn’t have time to text often, so I had no idea when to expect the boat on the horizon. Did he not expect me to drop everything and run to the water side to see him?? It is ridiculously hot in Hawaii just now, especially when the trade winds die down. So we gave ourselves 45 minutes to see if we could spot a submarine on the horizon. After that time? SPICY TUNA BOWL HEAVEN!!

We stayed there the allotted time, chatting and chasing my toddler baby. I looked to the horizon so often, trying to discern little blips and dots, scanning for a teeeeeeeeny tiiiiiiiiny submarine-shaped blip. Nothing. So we resolved to get the most delicious on-base lunch that exists and still call it a successful morning.

Of course, as soon as we walked back to the car, I got another text from Sir saying he’d be thirty minutes out. Of. Course. We even looked in the channel and sure enough, there were tug boats and the MPs, signifying the boat’s imminent arrival. So what do my extra-super-awesome friends do? They get in my car to get the spicy tuna bowls for us and I set up my daughter a little farther away from the water. At this point, I was getting anxious about nap times and cranky babies. Keeping her distracted would only work to a point. When would we pass the limits of her ability to cope sans nap?

As my daughter walked around the grassy area, there was another family playing in the shady parts and of course, my daughter makes friends with a little boy. He was very friendly and didn’t mind a baby who doesn’t understand playing the way he does–she really just wants to pat and smile and laugh right now.

Then. OMG. Gasp!! There was very suddenly a submarine right there. In the water right next to me. (I may have missed it on the horizon because I was chasing after a baby/toddler who is super interested in walking in grass.) The little boy went nuts! “OMG you guys! I just saw a black submarine!!!” he said to the runners passing him. I waved and put my daughter on my shoulders. I had no idea who was standing on the top but I was sure my husband could see me either from there or from the periscope. He’s the one who told me to go watch, so he would be watching for me somehow, I was sure.

You see, I didn’t go to watch the boat leave originally. I needed this.

And where were my friends? Well I looked over my shoulder because I didn’t want them to miss a submarine crossing. It is sort of cool, probably more so if you’re not a submariner yourself. Being a sub spouse or a surface spouse (or a civilian) makes submarines way more super cool because you’re not a part of the inner workings and you carry no responsibility. Anyway, back to my friends.

Where were they? They were running to me and my daughter at the water’s edge. They were carrying lunch and purses and even got lost in all the base streets that look the same, running up to me. But it was important to me. So it was important to them.

It took only a few minutes for the boat to go down the water in front of us. We went back to my picnic blanket and ate lunch, again corralling my daughter into staying put by feeding her little bits of rice. The spicy tuna bowls were indeed little bits of heaven. It’s really because of the sauce they use. Salty and spicy in just the right amounts. We adults could have stayed longer, chatting and laughing, but it was getting to be too much for my daughter to handle without the aid of a nap, so we packed up and went back to my car. I took them home and went to my house. My daughter fell asleep in the car and I was optimistic that I could transfer her to her crib to finish out her nap there.

But really, I’m just overwhelmed at the level of friendship displayed by my village. We even joked, before I heard back from my Sir, that I mobilized an entire village just to get to the water to see him for a fleeting moment and he had the audacity to not show up or tell me the time for over an hour? I repeat, did he not expect me to drop everything to run to see him the minute he asked me to? Well. I tell you what, I never expected my friends to also drop everything for me, the minute I asked. It was over and above. It was a perfect day.

Maybe it is because they’re both also Navy wives. They know the value of a text from a husband. They know what it is like to keep your phone on you at all times, because you just never know when a call/text/email will come. They know what it is like to fill your day times with activities and friends but then the evenings are still lonely because you don’t have your best friend home with you to share them. They know that we live for those simple little glimpses we get of our husbands because everything they do is so uncertain.

You guys. I have the world’s best village. I sometimes feel like I need to pinch myself and ask if I really deserve them. But they’re my friends and I hope they know I’d do the same for them. This whole village thing is really nice. I think I just may make it through this.

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