merchant mariner families

...a highly unusual, sometimes maddening,
but mostly comical way of life.

August 01, 2017

life ashore, ceo...

www.calliesmariner.blogspot.comA few days before Christmas this past year, we received the most fantastic, wonderful, joyous gift ever in the form of a little girl, whom we lovingly referred to as 'Bug.' She needed a place to stay for a while as her family got their act together and "we" were more than happy to oblige, even though Beady was out to sea at her arrival.


Months earlier, we had put our hat into the ring for foster to adopt through an agency working with the state. And when I say foster to adopt, what I really mean is foster care because first and foremost, you're a foster parent taking care of a child who is likely to be reunited with their family at some point, hopefully sooner rather than later. Adoption is the last resort, and adoption with a child's foster parents is even further down on the list as family and friends of family are diligently investigated for the purposes of placing the child with someone familiar to them or to their way of life. Horrible odds for Vegas, even worse for one's heart. Bug was perfect, except for those strangely full and horribly scented diapers, and the days flew by, days numbered from our beginning, until she finally left on a fantastically shitty day in March to return home. Though I can't speak for Beady, it was truly one of the worst days of my life. But of course, for her, it was the absolute best thing considering she'd already had the worst day of her life when she was taken unceremoniously from everything she knew and brought to our house. So underneath all of my misery, I was so happy for her and took pleasure in imagining her reaction when she finally returned home. We learned so much from her in those painfully short 3 months she stayed. Actually, I'm not so sure what Beady learned as he seemed, irritatingly, a natural from the beginning, but I learned a whole heck of a lot. Bug showed me not only what I was capable of, but that the capacity of my heart was infinite.


 Those 3 months were a crash course in parenting for us, both as a team and individually. Now I already had a heart full of respect for all of those “single parents” out there in Merchant Mariner Land, but after totally immersing myself in it, heart full seems like a complete underestimation of what I feel now. From diapers, baths, and sleepless nights to visits at CPS with her biological parents, doctors, and emergency Target stops I just couldn’t understand how any of you do this year after year, by yourself for at least half of the year, and in most cases, with way more children! Awards should be given! Ticker Tape parades organized! Maybe even a national holiday celebrating your amazingness! And all the while, you’re negotiating for your children the weirdly unusual path of Merchant Mariner Land and how mom or dad’s absence is actually okay. And that's just the kid part!

A friend of mine has claimed the title CEO/CFO of her mariner family, but again, I think she sells herself short. She is surely not the top, but the center of her tribe, keeping life cruising along for her mariner, their two children, finances, family obligations, school, sports, medical needs, plans for the future, the emotional well being of EVERYONE, maintenance of vehicles and home, pets, food, and love, love, love!!!! And she's not alone. There are so many of you who came into this life knowing so little of how it would actually be and have carried on despite the difficulties that plague being married or involved with someone who's only present for about half of the year. Hats off to anyone who climbs aboard this ship and remember, on your lowest day, your 'I'm ready to walk out that door and never come back' moments, YOU ARE SOOOOOO INCREDIBLY TERRIFIC AND ABSOLUTELY IRREPLACEABLE!!!!!!! 

     And I think you're pretty fantastic, too...

So, if no one's ever said it to you, hear me now! Thank you for everything you do for your mariner family and thanks for being such an inspiration to me. Take a moment today to be proud of yourself, bad and good, for where you are, how far you've come. You did that, no one did that. 

And as Beady and I get closer to meeting the 3 little girls who will change our lives forever, when I feel any sort of fear, I think of ALL OF YOU and know it's totally do-able, and more importantly, do-able in an amazing way! So, thank you with sugar on top.
Life is enormous, but I can do it...thank you

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