Our son, Eric called us last night from Korea - where he's stationed in the USAF. It was great to hear from him, as we hadn't in a while.
Eric sounded a little down on the phone. I'm thinking that maybe he's a little homesick, missing his wife (who is also stationed in Korea, but at a different base), and just generally tired. He's in an unfamiliar country, and as I understand it, there's really not much to do off-base there. He's planning a trip to visit his brother and sister-in-law in Japan, but that won't be until February.
Since I know he reads my blog (even though he doesn't leave comments), I thought I would share some of my favorite memories of him, and remind him just how much we love him and how damned proud we are that he's our son.
Eric was a bit klutzy when he was growing up, so a lot of memories I have are of injuries. Like the time I told him, "Eric, I'm opening the freezer door, DO NOT walk this way for a minute." (we had to tell him things like that or he'd walk right into it.) Well, about two seconds after I said that, Eric walked into the freezer door like it wasn't even there! The handle got him on the nose, and I think he got a black eye from it. There was another time when he was playing in the woods with his brother and a bunch of neighborhood kids at night, and Eric was the one to run into the rusty 55-gallon drum that nobody knew was there. I believe he still has a scar on his stomach from that.
But my memories of Eric growing up are not all injury-related. I can remember going to car shows, the Worcester Nationals in Massachusetts, for example. We'd pack-up the kids and go for the day, and Eric loved T-buckets. He pointed out every single T-bucket in the show. For those of you who don't know what a T-bucket is, here's an example:
We would have to take a picture of every single T-bucket at the show, and the show was huge. It took us all day to see what we could and we never did see the whole thing.
Another of my favorite memories of Eric is when he called us on September 1st, 2005, and said, "We're going to get married, and we want you and Dad to be witnesses." He was 20 years old. I calmly explained to him that I thought he might be a bit young to get married, and why the rush, etc., etc. Then he calmly explained to me that he loved Toshia, and they were going to get married anyway, but if they didn't get married now, the Air Force could not guarantee that they would be stationed together again. He explained all this to me so calmly, and in such detail; I almost couldn't believe I was talking to Eric. Eric, who usually gets so excited, and maybe a little heated when having to explain himself. I knew he had his mind made up, and I could either go with the flow, or miss out on a wonderful event. Needless to say, I wouldn't have missed it for anything in the world.
It's funny that when Eric was a teen, his Dad would try to get him to work in the garage with him, and Eric was not having it. He hated working in the garage. Daryl would tell me, "It's like pulling teeth getting that kid into the garage." It's funny, because now Eric is a mechanic in the Air Force, and doing very well. This makes Daryl extremely proud.
Eric has grown into a proud young man, and he is loyal to his friends and family, sometimes to a fault. When he was stationed in Tucson, he came to stay with us in Phoenix, every chance he got. We went Salt River Tubing a few times, he took Vicki to California and Sea World. He took me food shopping at the base commissary in Glendale when money was tight. We were lucky that he was stationed so close to us. He spent holdiays with us, and we were able to visit him in Tucson, too. He is perhaps, one of the most compassionate and caring individuals I know.
We love you very much, Eric, and we're proud as hell of the way you've defeated your demons, and of the man you've become. Keep your chin up, you'll be visiting Rex and Deja in no time, and then it's on to England! We can't wait to visit you there.