SERVICE SECOND TO NONE Chapter 21: MARRIAGE AND CHILDREN

CH 21: MARRIAGE & CHILDREN

With the Snowbirds first year just finished and travel grind to a halt for the winter I thought Dean would have plenty of time at home but that wasn’t so. When he wasn’t working late hours he hung out with the guys at the Snowbird lounge; I hardly saw him. Sometimes I was lucky and we socialized as a couple with team members and of course Don, Dean’s old co-worker from maintenance and his wife Lorrie suddenly re-appeared again because he wanted to hear all the tales from being on the tour. I had to endure the stories, over and over again, I wanted to scream. The tour started out much the same as last year, all the same stresses but at least I knew what to expect. You’d think it would make it easier knowing but I braced myself for the worse.

Towards the end of the summer Dean was promoted to Master Corporal. When October came it signaled the end of Dean’s two year Snowbirds tour. At the year-end party things were different this year in that only the parting members and their partners got gifts. Dean’s pilot Stan gave him a beautiful wooden carving of single Snowbirds arching back with a trail of smoke, he loved it. The pilot’s wives got together and bought all the departing spouses a beautiful mirror etched at the bottom was one line from an aviation quote written by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.,  “And to have done a hundred things, you have not dreamed of”, then they all signed the back of each one. Dean had difficulty leaving the team as I’m sure all of them did, but at least he was going back to the hangar line as a supervisor. I on the other hand was so tired to feel any great relief that it was finally over. There were ample repairs to make to salvage our relationship. Dean was adamant that he loved me and still wanted to get married but I had difficulty believing it. I needed lots of affection and time which we didn’t have the wedding was only a month away.

Dean’s younger brother and parents were flying in for the wedding and on my side only my dad was coming, by train. Dean invited the whole Snowbirds team and some friends from maintenance, while I had only two supply co-workers. When it was all over and everyone was gone it was just the two of us for the first time in two years. We had a lot of bridges to mend.

In mid-December we found out I was pregnant and when we went home to visit for Christmas we told the family the news. Due to spotting as soon as we got back home I saw my doctor and she enforced complete bed rest to ensure I didn’t lose the baby so I couldn’t work and had to go on leave from Reserves. Dean seemed happy and loving as he pampered me. We picked the name Kyle if the baby was a boy and Amber if it was a girl. To my delight my pregnancy brought us closer together. We moved from the one bedroom apartment to a two bedroom townhouse but just shortly after Kyle was born moved onto the base.

Dean settled in as a supervisor in Snags, it wasn’t as bad now that he was letting go of his glory days on the Snowbirds Team. Dean was Don’s boss now and although at first there was conflict they worked it out. Don and Lorrie still came over and even though we talked about the baby, Don always managed to get Dean to chatter about the Snowbirds. It was a sore subject for me and I finally said that to Dean. He understood my feelings but he said that Don was just excited and hopeful of one day making the team and Dean was the only one he could talk to about it. Still he promised to try to change the topic but Don was persistent. He had no clue how the topic of the Snowbirds made me feel.

In the winter we took Kyle home so both Dean and my family could see him. It was a whirlwind and both Dean and I were happy to get home with Kyle to our own calmer place. We decided to have a quiet Christmas at home this year. On Christmas Day it was freakishly warm, t-shirt weather, mid-twenties with not a flake of snow to be seen! Being Kyle’s first Christmas and only five months old, we wrapped up a few Fisher Price Toys for him. Don and Lorrie came over and the two guys cooked the turkey. They ended up calling Dean’s father in Montreal to ask how long and on what temperature did we needed to cook the turkey for because they had no clue. So much for being independent, we all had a good laugh.

After the holiday in early spring money was really tight and it was time I got back to work. Dean and I searched for a babysitter on base and because they were military spouses we had a false sense of security but the first turned out to be abusive, the second a dirty, unsafe health violator, and the third was temporary until we found the forth a bi-lingual woman named Monique who was safe, clean, and fed Kyle well. We learned the hard way that the military community had its problems, its skeletons too it was by no means perfect or completely safe.

When Kyle turned one year old it was also in the summer that I skipped my period and we were surprised to learn that I was pregnant again, with the baby due in the next spring, as thrilled as we were we decided I’d better go back on the pill after this infant. This pregnancy I wasn’t directed to complete bed rest but the doctor wanted me to take it easy and to see her at the first sign of spotting. It was good that I had a desk job and my sergeant made sure I didn’t have to count stock. Amber was born on time in the early spring 1988 and shortly afterwards we drove home with the kids for a quick visit. My dad drove with my sister to Dean’s family’s home in Montreal to see the kids but unfortunately, my mother still hadn’t seen the children. It had been such a long time since her attempts to break Dean and me up that lead to her banishment. At times I wished that she could come back in our lives, but I didn’t trust her anymore. And now with children to protect, I was even more wary. Dean didn’t want her around us and could I blame him? She hated all men and hence hated Dean and wanted to chop him up into a stew. I know that was over six years ago but that’s something not easily forgotten.

This was Kyle’s second Christmas and Amber’s first so he could actually unwrap his own presents with some help. We didn’t have Christmas with Don and Lorrie because he finally got on the Snowbird team in late October of 1987. In fact Don disappeared the minute he was chosen, which kind of pissed Dean off, because Dean said it was the outstanding P.E.R. (personal evaluation report) he wrote Don as his boss that helped get him there. Dean knew Don deserved getting the Snowbirds because he was a hard worker, dependable, and a great technician, but he didn’t like getting tossed aside. Secretly I thought it was Dean’s turn to be dumped  like I was by them every time he left on the road, used. But I just kept those thoughts to myself and told Dean, that he should know how busy team members get and besides now, Don and Lorrie were in a different social circle now It was a quiet holiday for us just the four of us.

I went back to work fairly quickly in comparison to when I had Kyle because now we had two children to support; needless to say I went back on the pill. Besides, we had Monique a dependable and safe babysitter that was happy to take on Amber as well. When I started the end of April I was offered to take the Junior Leader Course during the summer in Summerside, Prince Edward Island. It was so sudden and I didn’t know how I felt leaving the kids so young especially Amber who would only be three months when I was away, but Dean said it was the proper career move and that I should take it. I had to agree, you needed to have this course to get promoted to master corporal. Dean talked to Monique about his shift work hours and they worked out an arrangement, so despite my uncertainty I decided to go. I had never been to P.E.I. and was excited to see the scenery and culture.

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