Perfect Chaos

Can I tell you a frank secret? Because you are, after all, my people…

I got up this morning and he was gone. I reached for him, but he wasn’t there, and my heart did a sad little flip.

Sooooo I checked my messages to cheer me up. Big mistake. The first one I received this morning was from an angry man harshly criticizing me for running this site and for being a pilot wife. ‘I should be ashamed of myself,’ or so he boldly declared. He is not even in the aviation field—not even remotely connected—but he felt entitled to his bitter words and unjustifiable anger toward a complete stranger. You know, toward me.

I grumpily slammed down my phone, crawled out of bed, opened the door, and was met by absolute chaos. I glared around at all the piles of dirty laundry, unwashed dishes, and enough dust bunnies to start a new farm piled around after an exhaustingly busy weekend.

And yeah, friends, I felt tired…and a little lot discouraged.

For a fleeting moment, I thought to myself that maybe, just maybe, I’m not the right one to do this for you—to be your encourager. Because today? I didn’t really want to be a pilot’s wife. I wanted my husband home in my arms, not jaunting around the country. I wanted mean people to stop saying mean things for the sake of meanness. And I wanted to not be forever and a day (or six) behind on life.

But then I realized that makes me the perfect person to do this for you—to be your encourager. Because I get it. This is #thepilotwifelife. It’s messy. Very! I have learned how to have lots of great days, but sometimes it’s still hard. Sometimes ‘those days’ creep in under the radar. I am, without a doubt, an imperfect, messed up, flaming hot mess.

And that makes me perfect for this, because I am real. I am perfect chaos.

I stopped and took a deep breath and realized something very important. Days like today help me help you better because my words? They’re not just empty words from an outside person but rather words of empathy from someone who has been there, done that. Recently. Like…right now, as we speak.

That gives me new perspective and makes me thankful for today. It makes me cherish the loneliness, the frustration, the real…because I know that it makes me a better advocate for you. It gives me real perspective. It helps me identify with you and your ‘those days.’

It makes me a real pilot’s wife. I love, love, love being a pilot’s wife and I love, love, love being able to encourage you. Because my chaos—your chaos—is perfectly beautiful.

I am convinced that we need this community. We need to know it’s okay to have ‘those’ days. We need to be able to lean on one another for encouragement and love and advice.

And we need to remind one another to keep F.L.Y.ing even when it’s hard or we don’t feel like it.

So I’m still here. And I still love you, aviation family. I’m not going anywhere, I promise. Well…except maybe to the grocery store because my kids are, apparently, not too keen on a(nother) dinner of lettuce and ketchup.

I love you, aviation family.

Tailwinds,

Angelia (a fellow pilot wife)

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To Love a Pilot You Must Learn to F.L.Y.

It was one of those divine moments of shining clarity. For some people they come like the morning sun rising over the horizon and bathing the world in glorious revelation.

However, in my stubbornness they usually come more in the form of a good, solid kick in the teeth that finally knocks some sense into me.

Sometimes.

My pilot was on the umpteeth day of a really long trip. Now that I think on it, it sometimes seems like he’s always on the umpteenth day of a really long trip. Welcome to the pilot wife life.

So on this particular umpteenth day I decided for no apparent reason to make myself something besides the normal fare of leftover day-old mac and cheese and half of a chicken nugget my kid didn’t finish. Usually, it’s followed by an oreo chaser after they go to bed. You know, the whole frigging bag. Hey, don’t judge!

You know what I’m talking about.

I whipped myself up a perfectly marinated ribeye steak with a side of parmesan crusted squash and a glass of red wine. A meal fit for a… Well, a queen.

I shoved a week’s worth of mail, two lightsabers, several books, and a…what is that thing, anyway?…off the table so I could have a clear spot to eat, plopped my tush (still covered in last night’s pajamas at 6 pm) into my cheeto-encrusted ‘throne,’ and prepared to dine in style.

And that’s when a little [uninvited] voice of reason broke through my royal reverie. “Mommy? Why are you eating that? Shouldn’t you save the good food for when daddy is home?”

Boom. Like I said, a nice, solid kick in the teeth. Thanks kid.

The ‘good’ food. In that painful moment I realized that I had been living my life not as a queen, but as a second rate citizen. And it was affecting my marriage and my children in a big way.

I had been blaming him for my unhappiness, but in reality the responsible party was staring back at me in the shiny surface of my steak knife.

I resented my husband for ‘always eating out’ and ‘having all the fun’ out there on the road while I was stuck at home groveling in monotonous mac-and-cheese misery. But the truth was that I was making the choice to eat cold, half-gnawed chicken nuggets.

Not him. Not my pilot. Not my husband. Me, myself, and I. 

Yet I was more than happy to project the blame on him. Why? Because frankly it’s always easier to divy out responsibility for my shortcomings on anyone and everyone but sweet, perfect, awesome me!

It’s not that we like being unhappy, but we like being unhappy! It’s more comfortable to coast through our current stratosphere of sadness than to take the plane by the yoke and seek out bluer skies.

But here’s the problem. We are inadvertently cruising with our noses pointed at the ground and if we don’t pull up soon we are going to make untimely and likely fatal contact with the hard earth below.

Our marriages will explode without survivors.

We need to embrace the hard truth. We must take responsibility for our own joy. This is true in any marriage, but especially for marriages with a traveling spouse where we will spend an unfathomable amount of time alone.

You see, in order to love a pilot you must learn to F.L.Y.–

First Love Yourself!

Blame leads to resentment, resentment leads to anger, and anger leads to broken homes. However when we F.L.Y.–when we own our happiness and we first love ourselves well–we replace blame with choice, we trade resentment for joy, and we swap broken aviation homes for beautiful, strong aviation marriages.

Though I cannot choose all of my circumstances, I can choose how I react to them. I was choosing comfortable misery, but I didn’t even realize it until my child spoke those words.

My pilot wasn’t forcing me to eat what I was eating! He wasn’t forcing me to lock myself in the house like a miserly hermit. But for some reason I blamed him.

Not only was it affecting my marriage, not only was I acting like a wretched old grump, but I was devalueing myself in the eyes of my children! I had inadvertently taught them by my actions that I was not as worthy as their father.

That was on me. Like I said, a good solid kick in the face.

That’s the exact moment when I decided to learn to F.L.Y. because I am worth it! And so are you. 

From that moment on I made a pact to love myself well. I can’t always make a gourmet meal, but at least several times a month during his trips I broil myself a nice juicy steak. Because I’m worth it!

When I want to eat out, I eat out. I take my kids to the movies and have ice cream dates with my girlfriends. I take a shower, spray on some perfume, fix my hair, and put on makeup. Not because he’s home, but because I’m worth it!

When I started loving me well, something quite extraordinary happened–I started loving him well by default. I still missed him, but I no longer resented him. Once I understood that joy was mine to shun or choose I pursued it with unbridled passion.

Then the joy that filled my heart overflowed into our marriage, my children, my relationships, and now into you. The ripple effect has been quite simply breathtaking.

I am still a pilot wife. I still spend an unfathomable amount of time alone. I still miss him like crazy. But I am cruising at a new altitude of my appointing and have never felt so content, so full of joy, so alive!

I want that for you! So ladies, I am absolutely challenging you.

Love yourselves well. Pursue your passions, treat yourself to your favorite foods, go to the movies, put on something other than your flannel PJs, have lunch with girlfriends, and laugh out loud!

You. Are. Worth. It.

And when you finally learn to F.L.Y., your marriage will soar to new breathtaking altitudes!

I love you, aviation sisters. Now give yourselves permission to F.L.Y!

~A Fellow Pilot Wife

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The A.R.T. of Love

Love. You can’t see it, touch it, hear it, taste it. It’s elusive and invisible. It comes out of nowhere and dissipates like mist in the wind, leaving us reeling in its wake.

It is nowhere to be seen, yet it is everywhere to be found. It is nothing…yet it is everything.

It controls our thoughts, affects our happiness, sways our decisions–yet it is as intangible as the wind.

The world is obsessed with love. We try to define it in every medium imaginable–music, literature, film, dance–because love truly is a work of A.R.T.

It is a breathtaking masterpiece, a prima ballerina assoluta performing a ballet of life, the magnum opus of the heart.

But what is love, really?

Love is not the momentary fluttery feeling you get in the pit of your stomach when you meet ‘the one.’

It’s not the hopeful, excited feeling you get when you stand at the alter staring forever in the face. It’s not the deep contentment and joy you experience when everything in your marriage is going well.

It’s all these things…and much more.

Love isn’t always perfect. It isn’t a fairy tale or a storybook, and it doesn’t always come easy. It is the choice to love someone when you don’t like them very much and to stay and fight for your marriage when it would be easier to simply walk away.

Love is choosing to put the needs of another person above your own. It’s forgiving often and seeing past someone’s flaws to the value beyond.

Love is overcoming obstacles, facing challenges, fighting to be together, holding on and never letting go. It is a short word, easy to spell, difficult to define, and impossible to live without.

Love is hard work, but most of all, Love is realizing that every hour, every minute, and every second was worth it because you did it together.

Love is a beautiful, timeless work of A.R.T., and you are the artist! Every sunrise offers up a brand new, blank canvas just waiting for you to create a stunning masterpiece.

Every artist needs the right tools for the job, and love is no exception! The A.R.T. of love requires:

A-ction– Spend intentional time together, have fun, laugh often. Initiate intimacy. Treat your spouse in a kind loving way, even on the days when you don’t feel like they deserve it. Forgive freely. Hold each other often.

R-espect– Tell your spouse that you appreciate her. Be his biggest encourager; there are more than enough critics in the world already. Never demean or belittle your spouse in public or on social media. Walk away from anyone who speaks negatively about your spouse. Be proud of your spouse’s passions, talents, and career and tell him/her every chance you get.

T-alking– Great communication is the key to a great marriage. However, it doesn’t come naturally and takes practice and patience. Talk often; talk candidly. Listen without judgement. Take advantage of technology when you are apart. Deal with issues as they arise. Share your hopes, dreams, fears, failures, and successes.

You are a pilot wife–strong, beautiful, capable. You are also a talented artist and your canvas is waiting, so grab your tools and create a beautiful work of A.R.T.!

I love you, aviation family!

Tailwinds.

~Angelia (A fellow pilot wife)

FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK 

Distance Makes the Heart Grow Distant

We’ve all seen the movie (only like fifty million times during his last trip).

A chance encounter. A twist of fate. A stolen kiss. And they fall instantly, deeply, madly in love on the Carolina beaches beneath a breathtaking sunset. They spend two romantic, whirlwind weeks of sheer bliss together before she heads back home to her real life in Big City, USA.

They think life will go on like before, that they can simply forget about those two incredible weeks, but love has its fingers wound tightly around their hearts and they end up rushing across tall mountains and vast plains into one another’s waiting arms.

Because distance makes the heart grow fonder.

You know what? I call bull schnizzle!

Unless, perhaps, that ‘distance’ is the two and a half miles it takes him to get to Kroger to buy me a half gallon of chocolate chunk cherry cordial ice cream, then yeah, totally fonder. What can I say? I’m pathetic.

But let me tell you the secret, ugly, pilot wife life truth–distance makes the heart grow distant.

That’s. Real. Life.

He leaves. Life goes on. Loneliness sets in. Things happen and he’s not there to celebrate with you, cry with you, help you, hold you. You learn that you can, in fact, live without him. Because you do, day after day after day after day.

At best you grow complacent toward one other. Cold. Unfeeling. Over time, conversations become infrequent, short, monotonous.

At worst, resentment grips your heart. You blame him. Repressed anger festers in your soul. And your heart slowly grows distant. Cold. Bitter.

Here’s the real kicker. Our pilots experience the exact same emotional responses on the road. The chill sets in between you, and two icy hearts can produce no heat for a thaw.

Before you know what gut punched you, you find yourselves existing in detached monotony. Even when you are together, the distance is tangible. You plod through the daily expectations, each secretly looking forward to the next trip. Each dreading the next homecoming. Alone. Depressed. Wondering if love ever actually existed between you at all.

It’s a recipe for infidelity and divorce. Your marriage hits the ground and explodes into a ball of flames before you even realize that you were falling.

Ladies (and gentlemen), life is not a Nicholas Sparks flick. Marriage isn’t always a romantic sunset stroll on a Carolina beach. Sometimes it’s more like walking barefoot across a bed of broken glass.

And distance? Distance makes the heart grow distant.

Here’s the thing. Are you listening? Because it’s really important. You can’t, can’t, can’t hold onto the guilt for the way you feel. Guilt will only compound the emotional distance, making it even more difficult to traverse. You also can’t, can’t, can’t resent your spouse for the way he or she feels. Resentment will only exacerbate the bitterness that eats away at your heart.

Sometimes you will feel lonely. Sometimes you will feel distant. Sometimes you will feel frustrated. Sometimes you will feel disconnected from your spouse.

This is simply one of the difficult challenges that all aviation marriages must face head on and overcome.

Every. Single. One.

Knowing and accepting that it can and does happen, even to us old [and heaven knows I do mean old] aviation dogs, and accepting it as a truth of the pilot wife life is half the battle. Learning how to overcome it is the other half.

So how do you overcome the distance? You learn to T.R.A.V.E.L., that’s how!

T-alk often. Communication is absolutely vital if you want to maintain a healthy aviation marriage! Your spouse needs to know that you are thinking of him/her when you are apart. They need to know they are missed, loved, appreciated, cherished! Both sexes deeply desire this! Drop a encouraging text. Write a sweet email. Leave a hidden message in his luggage or in her drawer. Send a pizza to the house or hotel with a message. Be creative! You think that your spouse ‘already knows’ they are loved, and maybe they do, but they still need to hear it. Often. Especially when you are apart.

R-eject negativity. I know I have said this time, and time again. Because. It. Matters. When you pour negative thoughts and commentary into an already volatile situation, you are asking for a chemical reaction—and not a good one. Find people and groups who support aviation marriages and speak with positive perspective. Do not air your dirty laundry for the world to beat to death with a stick. Find a few trusted confidants who will love you with truth and gentleness and lean on them. Allowing negative influence to pour into your heart is toxic to your marriage. Put on your oxygen mask and breathe in the good clean oxygen.

A-llow fun. We are terrible at this! Life is busy, chaotic, and full of responsibility. He’s gone more than home, so when he finally shows up there is a list of chores longer than the runway at DEN to wade through. I know, ladies. I know! But you have to take time out of life to have fun with your spouse! Laughing, playing, dreaming, relaxing—these are the ways we stay connected. These are the ways we remember why we fell in love with each other in the first place—before the bills, and kids, and jobs, and responsibilities, and hurdles of life.

V-ows matter. Why should you T.R.A.V.E.L.? Because once upon a time in a land far, far away you stood at an altar, or in a courtroom, or in front of Elvis in Las Vegas and made a vow before God (and/or Priscilla Presley). You. Chose. This. Person. When you chose this person you made a promise to love them, to cherish them, to fight for them, to do whatever it takes to love them well. Marriage is not just another disposable entity in our self-gratification world! It is another human heart that we agreed to hold tenderly. Whenever we look at our spouse and wonder why, let us look back on our promise and choose to do everything in our power to fight for it. Because vows matter. And then let’s love them unapologetically.

E-xtend forgiveness. You will get hurt by your spouse. You will hurt your spouse. When you put two human beings with different personalities, different pasts, different dreams, different experiences, different expectations, different hopes together and ask them to live life heart-to-heart, someone will mess up from time to time. Learn to let the little things go, offer forgiveness freely, and live to love another day. It’s not worth winning the battle if you lose the war…and your marriage.

L-ove anyway. Love is not always easy. There will be days that you do not like your spouse very much. You will not like something he did or something she said. There will be days that you’d rather not look at them, let alone love them. Love anyway. Love is not a feeling; it is an action. It is putting another person before yourself even when you don’t feel like it and, yes, even when they don’t deserve it. It is choosing to speak gently, treat kindly, respond lovingly, and act patiently even when it’s the last thing on earth you want to do. Because these difficult moments? If you continue to travel, they will pass. There is incredible closeness on the other side of the distance. Love wins. I promise; I’ve been there.

Knowing that distance makes the heart grow distant allows you to fight–not with your spouse but with your spouse, side-by-side (relatively speaking), together, as a team! Learning to T.R.A.V.E.L. across the distance will help you lock hearts and fight to overcome complacency and resentment before they set in and begin to fester. Because that’s what marriage is–A constant choice to overcome life’s obstacles, together, as a team!

love you, aviation family! Now pack your bags and get ready to T.R.A.V.E.L.

Tailwinds!

Angelia (A Fellow Pilot Wife)

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Unapologetically

Hey lady, you suck at being a wife and mom. Yeah, you.

You are a terrible mom. Your husband is probably having an affair. You should be ashamed of yourself as a human being. CPS should take your kids from you. Your husband should divorce you. You don’t deserve kids. You are a loser, a worthless piece of….

Except you are not; and I am not.

Not even remotely.

You see . . .

Every single one of the above comments have been personally directed toward me by complete strangers during my stint as a blogger. This was primarily on another site I author, and thankfully none of these particular comments were pilot wives. But man, you have to have some titanium skin to maintain an internet presence.

Those comments weren’t from pilot wives… But some have been. I received a message recently strongly admonishing me for suggesting that, as pilot wives, we should love and encourage our husbands. In short, she basically demanded that I apologize for loving a pilot.

But I won’t. Not today; not ever.

I love my pilot. Fiercely. Unapologetically. 

Look, it’s okay. I’m not mad, or hurt, or shocked, or even a teeny-tiny, itty-bitty, eensy-weensy bit upset.

Because with positivity, inevitably comes negativity. When you choose to trek knee-high into the muck of people’s brokenness, you will have to deal with their pain, hatred, misconceptions. You better wear armor. Brokenness begs for more brokenness because it does not want to wallow in the pit alone, so it seeks out positivity and tries to smother it in its suffocating folds—to destroy it.

But I am wholly convinced that love wins.

Unfortunately, bullying has become rampant in all aspects of life. There are some misinformed, hateful folks out in this self-entitled world that have the ridiculous notion that a flashbulb glance at a singular moment in a person’s life gives them the self-inflicted authority to judge, criticize, and stereotype the entirety of a person’s beliefs, values, and worth—that somehow 943 words of a blog or five minutes in a Wal-Mart aisle affords them an inalienable right to reign down harsh judgmentalism on a complete stranger.

But it doesn’t.

Don’t judge her entire life’s journey by the one leg of the flight that you happened to spend on her plane.

judge.jpg

Until you have flown a thousand miles in her shoes…

Until your wings and heart are dangerously iced over by the difficult journey through the winter storms she has endured…

Until every muscle in your body aches from the strain of trying to survive the life turbulence she has faced…

Until you have faced lonely holidays, car wrecks, birthdays, a loved one’s death, accomplishments, sickness, ER visits (and on and on) with your spouse 2000 miles away…

Don’t judge her; just love her.

Anonymity is a dangerous weapon. Oh, the things we can say and pain we can inflict from behind the safe little haven of our faux Gravatar as ‘flygirl’ or ‘anonymous.’

It is incredibly easy and safe to pour out brutal criticism on a momma in IAH from a comfy chair in Seattle without knowing all the facts.

It is incredibly easy to label a pilot wife in MDW as worthless when you have never met her and heard her cry tears of loneliness.

It is incredibly easy to lay down judgement upon an aviation marriage in EWR without understanding the difficulties of this lifestyle.

But do you know what? It’s just self-righteous folks being ugly for the sake of being ugly. You need to send negative people flying out of your life faster than an eject button on an F15.

You. Don’t. Need. It.

I’ve heard your stories, and I love you. I have seen you soar and stall, and I still believe in you. I have lived this life, and I know. 

The pilot wife life is hard enough without the naysayers. Don’t submerge yourself in their cesspool of stagnant negativity. Instead immerse yourself in a refreshing river of positivity.

Aviation friends, let me tell you a little something, something.

You don’t suck at being a mom. Or a pilot wife. Or an ANYthing. 

Are you going to make mistakes now and then? Of course! We all do. Yep, even me!

I know, right!? 

Anyone that tells you differently is either lying or has never navigated the jet streams of marriage and parenting. Let that perfect somebody throw that first stone. Seriously. Go ahead

The truth is this . . .

If you feed your kid only homegrown organic or if you feed your kid Taco Bell seven times in a friggin’ row because your pilot is gone and you are losing your ever-loving mind; if you go on date nights with your spouse regularly or if you can’t remember the last time you had a date; if your kid has a tantrum in Wal-Mart now and again or if your kid sits quietly at Wal-Mart every single time you shop (yeah, right); if you are married to a commercial pilot who is gone four days at a time or if you are married to a military pilot who is gone four months at a time, if you have never raised your voice to your child or if you have raised your voice to your child so many times [today] that you have lost count, if you have zero kids or if you have nine kids, if your house is Martha Stewart immaculate or Rosanne Barr chaos, if you are a working pilot wife or if you are a stay-at-home pilot wife…

It matters not.

If you love your family with all your heart, if your children are safe and cared for (yes, Easy Mac counts), if you make the decisions that are best suited to your family and your circumstances, you are a good mom and a good pilot wife.

Period.

You listen here, aviation friends! You keep making decisions that are right for your family. You keep on fighting the good fight. You keep surviving the best you know how. You keep loving your pilot fiercely.

Unapologetically. 

Soar confidently and unswayed upon the wings of your beliefs and decision, my dear friends. Do not be dismayed. Do not be moved by anonymous fools. Do not bend to the will of group conformity.

And do not apologize for loving your pilot. Ever.

EVER! Do you hear me?

Let me clarify. Everyone is entitled to an opinion. We all have different experiences, different situations, and different personalities which influence the direction from which we view a topic. That is not only okay, it is absolutely necessary. Respectful disagreement and discussion are the beautiful tools by which we learn and grow.

But those people—the naysayers, judges, and haters? Those who slander, slash, name throw, and stereotype randomly with wide open mouths and wide shut ears? Their words are nothing more than a bitter reflection of bitter hearts, and any shard of truth or useful advice that may have potentially existed is inevitably obscured and obliterated by hatred.

Sometimes in life, you just have to let folks roll off of you like rainwater on Turtle Wax. You cannot make them happy, so don’t dally with fools.


Pilot wives, those people are always going to exist in this world. From the eye roller in the grocery checkout line to the internet troller who just plain hates life as a pilot wife and wants you to join her in abject misery—they are nothing more than an unpleasant altitude drop on the flight of life.

Hit. The. Eject. Button. Now.

They will always hide behind the safety of anonymity and criticize you, this lifestyle, your choices, your husband from a safe distance. They are always going to claim the self-imposed right to judge you without flying a single skymile in your exhausted, busy, chaotic, overwhelmed pilot wife shoes. They are always going to have a poorly founded and loudly stated opinion about everything you do…or don’t do.

But frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn.

And neither should you.

Now GO! Live your beautiful, crazy, amazing, chaotic aviation lives unapologetically.

love you, aviation family.

Tailwinds!

Angelia (a fellow pilot wife)

FOLLOW ME ON FACEBOOK

Oxygen Mask

I’m probably the only idiot in the world that actually pays attention.

Like clockwork, a flight attendant dutifully stands up front with an emotionless countenance belied by the utter boredom in his/her eyes and trudges through the required safety demonstration with practiced if not efficient monotony.

But you can hardly blame them.

All around me, other passengers slump in their seats in various states of apathy, fiddling numbly with their carry-ons and posting last-minute social media quips on their electronic devices, purposefully oblivious to the information being so ‘cheerfully’ conveyed up front.

But not me. Heck to the nope! I intentionally make eye contact and enthusiastically watch the whole darned thing in all its mind-dulling glory. So yeah, if you are a flight attendant and some creepy lady from 2A was actually watching you and smiling interestedly, it was probably me. Don’t freak out, I’m normal.

Mostly.

I swear, if we ever have an emergency water landing (and we actually survive hitting the deceptively hard surface of the ocean at 325 kts) I’m going to be the only one on that sunk hunk of junk who knows exactly how to use my seat as a flotation device while calmly following the aisle lighting to the nearest emergency exit which, by the way, might be located behind you at the ‘aft of the cabin.’ Just in case you were wondering.

Yeah, I’m an obsessive-compulsive overachiever like that. Don’t judge.

You would be shocked to know how many sweet, in-flight conversations I’ve had with flight attendants just because I listened. When it comes right down to it, that’s all anyone really wants isn’t it, to be heard? But that, my dear friends, is another conversation for another day.

“Oxygen and air pressure are continually monitored. In the event of a decompression, an oxygen mask will automatically appear in front of you. To start the flow of oxygen, pull the mask towards you. Place it firmly over your nose and mouth, secure the elastic band behind your head, and breathe normally. Although the bag may not inflate, oxygen is flowing to the mask. If you are travelling with a child or someone who requires assistance, secure your own mask on first, and then assist the other person.”

Yada, yada, yada. This is a snippet of the instructions they share with over 8 million disinterested people around the world daily.

But did you catch it? That really, really super duper important part? Or were you too busy fiddling with your carry-on? Because it matters.

Immensely.

Secure your own mask on first.

Why? Because you can’t save anyone else if you, yourself, can’t breathe– Not your children. Not yourself. Not your husband. Not your marriage.

I know, ladies. You are trying to save everyone in your life because you, my  beautiful aviation sisters, are strong, amazing, caring, compassionate, heroic women. You give of yourselves until there is nothing left to give–and then you give some more.

But, honey, I also know that you are dying. You are so busy trying to put on everyone else’s oxygen masks that you have forgotten to secure your own mask first, and you are suffocating. 

You. Can’t. Breathe.

You feel like the world around you is spinning wildy out of control. The air that sustains you is thin…oh, so thin. You are desperately gasping for every breath.

Listen to me, ladies. I am standing at the front of the cabin, jumping up and down and screaming like a banshee to get your attention, and I’m telling you that you have to secure your mask first!

You can’t save your children, your husband, your marriage until you, yourself, breathe. 

It’s time to secure that mask and take a deep, rejuvenating breath. Because the cold, hard truth is that you can’t take care of other people until you take care of you.

But how? How do you start breathing again when you’ve been oxygen deprived for so long?

You put on your M.A.S.K.

M-Make time for you. In order to survive life as a pilot wife you have to learn to F.L.Y.–to first love yourself. Give yourself permission to live life to its fullest when he’s home…and when he’s not.

A-Accept that this life is just plain difficult at times. Forgive yourself and your pilot on the days one of you mess up, celebrate the days that things go well, and remember that each morning is a brand new canvas waiting for you to create a beautiful masterpiece.

S-Speak up. “Fine. Nothing.” Our perfect, practiced, mechanical response to ‘how’s it going’ and ‘what do you need?’ We spend so much time pretending to be invincible that we have forgotten how to be vulnerable. Tell your husband how you need him to love you. Tell those around you how they can really help you. Then for goodness sake, let them.

K-Kick negativity to the curb. Negativity is toxic to your soul and your marriage. Surround yourself with people and places that speak encouragement and positivity into your life. Remove negative influences with a quickness, like yesterday. The overflow of your heart will be exactly what you pour in. Negativity or positivity? It’s your choice.

You are beautiful. Capable. Strong. Selfless. Amazing. 

You take care of families, jobs, pets, homes all while your partner is hundreds of miles away. You spend your life making sure everyone else has their oxygen masks securely fastened. However, it’s time you secured your mask first and, for the first time in a long time, breathed. 

You. Deserve. It.

I love you, aviation family.

Tailwinds.

~Angelia (a fellow pilot wife)

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Until Death Do Us Part

Time is to marriage as running water is to a mountain.

It doesn’t stop for anyone or anything and can slowly but surely, almost imperceptibly, chisel away at the tiniest cracks in the foundation until they widen and become insurmountable chasms. Over time, it can destroy the tallest mountain, create gaping canyons, and alter the landscape until it is virtually unrecognizable.

Time is to marriage as running water is to a mountain.

It doesn’t stop for anyone or anything and can slowly but surely, almost imperceptibly, chisel away at the tiniest cracks in the foundation until they widen and become insurmountable chasms. Over time, it can destroy the tallest mountain, create gaping canyons, and alter the landscape until it is virtually unrecognizable.

Nearly fifteen years ago, my husband and I stood on Madeira Beach in Florida, the waves lapping lazily at the shore before rushing back out to the waiting gulf, the sand warm between our bare toes, the future as vast and full of hope as the dancing sea. The date was April 6, 2002.

On that long ago morning, a page in our story was turned; he became my husband, and I his wife. We spoke two little, giant words—‘I do.’ Not an empty, temporary promise, but a forever covenant between man and wife avowed before friends, family, and God.

For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. Until death do us part.

Take a long moment to ponder the full depths of that beautiful, timeless promise…

Just, wow.

Like any marriage, we have experienced seasons of plenty and seasons of struggle. We have endured moments of great joy and moments of great sorrow. We have watched life enter this world— And leave it.

Together.

There is a lot of life wrapped up in fifteen years—a lot of running water. It is a long time to love only one man, one woman—impossible really, and becoming more and more implausible in a society that glorifies the easy road.

Because, quite frankly, sometimes leaving would be easier than staying.

We have not always liked one another, but we have always chosen to love one another. Love is worth fighting for. He is mine, and I am his, and letting go is not an option. Ever.

It simply can’t be, because once you embrace even the remote flicker of possibility of goodbye, it will fester and spread until the once unthinkable becomes the inevitable. Time will chip away at your foundation until one day you wake up and find yourself staring at the man or woman you once loved across an impassable chasm, and you won’t recognize them anymore.

However, the erosion of time is escapable. You can fight the hands of the clock and refuse to allow them to chip away at your vows. There is hope for marriage. Don’t let the world tell you differently.

Don’t wait for the developing cracks to widen into chasms before dealing with them. You must fill the cracks with mortar as soon as they appear.

Great marriages require intentionality, selflessness, and constant forgiveness. We must deal with issues as they arise. We must choose to love one another in action even in seasons when we don’t like one another in emotion.

Remember it’s not worth winning those small battles if it means losing the war–your marriage.

Because until death do us part. 

My pilot and I are living proof that two imperfect, flawed people can defy the hands of time. We have walked through the raging fires and came out on the other side still holding hands. We have shared fifteen amazing years of life together, growing stronger with every year, defying the inevitable tick, tick, tick of the clock.

Because intentional, selfless love is the mortar that defies the waters of time. Love wins.

Today I sit in awe and wonder of the last incredible one and a half decades of my life, and I sit in eager anticipation of the next decade and a half.

I am so thankful that my husband came into my life. I am thankful that neither of us chose to walk away when the going got tough–heaven knows there have been plenty of opportunities.

I am thankful we fully embraced the longevity of the vow we made at the alter, opting to fight for it even when it seemed insurmountable obstacles blocked the path to our forever.

I am thankful that we picked the narrow path, choosing time after time to love beyond the borders of individual ‘me’ for the sake of the whole ‘us.’

I pray for your marriages today and always. I hope that you surround yourselves with positive, encouraging influences. I hope that you choose a better path, the narrow path, even when it’s the harder path. I hope that you find the courage to love each other when you don’t like each other, the strength to fight for your marriage when it’s hard, and the desire to stay even when it’s easier to go.

I love you, aviation family.

Tailwinds.

~Angelia (a fellow pilot wife)

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