Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Baby Story Chapter Five

The next couple of months went as smoothly as could be expected. One thing we had realized rather quickly was that the United States Military does not like surprises. And boy were we dropping surprises on them. Not only was Grace pregnant, but we were getting married and she was getting out. Combine all the above with a PCS to Japan--well, you get the picture.

We started getting really excited at the prospect of having a little boy. Because, you see, new parents (or at least Grace and I) are pretty adept at predicting the sex of their first baby. We did all the little tests and Chinese prediction calanders we could get our hands on. I went and bought a little football. We came up with about 150 names for little boys, and one for a little girl ("Sarah," just in case...). Even Grace's friends started looking for little boy's clothing. My Mom cut a picture out of a magazine of a little baby boy and put it on the refrigerator at home. And the little guy on the ultrasound even looked like a boy. We were set.

As the days ticked by to my departure date, we started getting a little worried about the wedding plans. First, the preiest that we had coordinated with to try to get a church wedding done was swamped by being the only Catholic chaplain to service the entire central Germany US Military Corps. Not good. Couple this with an extremely inflexible schedule and we quickly saw the prospects of a church wedding dwindling. It broke our hearts to finally come to that decision, as it was really the only exciting/happy event we had left in Germany. But as I mentioned before, we had to prioritize pretty much everything—and with the time we had left the church wedding went from near the bottom, to last, to gone. We made plans to have one eventually—someday…

So, we had to make do. With the loss of the church wedding, we resigned ourselves to the fact that the paperwork wedding was going to be it. I’ve already told you about all the red tape we had to go through to get to it. Finally, on January 29, 1999, we made it to the big day. Grace got dressed up for the occasion and looked as beautiful as I’ve ever seen her. I, on the other hand, had to go to work shortly after the ceremony. So—in typical Chris fashion, I was married in my flight suit. In retrospect it seems kinda cool, but deep in my heart I wish I had had the time, resources, and wearwithal to manage to get dressed up in a nice coat and tie at least. A big German woman who was exceptionally nice for a German but smelled of cigarette smoke read us a canned set of vows, told us to exchange rings, and sent us on our way. Keep in mind, we at this point were still planning on having the wedding to end all weddings once we made it back to the U.S. And I figured that when I got picked up for fighters, leaving the States again wouldn’t be a factor, and we’d have all the time in the world to plan for it.

As we neared the end of my tour in Germany, a couple of celebrations had to take place. First was a baby shower/wedding shower/going away party/houswarming-for-the-future-party for Grace. I did my best to make this a surprise, and Grace's friends did the same. Unfortunately, Grace was a little perceptive as usual, and rather than just go along with it she had to be literallt dragged up the stairs and into the party. After all was said and done, she had a good time, but it simply added onto our pile of stuff to bring with us over the next 6 months. Still, Grace recieved quite a pile of neat things (most of which I had no idea the use for at the time), which we would wear out once the baby came along.

Next were my final flights in the C-9. One of which I had managed to get Grace to go Space-Available on to Turkey. We had a great time, but Grace was rapidly beginning to feel sicker with each passing day of the first trimester. Combine that with the most miserable medical crew I’ve ever flown with, and you have a not-so-pleasant flight. Still, Grace got to go with me, which was fun. The last one, my “fini-flight” was flown towards the end of January as I was getting ready to leave. By this time I had told everyone at work the whole story, and if they didn’t know Grace before, they did now. So, it was easy to have my new wife taxi me in for my last full stop. I jumped off and was immediately soaked down from head to tow with champagne. And so ended my C-9 career.

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