(Almost) 7 Month Update – Pilot Post

Hi, everyone. I’m helping Gina out on the family page while she enjoys some quality time with Olivia.

Me and liv 2

I hope your week’s moving along quickly. Things have obviously been busy around our house – I can’t believe that Livi’s already almost 7 months old. It seems like just hours ago when I was changing diaper number 1 or, the more pleasant memory, when she fell asleep in my arms for the first time.

Livi and dad

In the months before her birth, I thought a lot about how our lives would change as we adjusted to the daunting role of parenthood. I wondered if I would see work in a different light given the inherent risks associated with the job. My biggest concern; however, was and still is one that’s probably shared by 99% of parents out there, “How do I raise a Livi the right way?”

Overall, I’ve gotta say that while taking care of the little “nuggette” has been a kick in the pants, we’ve adapted to it with, what I feel, is the highest level of comfort that I could’ve expected. Yes, I know I’m the dad saying that, and I’ll be the first to admit the Gina has the lion’s share of quality Olivia time (and therefore, feedings, diaper changes, etc.), but I try to help her out in everyway I think possible which has hopefully eased our transition from Pilot and Fitnessista to mom and dad. Establishing a routine and role for ourselves was key to managing what can be only be described, at times, as chaos. By the way, if you don’t feel some truth in that description, then bottle up your parenting techniques, develop a means of getting it to the masses, then rake in the huge profits (or continue enjoying the gentle embrace of your state-issued straightjacket) because things can definitely get pretty hectic. I think that any advice for soon-to-be parents that accurately conveys the incredible, immeasurable happiness that comes with have a child should also include a polite warning about the potential of a red nightmare (we jokingly say) filled with near-sleepless weeks (well, maybe not in so many words). You get the idea. Do your friend a solid – my bros told me about the initial work and it helped…a little.

Of course, I found one of the other pieces of advice I received to be true as well, “Everyday gets better.” Don’t get me wrong, the first month or so was tough but it wasn’t anything we or anybody else couldn’t handle. We were blessed with a healthy baby and we couldn’t be more thankful – even when she was wailing into my ear at 3:00 A.M ;) Everyday I love her more than the last. The little landmarks tug the heartstrings the most, like when she was first able to sit up on her own, and she just sat there making the “raspberry” noise with her lips. First, I couldn’t believe she was sitting up, then I laughed because she scrunched her face in a serious attempt to make that hilarious noise. Anyway, we would’ve dealt with the 3 A.M. scream sessions for as long as it took, but I’m glad she moved on and that she’s growing up (sometimes a little too quickly for my liking).

For the work stuff, I haven’t changed my attitude towards any of that too much. Like every pilot I know, I always strive to fly safely, within the regulations that govern what we do, so making a conservative call during a peace-time mission is something that already happens. I would endeavor to do the same thing in combat, but there are times when we have to stick our necks out there a little more to keep guys (and gals) on the ground alive, and I couldn’t face Livi if I was ever overly conservative to protect my life in a situation where a soldier didn’t come home to their family. That’s not how I do things, and I hope she’s sees the principle behind that.

So, that brings me to the last part about which I could write volumes: raising her to be smart, confident, healthy, wise, kind etc. I’d like to think that I have a decent idea of what kind of world we live in. I’ve seen some pretty terrible acts of man, and some things that restore that faith back in humanity. I know it’s not perfect out there, but I believe that if I can teach her to always search out knowledge and that the most important thing in this world is love, she’ll have a solid chance of living a good life.

Dad with liv

How hard can that be? Right, I’m pretty sure things’ll be a tad more complicated. Fortunately, I have an incredible partner and amazing family to give Olivia all the love and support she can handle along the way. Thanks for taking your time to catch up on here.

Have a good rest of your day.

Cheers,

Tom

Last Pilot guest post: Pilot becomes dad- my side of the birth

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Comments

  1. Baby Olivia is so lucky to have two loving parents! Keep up the good work you guys :)

  2. Aw, this is really sweet! Thanks for the fun post :)

  3. Such sweet sentiments. I can tell that Olivia has been the greatest blessing in your lives from the way you and Gina talk about her!

  4. Beautiful post. As a Mom with a son currently deployed in Afghanistan on the ground, I appreciate your words :) Thank you.

    Olivia is a lucky little lady to have both of you <3

  5. Yep. I’m tearing up over here! Way to go, Pilot! I love hearing things from your perspective. Your little Livi is about as adorable as they come, holy smokes!

  6. I was hoping we’d see a Pilot post soon! I adore hearing things from your perspective. She’s so very pensive in that last photo!

  7. Elizabeth M. says:

    Olivia is one lucky girl to have the two of you!

  8. Beautiful post!

  9. Beautifully written, it’s nice to know how Dad feels about things. Olivia is so fortunate to have great parents and such a loving extended family.

  10. Melt My Heart!

  11. You got a great one :)

  12. Love when the Pilot posts!! It’s so nice to hear things from a guy perspective, too. Livi is such a lucky little girl to have two amazing parents.

  13. Tearing up over here!! What a wonderful post in every way. Gina and the pilot you both are amazing parents!

  14. erm…that was lovely! You are also a very good writer – I would read a book about the memoirs of an airforce Dad and all the complications that brings…a kind of parenting manual based on your experiences! It would be fab!

  15. Such a sweet post!!! I love it!

  16. Wow. Just wow. What a beautiful post, and lovely to get it from daddy’s perspective :) You two are going to make a wonderful little person out of Livi :) xxx

  17. Awwww…. you both are incredible! Absolutely amazing and beautiful post. You both give me so much joy in the expectation of having my own child. I hope that my husband and I will set the same example and show as much love, patience, and happiness in our future family as both you and Gina show towards Livi.

  18. Christina says:

    Olivia was blessed with a wonderful Dad. Makes me miss mine so much! Also, thank you for your service.

  19. It was so great to read another guest post by the Pilot! I’ve been interested to hear his perspective on things since we hadn’t in a while, thanks for taking the time to share!
    It is so sweet what a great father he is to Liv! You guys are a such a great team.

  20. Hello, Pilot!

    Just a note of encouragement from an Air Force (bomber navigator’s) daughter….going on almost 30 years of personal experience….we do understand when our dads have to go on night missions and we have to play very quietly all afternoon so they can get crew rest, when they’re gone for weeks on TDY, when they’re away on alert even if they’re just across base, and when we have to keep picking up and saying goodbye to our friends with every PCS…I won’t say it was easy, or that I *understood* it at the time, but I understand it now and I’m glad I had the experience of growing up among those who were serving the nation.

    I won’t say my mom appreciated my dad being gone on TDY for the entire 17 days I had the chicken pox at age 5…but now we look back on it and can at least laugh about it.

    Or the multiple times he was sent to Hawaii or Las Vegas while we were suffering through a Dakotan winter…that just seemed cruel…to us…. :D

    All I can say is, try to make time to make up for what you think you miss out on — except when he was away on TDY, Saturday morning was always Dad’s Morning, and we always made muffins or got doughnuts for breakfast so my mom could sleep in and get up when the food was ready. To this day, getting up earlier than the rest of our families on the weekend or on a special day and getting breakfast and hot coffee ready is something of an in-joke with us, a quiet, voiceless way of appreciating each other. We also went stargazing and to pre-dawn hot air balloon illuminations….Whatever you do to spend time with her, she will appreciate as she grows up that you took that time to dedicate to just her, and won’t mind so much that work sometimes takes you away.

    • Those are really encouraging words. There’s always some degree of guilt associated w/ any TDY or deployment when we leave family to deal w/ the numerous things that inevitably go wrong. I always do something special for us when I get back (maybe for now on, I should just watch Liv for a while her mom has some downtime). You guys had a great ritual growing up on Dad’s Morning. That’s kind of how it works at our house since Gina works on Saturday (and I’m home w/ Olivia).

  21. Stephanie says:

    Ah! Teared up reading this. So sweet and Olivia is so lucky to have 2 awesome parents that love her so much! <3

  22. Brittany says:

    Hi Tom. I was wondering, as a civilian and having my dad work a 9-5 job I never had the “military structure” at home growing up. Of course I had boundaries and my parents didn’t just let us run wiled but we did get away with a lot. Do you think military kids are more respectful to others then civilian kids? What kinds of values as far as respecting others do you want to teach Olivia? Will this reflect your childhood?

    • Hey Brittany,

      I think that because our adherence to rank structure is so ingrained in military professional relationships that service members tend to emphasize those at ideals at home in the form of respect for adults. Military folks get good at fostering that behavior at work b/c we can’t motivate people w/ financial, or other, incentives to get a job done (i.e. an army sergreant doesn’t convince his subordiante to attack a machine gun nest w/ stock options…that level of leadership motivates strictly by influening behavior). However, I’m willing to be that parents of any profession can be just as likely to push the importance of respect even w/out working w/ a clear chain of command.

      I think we’ll teach Liv the Golden Rule as a start.. Can’t go wrong w/ that! Hopefully, she’ll see it consistantly through Gina and I’s actions. I’m sure some part of that stuck w/ me b/c when my folks split when I was in 5th grade, my mom (who primarily raised my sis and I) let me pretty much run on auto pilot as I got older and I think I turned out alright.

      • Brittany says:

        Absolutely. Military kids (from what I have seen) tend to have a different view of respect to older people. It also depends on where you live I think. My nephew who is 2 will already say Yes maam to my sister in law and they live in the south. in the north that is an insult to a woman. It all depends on the family too. Thank you for responding to my comment. You and Gina are awesome parents and Olivia is so lucky to have you both as her mom and dad. Thank you for being so supportive of Gina sharing your lives with everyone. Because of her and her example, I was able to loose 7 pounds and counting!

  23. The pics of you two are so sweet – fatherhood clearly agrees with you!

  24. Dear Pilot, you are a wonderful, wonderful man. I hope the father of my child can be at least half the amazing father you are.

  25. LOVED this. My sister recently married a Marine and the more that I learn about how servicemen/women think, the more I am in awe of the sacrifices that they make and the way that they think of others as more important than themselves. Thanks for sharing yourself and your family with our country, and thank you for sharing this post.

  26. Kimberly says:

    What a lucky little girl!

  27. Sounds like you have the perfect formula and you are doing it just right :). Everyone always says to us, “Olivia, is so sweet, and gentle.” Then my Mom pointed out that my spouse and I are very sweet to each other.. actions speak louder than words.. and a environment that embraces knowledge and love is the best one you can give.

  28. Love this! Love to hear your side of the story :D

  29. Such a sweet post! That baby girl is so lucky to have such a great team raising her. We have a 3 month old little guy and I can’t believe how much more we love each other now after working so hard together these last few months. We’re able to laugh more than anything at the sleep deprivation, the diaper blow-outs, the screams (which are suddenly SO MUCH LOUDER) and we’re grateful each day for all the new developments he makes. How delightful to have a partner to share these days who is such an equal is care taking. Although, I am surprised at how specific the roles of Mom & Dad are – they each fulfill different needs for the babes, don’t they. Continued love & happiness for you all…

  30. love this post! Always fun to see parenting from the dad’s side ;) Hi Tom!

  31. So nicely written! I think Mr Pilot/Dad/Husband should add ‘Philosopher’ to the resume.

  32. Pilot, you are an amazing human being.

  33. Christina R says:

    this post is the sweetest thing… olivia is extremely lucky to have amazing parents like you two :)

  34. I may or may not be crying a little…

  35. Cheesy at it may be but seriously.. all I can say is awww!

  36. As a military spouse, with a husband in combat, the Pilot words of his work melted my heart. You often think that the guy standing next to your spouse (or in the air next to them) has their back. You pray for it, you pray that it’s really a “Band of Brotherhood.” But you really never know. You worry. You lose sleep and you spend a lot of time with the Lord. But this post has given me a little less weight on my shoulders, even if for only a moment.

    • Sleep easy, Donna. Those bonds are really there; and in that environment, they can be stronger than those between siblings. And as Close Air Support pilots, we take a huge, personal responsibility in taking care of those guys; whether that means hanging out at 15,000 ft at night so they can sleep easy or running in at 100 ft just to draw fire. We’d never let them down.

  37. What a lovely post!!! She has such great parents…

  38. So sweet! Love hearing the dad’s perspective on bringing up their little girls :)

  39. Beautiful post! I could truly feel the emotion in this. :)

  40. what an incredibly sweet post! <3

  41. Ahhhh, this brought tears to my eyes Tom! As always, thanks for serving our Country!

  42. Beautiful post Pilot!!!

  43. She is definitely a lucky baby with amazing parents like this!

  44. theorist says:

    awesome post! so honest! love it.

  45. R.E.S.P.E.C.T to you pilot and Gina – me and my hubby both work in some pretty dodgy parts of the world and I always used to worry when we left each other, but the stress has certainly escalated since our son was born 5 months ago, to the point where I feel quite guilty about whether we’re doing the right thing by not quitting our jobs. Reading your post has cemented the perspective I always tried to maintain by thinking of those in the armed forces & how much more difficult that would be for all involved; there are some pretty horrific things out there and hopefully our kids will pick up on the good stuff we need to remind ourselves of in order to continue!

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