The long holiday weekend starts tonight after final formation and there will...
Fairy Tale by Jennie
This isn’t a love story so don’t get your panties in a bunch.
This is also not a fairy tale. This is a story about survival. The rest of it just kind of happened…
I’ve always considered myself a proud American. I was taught to respect the flag and what it stands for. Support all those that defend it. Honor the fallen, never forget the sacrifices that were made. Always hold the importance of freedom paramount. America is the greatest country in the history of the world. Some call it old school, traditional, even right-wing. It is that. And more.
I’ll admit it. I’m an effin’ girl on some things. One of those things happens to be a man in uniform. It isn’t a cliché or a lie when we say this. All women feel this to some degree or another. If not, they’re hippies, they don’t deserve your manly awesome-ness, and you don’t want that on your junk anyway. We all have our preferences as well, as to which dress uniform color really turns our crank. Don’t believe me? Ask. If nothing else, you’ve got a great pick-up line now.
Years ago, a Marine friend tagged my desk at work with the quote, “and though she be but little, she is fierce.” by Billy Shakespeare. Fierce. Yeah. I own that. I’m a working mom with two firecracker kids that I’d give my life for without even taking a breath first. Family and friends are the same way, just with Pendleton whiskey instead of a juice box. I work for a government agency and my job is to prevent Academia (Hippies) from wasting too much money on crap they don’t need or just to keep them from generally fucking-off with the taxpayer’s dollar. I’m REALLY good at it. I’m called the AuditAxe, Nerd-Herder or the MoneyBitch. Again, I OWN the fierce, in everything I do.
Enter the United States Rangers. Or, one of them at least. Having knowledge of OPSEC regs, we will further refer to him as “Captain Ginger”. Call him on it, I dare you.
Captain Ginger’s first approach to me was filled with flattery, detailed compliments and sweet words. He spoke of his military career briefly, with few specifics. OPSEC, of course.
OK, fine. Dead sexy military guy? You have my attention. (See previous discussion on uniforms-are-panty-dropping-weapons.) Now let’s see what you’re made of.
The following is my moderately accurate recollection of the discussion. Please know that this wasn’t done to be mean, just who I am.
I had a truly genuine smile and thanked him for the flattery and each one of his compliments. Then I proceeded to let him have it with 5’2’’ of Scotch-Irish sass.
“So is this your way of casting out a line? What then? You try and set the hook on any woman that actually nibbles? If so, I’m not the girl for you. I don’t need saved. I don’t need rescued. I have my shit in a moderately small pile. My kids and I are a pretty self contained unit. I’m not looking for someone that is in the right place at the right time, I’m looking for the right one. Old fashioned? Maybe a bit. Oh well.”
I then thanked him profusely for his service. I explained how much I respect his dedication and sacrifice. I let him know that I couldn’t possibly explain how much his honor means to me. I thanked him for being the Hero that my son wants to grow up to be. I asked him to please be safe and take care. I apologized if I came across as harsh, thanked him again for his sweet words and wished him well. This is where I thought it would end.
Yeah, no. Did I mention he’s a Ranger?
You all know the phrase “We will not tire. We will not falter. We will not fail.” He did not do any of those things. You could even go so far as to say he did “Ranger Up”. He never backed down. Quite the opposite, Captain Ginger came back, with a smile even. He not only took my hits in stride, he saw it as a challenge, maybe even attracted him more. He didn’t hesitate, stepped up, disarmed me and pretty much took control of the situation. Because well, that’s what Rangers do.
Flash forward to April- I’m online looking up Ranger info for my son. He has always been obsessed with anything military and has developed a great relationship with Captain Ginger and now wants to be a Ranger, a West Point grad, and every other cool thing 9 year old boys dream of. As I’m looking up the Ranger Creed, I’m also chatting online with my friend TL, stationed in Tikrit. I was having a rare Girly moment and whining/bitching about the fact that the Captain’s deployment had been extended, throwing the ever-present DOD monkey wrench into wedding discussions. His return date had been moved from June to Oc-fucking-tober.
JM – “A Ranger? I had to fall for an effin’ Ranger? Fuck, what was I thinking.”
TL – “It’s love, jack-ass. There is no thinking involved. Suck it up. He wants to marry you so you’d better start acting like a Captain’s wife, for Chrissake. He’s not with you because you’re a delicate princess.”
JM – (reading out loud) “ranger truck, ranger baseball, ranger school, ranger up”
TL – “Yup. That’s exactly what you need to do. Ranger Up.”
JM – “What? No, it’s some website that sponsors that hot Green Beret MMA guy. What are you talking about?”
TL – “I know what it is. It’s a crazy cool site run by combat vets. And I’m talking about what you need to fuckin’ do. Ranger. Fucking. Up. You’ve got this.”
That was the first time I understood the term “Ranger Up”. And at that very moment, I knew my arsenal just got a secret fucking weapon.
- I’ve said it to friends that need to step up a bit.
- I said it to my brother when he makes a Sally-strength drink.
- I’ve said it to my daughter when I hear 5 year-old screams from the bathroom about a spider.
- I said it to my son after be blocked a lacrosse goal with the opponent’s stick right to his ribs. The fierce mom in me had to really hold back and not pound that other little bastard into the turf, though. And whatever you do, don’t start trying to mock lacrosse. It is one of the most honorable games ever. Besides, it’s played at West Point so it’s got to be tough as Hell. But that’s another story.
- I tell myself to Ranger Up. At work when I’ve had my fill of dealing with the barrage of stupidity and just need to last 15 more minutes. On the freeway, when every jackhole in a Prius pulls in front of me. At the gym, when I don’t think I can possibly do any more reps. When I feel like I’ve had it with playing both Mommie & Daddy.
The time I need it most is when the kids are in bed, emails have stopped, and I don’t have to be the strong rock for anyone else anymore. Laying in bed alone, missing his touch, his kiss. Ranger Up. Scared that the phone won’t ring, more scared that it will. Ranger Up. Wondering if… Ranger Up. Counting down to October because in December, I’ll finally become the Captain’s wife. Hells yeah! Ranger The Fuck Up!
I know why TL gave me the “Ranger Up” weapon. It’s because it is necessary for my mission. I go to the gym, but I’m no Kelly Bruno. I own guns and enjoy shooting but I’ve never had any desire to blow rounds through an M16, even though it has been recommended to me as a stress reliever. That’s not my deal. I don’t need to put my ass in the place of thousands of highly skilled Armed Service members that handle that shit just fine.
Warning – The following statement may offend any Feminists in the fray (and they can bite me).
I know my place. Yup. The fierce, sass-wielding hardass knows her place. It’s at home. Writing emails, making care packages for soldiers I’ll never meet just because it’s something I’ve always done, keeping the bills paid, the family cared for, keeping the cell phone powered on, charged and on my person at all times-just in case, supporting all of our troops always, not just on Friday or during parades, teaching my son the importance of putting the flag out every single day and what it stands for.
I’m the “other” branch. The Home branch. I am fierce. Fierce in my protection, fierce with my love. I will protect your home from the inside as you protect it from the outside. I will be at the door with open arms when you return. I will not tire. I will not falter. I will not fail. I will Ranger Up.
Even though the Hero gets the girl, I told you it wasn’t a fairy tale. Fairy tales are bullshit made up to get our kids to go to sleep so we can watch UFC without interruption. And besides, chances are pretty good your Knight in Shining Armor is nothing more than an idiot wearing tin foil.
But, sometimes your knight drives a humvee and wears a crisp green uniform and a tan beret.
If you’re lucky…and fierce.
Put that on a t-shirt, Nick.