My Precious

Jeff in UniformI am a big fan of the Lord of the Rings movies. I am not afraid to admit (now that it is many years past) that I actually risked a very good job to go to the showing of the entire trilogy at a local movie theater. I walked out of work in the morning and hoped no one would notice that I was gone the rest of the day. It worked. I went with my husband to see the full 9+ hours of the LOTR movies on the big screen. The experience was amazing and (in the hindsight light of the fact that I did not lose my job) was worth the worth the risk.

Many people do not realize that a very large theme of the LOTR trilogy (books or movie) is about what is precious to people. Every character in the series is faced with dealing with what is precious to them and the trials that prove that what is precious is worth the cost. Rings, love, friendship, family, country and community. These things are precious to the characters and the series is based on examining these concepts. Gollum even refers to what is precious to him by this very word. The Ring is his Precious. He would go to the ends of the world, kill and even eventually die for it.

I am faced with my own trial of precious these days. Tomorrow, I will walk into a military building with my husband and I will walk out without him. For the next 2 months, I will only have minimal contact with him, basically whatever a drill sergeant deems necessary, which I am told is not much.

Tomorrow, when many of you are reading this, I will be releasing what is precious to me. And I am given something precious in return. I am given the rare opportunity to examine my life and all that is precious in it. I can understand just how very precious these things are, without the painfully messy divorce papers or horrific loss of a loved one’s life that normally comes with this kind of situation.

While it may seem trite, my husband and I have what I have always thought of as the rare and elusive true love. We adore, idolize and desire each other, even after 12 years of being together. Life without the other is unimaginable. For god sakes, we still talk the sickeningly sweet, cutsie baby talk to each other.

But in true Holiday Golightly and butterfly fashion, we are separating because dreams should be followed and love does return when it is real.

When it comes to what is precious to me, as you may have surmised, there is my husband. My children are precious as well. All of which I have given much thought to lately, thankful that I have them, but now more keenly aware that in a heartbeat they could be gone.

Then there is my gardening. It is also precious to me, though in a different way. It is my escape and solace. Right now, I have more seedlings growing than I know what I will do with. I just keep packing cups with dirt and shoving seeds into them. One after another, like it will make a difference that I bring tiny lives to life while mine gets turned upside down. And maybe it does make a difference. Doing, not thinking, is a very precious thing about gardening.

J.R. Tolkien also made big of gardening in his books, considering that one of his main characters was a gardener. Hobbits were people of the earth, and plants were precious to them, maybe for reasons why it is precious to me. Gardening reminds us that we have power over our world, no matter how small and powerless we are or feel. It is a precious thing to know that you can bring food to the table, joy to the heart and life to the world in spite of everything the world can throw at us.

22 thoughts on “My Precious
  1. Teresa on

    Hi Hanna,

    I came across your blog while looking for gardening info. Your post touched me. I am a Army wife and you made me remember the day, many years ago that I took my husband to the airport to report to basic training. We would never have thought it at the time but he made a career of the Army and has over 21 years in now. We had been married a few years and already had one child when he joined up. I too am alone right now, he’s deployed for the 3rd time to Iraq. No one understands “precious” more than a military wife. So if you ever need to vent or need a shoulder to cry on or have any questions….feel free to let me know.


  2. I just found your blog and love it. My heart goes out to you about your hubby – my husband is retired Air Force and I understand the difficulty of separation but we’re so proud of them. I’m also in OH and can’t wait to get out and dig in the dirt! Cheers! Linda


  3. Karen in OH on

    My heart goes out to you. I live in Cleveland as well and this dreary, snowy weather over the next few days hopefully isn’t impacting your mood too much. I think it is so wonderful that you can allow your husband to live out his dream, even though you know how difficult it will be for you. You both are in my thoughts.


  4. Hanna, what a deeply thoughtful, and poignant blog. I will be thinking of and praying for you and your family during this separation.

    You might just have the most prolific, lively garden ever – this summer – and all because of a need to keep doing. I totally understand that feeling, been there a time or two myself.

    Blessings on you and yours.



  5. Congratulations to your husband for following his dreams. Not many people have the courage to change their life in such a drastic fashion. And that goes for you, too. Supporting him in this decision is truly a selfless act, which shows how much you love him more than any words can express.


  6. Jackie H on

    As an ex (as in tour of duty over) Air Force wife, I can totally remember the day we took my then fiance` to the Pittsburgh recruiting office. It takes a special strong woman to be a military wife, we wear pride big, yet quietly. We know the risks, and we support them anyway. Good luck to your precious husband, he looks snappy in his fatigues! Good luck to you and the family too, hang in there, live for those moments! There are many many of us supporting you, we’ve been there, WE KNOW.


  7. divya on

    Hanna, you are very brave, thank you for such a heartfelt post and I wish you all the comfort in the world during this time. I wanted to also thank you for that CNN article. It’s nice to know there are other couples out there who feel so deeply and strongly for each other, and feel it growing every day. We even also do the babytalk (though we won’t admit it)! Most of what I’ve heard about love is that the notion of it lasting a lifetime is just a romantic dream, and that it generally fades into familiarity. But my experience has lead me to believe that the dream is possible for the very very lucky; I’m glad the article makes it official.


  8. My opinion, when it comes to staying in love, is that you don’t even have to be the extremely lucky – just the extremely dedicated. Love takes 100% input from both parties, and a determined attitude to never give up…even a firm can’t be broken – kind of deterrmination. There is nothing two people face – that they can’t work out. That and a little “babytalk”! 🙂


  9. jen on

    beautiful post, I love your site and am a frequent visitor. I came on a blustery day in NC looking for some gardeny reading and found something that was tender and warm and touching. thanks


  10. I thought your post was touching. It’s nice to see folks as much in love today as they were yesterday, no matter how long of a time is between today and yesterday. I hope all goes well for you and your husband. Hopefully playing in the dirt will keep your mind occupied a little.


  11. Grey on

    I’ll probably be reamed for this, and if I am well, that shows insecurity not in what I write, but how others perceive it.

    I personally could not do what you’re doing. If my true love felt a need to serve his country, he could find a way to do it that wouldn’t risk his life in such an extreme way, risk loosing that love, risk loosing the children’s father. Not out of fear (although of course there is that) but responsibility to what you HAVE. I never really could understand people who would start up families, and then rend them apart at a point where they should be building up together.

    It’s all about choices, and your husband and yourself have chosen to do this, and I am NOT saying that it’s wrong to do, just that I honestly can’t understand WHY this is a good thing to do. I understand the need to protect the family, to serve others and bring something just…Better into this world, but I can’t quite grasp how joining the military accomplishes all that, especially when there’s already a family set up, and a dire need for stability (especially during these times).

    Again, I’m not slamming you, or your husband. I have loads of family in the military, and have friends that have served as well.


  12. Hanna on

    Thanks to all of you for your kind thoughts. I do appreciate them.

    Grey – Whether you like it or not, you are slamming me and mine. Not really all that cool, but whatever…

    I look at it like this, those who are career military leave their families too. Are they bad people because of that? Should they quit or give up having kids simply because of a job choice? I have plenty of friends who are single moms and dads due to divorce. They tore their familes apart because they were not happy.

    I’m sorry, but the whole “how could you do that to your kids” thing doesn’t fly with me. Lots of people do exactly this except permenantly through divorce and nobody goes after them for it. My husband will be coming back to his kids, and he is doing something he believes in, which teaches them that they should do the same. It is a lesson I wish more people would learn.


  13. Hi Hanna,
    God Bless you, Jeff and your beautiful children. Hopefully the next few months will not seem like ages for you but how do we ever want the gardening season to go by quickly. These months of not being out in the dirt and mud seem to never end. You will be in our thoughts a lot, added to our other nephew who is on his second tour of duty in Iraq. Don’t forget, do not hesitate to call Uncle John or I if we can be of any help to you. Take care.


  14. Grey on

    Ah, but I also think that people who make messy divorces are doing something bad to their kids, moreso than the military thing actually. Ideally, people wouldn’t have children when they aren’t sure if they’re really for each other, I know plenty of people who had a baby because they thought it would bring them together, when anyone with a lick of sense would know that babies are HARD, and add stress not alleviate it.

    I really do understand striving for your dreams, but…Let me put it this way, if someone’s dream was to be a stunt driver, something that had a high risk of death, I’d think they weren’t doing their family any favors either. There’s a time when you follow your dreams, and times when you modify them to accommodate those you love so you don’t hurt them. If your dream wins out over your family, instead of involving them in it, then maybe the family should have come once you got your dream out of the way.

    Sorry you feel like I was slamming you, after all I DO believe it’s your choice, and your husband’s. It’s not one I would make, but I’m about to pass a law that says people can’t decide to do that. It’s just not a choice that I could make, and I have no ill wishes towards your family.


  15. Hanna on

    “If your dream wins out over your family, instead of involving them in it, then maybe the family should have come once you got your dream out of the way.”

    Who said we are not involved? This was just a necessary and temporary step in the process. Plenty of people pursue their dreams at the expense of their families and mostly with their families blessing.

    Top of mind is President Obama. There is no doubt that his family has given up much for him to follow his dream. How often do you think he gets to see his kids these days? And what do you think those Secret Service people are for? They are not for decoration. But I am fairly certain that neither his wife nor his kids would want it any other way.

    Dreams don’t stop when you have kids. And sometimes, following dreams are a little painful. Sacrifice is why most people don’t follow their dreams. If he wanted to become a stunt man, more power to him. Stunt men have kids too, and Evil Knievel’s son follows proudly in his father’s footsteps.

    By your logic, no one should do what they believe in if it is dangerous and they may have children sometime in the future. All military people should give up their careers the instant they find out they would be parents. We would have a pretty spare military if that were the case.

    So, my husband started after the kids were here. Is it any different whether you get deployed if you had kids before or after you joined? I don’t think so. Mom or dad still has to go and do their jobs. Kids still get left behind and amazingly enough, every military family I know of, the kids were just fine and damn proud of their parents.

    I know you say it is my choice and you are not trying to slam me, but you came into my space and you said what you said. I didn’t ask your opinion on the subject. And I know, I put it on the internet so don’t think that I don’t expect comments like yours, but really… I think you failed to read rule #4 above. I highly doubt you would have said anything like that to my face. Thought it, told other people you thought it, I am sure, but I doubt you would have said it to me in person. Clue, the minute you say “I don’t mean to insult you…” or any other derivative, you will be doing just that.


  16. Teresa on

    Hannah…Grey is quite naive…if no one wanted to take risks, who would ever get to follow their dreams? Who would do the hard jobs or the ones that take them away from loved ones? Who would be the doctors, they spend hours and days not able to see their families….What about the business men that travel for their jobs or just spend hours commuting in the same ol’ rat race everyday…how many of them really love what they do or do they do it just to support their families but somewhat at the families expense as well? Being in the military is not a constant separation. Only certain times; going to schools or training and occasional deployments. The months and weeks do go by quickly especially if you keep busy ~ and gardening and kids will keep you busy. We use a webcam this time which really helps my hubby. I know yours being at basic won’t have that luxury but writing letters and sending cards and drawings and the calls when he has a chance will be something to look forward to.


  17. Wow, I really feel for you with your Husband going off to the Army. Prayers for you and your family. I have followed your blog for a long time and I really enjoy it, even though I don’t comment often. I live about 45 minutes East of Cleveland. 🙂


  18. Chriss on

    I know I’m a little late in this post, but do not let other’s negativity get you down. My father is STILL active duty in the Air Force, and has done many seperate tours to the middle east during his career. What I’m trying to say is, I am very proud of him. It was a very tough decision for him to make (he has told me that), but it was the RIGHT thing for our family. It is so very important to follow your dreams, kids or not. If you have a strong and loving family, then they will all share that hope that your dreams will be fulfilled.
    Continue to be proud of your husband. Pardon my language, but it takes a mighty set of balls to do what he’s doing. Never let the nae-sayers get to you. You know that what he is doing is right, and this is not their situation to judge.

    Good Luck and a wonderful, hopeful life to you,



  19. Camilla on

    I come late to these conversations, but my brother is in the reserve duty, so I understand (albeit, several levels removed) how you are coming at this. Hanna- you put your heart out for public consumption with your posts. I give you (and your family)huge props for doing what you’re doing, and carrying on- but you cant expect that all will support what you’re doing 100%…sustaining the world with gardening is a common denominator— bringing together those of varying viewpoints – and this is a forum for that discussion that takes us away from those conflicts. Let’s come together and not further divide, ok? I’m in PGH, so we share “zone challenges” – I’ll keep reading from a distance. Hold steady- ok? Best, c


  20. “I walked out of work in the morning and hoped no one would notice that I was gone the rest of the day. It worked. ”

    — I have sooo wanted to do that before but never been brave enough to feel I cold pull it off. how fun.

    God bless your brave husband. I pray he will be guided.

    I love what you wrote about your love. That is rare indeed. Enjoy.


  21. Boromir on

    What an interesting and personal angle on the Lord of the Rings concept. We have had our own trilogy marathons here, usually on Sundays, and by the time Frodo and Sam are making their way up Mount Mordor, we’re all about ready to fall into comas… and yet it’s still so satisfying. A great story. The One Ring from the Lord of the Rings trilogy is a pretty apt metaphor for all things precious, and how obsession can sometimes drag us into the dark side.

    Good luck and best wishes.


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