A little over 2 years ago I met this uber friendly woman named Melissa through my Retro Restyling facebook page. Melissa loved the look of the furniture I restyled so she decided to contact me about creating some furniture for her. One chit chat led to another and she commissioned two dressers that would eventually end up being Thelma and Louise.
During the process of that commission and afterwards Melissa and I grew a friendship that was very ying and yang, but pretty awesome none-the-less. She listened to country music and loved the shabby chic kind of look and I had the retro 50's look going on and listened to metal music. Yet, even though we looked different and had different interests in music and lifestyles we still hit it off and had lots of fun together. Through the short two years that our friendship grew furniture pieces like her mirror and Romy and Michelle were born. Then she decided that she wanted a new look for her old desk that was to be a centerpiece for an Americana themed room which would display her and her husbands achievements in the military.
...here comes the sadface...
See, Melissa is a flight nurse in the Airforce and every four years she is reassigned to a new station which is typical of that branch. In the time we met she just so happened to be stationed where she grew up outside of St. Louis, but she knew a move was coming in mid 2014. Neither her nor I figured "the move" would come so soon in 2013, but Melissa happens to kick butt at her job and the higher up's noticed and offered her a promotion to be a Major..... which came with a side of "you have to move to Japan as soon as you can".
Well then.... that escalated quickly.
Needless to say I got upset. I figured I would have had a little more time with my friend and I assumed that if she was relocated I could at least visit where she was going if it was state-side. But Japan? Not so much. "Well," I said, "maybe in four years I'll be able to see you, right?" She then breaks the "I think we'll be heading to England after that." to me. UGH... Seriously???? No Melissa for 8 years?!?!? Oh my achy breaky heart!!! There's not much arguing with military processes though, so I had to bite my lip and bear it and quickly get her beautiful desk completed for her. I guess I'll have to try to win the lottery so I can travel abroad....
Then all of the sudden this happened....
I realized six pieces of Retro Restyling furniture (aka: my adopted out furniture babies) will be living in Japan.
*enter tons of anxiety*
Oh. My. God.
What if the moving company doesn't wrap the furniture well enough?
What happens if they screw them up with scratches?
Will they make it through the journey???? ACK!!!!!
*enter emotional break down*
I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry. In fact, at work on the morning I would be delivering the desk to her that evening I had a really hard time keeping it together. Not only was the exhaustion of working on the desk non-stop over the weekend and a few week days with no sleep catching up to me, the stress of the furniture making it to Japan was killing me and the icing on the "break down" cake was I was never going to see my friend again after I delivered the desk. That's a lot to deal with.
But I did my best to
not loose my sanity stay positive and I made sure to thank Melissa for her friendship by doing something unexpectedly special for her. I asked her what her seven favorite US cities were, grabbed my two atlas's and used those maps as drawer liners. The long middle drawer (the last picture above) is St. Louis. Every time she grabs a pen out of that drawer I hope she'll remember home and think about the ones who are still here loving and missing her. She loved the desk and the maps, which I knew she would, and after a few hours of hanging out and a few hugs where I felt like I didn't want to let go, I left the desk with her and said good-bye. I'd be lying if I said I didn't cry... again.
Now that I've seen first hand how hard it is on a personal level to serve our country it makes me appreciate people who serve even more. Melissa's told me heart wrenching stories of being in harms way in Afghanistan nursing the wounded. I've seen the short-term stability of her life turned upside down repeatedly by deployments state-side. She's confided in me how hard it is to establish long-term friendships because she works so hard and moves around so much... which I have confirmed first hand.... but in the end, even though it is so hard for her and the people who love her, she wouldn't have it any other way.
She loves her job. She loves serving our country. She loves America.
Thank you Melissa...
...for your unconditional friendship, for your never ending support of my business and creativity and for the personal sacrifices you have made for us and our country over the last eight years. I wish you, Pebbles and Layla, and your new husband Steve Godspeed in this next chapter of your life. Work hard, stay safe, have fun, have babies (ha!) and always remember that even though you are in the future I'll still be back here in the past thinking of you and waiting to SKYPE!!! :)