Technology is awesome! Back in the 70’s, when I first moved to California with my parents, we got letters once a month from family in Holland. Letters written on super thin, super light weight, special airmail stationary. My Oma would write small, fit as much as she could on one page, so she could send less pages. Spend less money on stamps.

Once a year, at Christmas, they would send a tape. A cassette tape. My Opa would play the piano & sing, tell me a story, and we could hear their voices over & over for the months to come. Sometimes we got phone calls. Just enough to say “Hello” before my mom would kick me off & hog those precious minutes for herself.

Today? Today I got one letter in the mail amidst all the bills. I can Skype/Facetime/Messenger call with my kids all over the world. Even better? Thanks to technology I got to watch Cole complete his first jump in Airborne school this week! Because. Dave got to be there. Which means I got to be there. I got to watch over the internet, despite being half a planet away. It is almost as good as being there. Almost.

It has been a very hard month for the Westberry’s. Especially for Dave. Especially for Cole. Cole is my kid with the most beautiful heart. He is the most loving, kindest, purest person deep inside. He has been struggling with the loss of his Papa (grandfather), compounded by “losing” all of us all over.  Leaving us behind, again, to go to airborne school was a rough transition for him. So Dave decided to postpone coming home a couple more days. Instead he flew to Ft. Benning to surprise Cole.

Cole seeing his dad after jumping. The joy is unmistakable!

Dave made it in time for Cole’s first jump. Technically he shouldn’t have, but Cole’s plane broke and his first jump was delayed two days. Perfect timing for Dave to be on the DZ (drop zone) and see him jump, land, and break rank to hug his dad. Unfortunately, it also meant that Dave is missing his actual graduation (today).

Cole is 4th generation Westberry to go airborne. Grandaddy Westberry was airborne in the pacific during WWII. Uncle Albert followed, and Dave is not just a paratrooper but also a jump master. There aren’t many 4th generation paratroopers and Dave wanted nothing more than to hammer those wings on Cole.  While I am sad he couldn’t be there today, I am so grateful he was there for Cole’s jumps this week.

I am not just proud of my newly minted paratrooper, I am also beaming with pride at Nick. Make that Private First Class Westberry! Nick got promoted in Okinawa, Japan this week. We couldn’t be there for that either but just moments after Nick sent photo’s to our family group.

It sure beats waiting a month for uber-thin letters. Without photo’s. I can’t wait till teleportation is real & I can be all the places.

Nick getting promoted in Okinawa

Dave got authorized. It helps being a paratrooper/jump master

My paratrooper

Cole & Dave

Cole’s first jump: