Monday, August 31, 2009

And we're done.

20 years ago:

Every day we went somewhere different to eat. He wanted to have some of everything before he went off to boot camp. I was 6 months pregnant, and everything…and every smell turned my stomach. But I went, because I still WANTED to eat, even though almost nothing stayed down and because I knew that time was slipping away. Soon, he’d be gone. And I’d still be here.

The last day before he left, we went out and came back to pack & clean his (always dirty) room. I fell asleep, as usual, in his bed. He woke me up, because it was time for me to get back and he had to get up early in the morning. I cried. Because I was feeling all sappy, and I always do when he goes away (yes. even now). He hugged me and told me that he would be back soon, he would write and he would call.

I didn’t go to his graduation, because I was not feeling good enough to make the drive. But I saw thousands of pictures, of him in his brand new Marine Corps uniform. Did I mention that I LOOOOVE a man in uniform? Because I do. And he was extra skinny. Because in boot camp, you didn’t walk; you ran. EVERYWHERE. And don’t be the recruit lagging behind. Or so I’ve heard. I’m a lollygagger…just one more reason that I never would have cut it in the USMC.

But I did the next best thing... which, is sort of like joining. I married a Marine. I’ve lived with the *locals* in Hawaii and Boston, on Marine Corps bases in San Diego and Army (?!) bases in Yuma and am now back in Southern California. I’ve spent up to a year intermittently pining for The Man while he went unaccompanied overseas. This would not be including any time he spent in the sandbox. Which was time spent quietly (and sometimes NOT so quietly) freaking out because there was a pretty good chance that he was going to be shot at maybe not make it home. (For which I thank GOD EVERY DAY that he did. REALLY), and not sleeping because I was worried I was going to miss his call which was always at the most randomest of times, or not sleeping because the news only likes to report how many people died in Iraq/ Afghanistan (which is why I stopped watching), not how The Man was doing over there.

I’ve sat not so quietly when the moving people were shoving all my shit in a box for the NEXT duty station. I’ve comforted both brats when they moved to another school AGAIN. I’ve cleaned more apartments to look brand spanking new so I could get my deposit back…and sometimes paid a cleaning lady (heh). I’ve memorized The Man’s SSN# because it’s the only one that matters in the military-- I’ve forgotten my driver’s license but NEVER my ID card. I’ve called the Red Cross because I needed to get in touch with The Man RIGHT NOW, and I knew that was the only way. I’ve opened my home to single Marines since the day I got married, so they could ALWAYS have a home cooked meal. I’ve lost touch with military wives because it used to be so hard to keep in touch/ have the right phone number when everybody is changing duty stations/ husbands are complaining about phone bills. I experience sticker shock every time I go into a grocery store to buy eggs & milk.

Today is The Man’s last day as an enlisted Marine. Tomorrow, he will OFFICIALLY retire/ be a civilian. No more ironing Cammies (although I haven’t in quite some time), early morning PT sessions, unit/battalian formations, or doing stuff because the Sgt. Major said so. I have no idea what I’m going to do with you not going TDY, or going on field ops, or having duty…plain & simply underfoot all the damn time.

But I am so happy to have you home.

(I love him even though he is a rat bastard UCLA fan)


JustMiss said...

Damn woman, would you quit it? Got me in tears AGAIN!

It's cliche of course, what I'm about to say. The Man deserves all the respect in the world for representing, fighting, and working his ass off for this country. I'd be honored to shake his hand and buy him a beer, even if he is a rat bastard UCLA fan.

USC for life baby! ;)

Elly said...

Oh wow, I never once thought about the spouses of the military, what a brilliant post, hey. I hope the transition into civilian life goes smooth and well. :)

Sober Mommy said...

I just wanted to drop by and say Thank YOU to The Man and to YOU for all those years of service.

I hope your retirement is happy, blessed, and most of all ENJOYABLE - you both certainly deserve it.

About the UCLA thing - I'm an SEC fan so I'd shake your hand any day.

jennster said...

LOL- man! you are killing me! this is so awesome! but ucla sucks! USC BABEEEEEEE!

Aimeepalooza said...

I have a friend in the sandbox right now...I am not dating him but I understand a bit what you must have felt like.
Amazing post. Thanks to you, The Man and your kids as you all sacrificed.
What will The Man be up to these days other than being under foot?

tom the girl said...

Amazing post. Simply amazing. Congrats to you and your man, and thanks to the both of you for everything you have done for our country.


Now enjoy it!

The McCammons said...

My dad i a retired Marine, and our service Men and Women deserve all the rest and standing ovation they get, and more. I am glad your Man is home for good, and tell him thank you for all he has ever done for all of us!

boosmom10 said...

OMG you crack me up!

Thank you the MAN and the rest of the family for serving your country and for giving up a vital part of the family everytime he received orders or gave them.

I hope the retirement years are wonderful!

jadedperspective said...

Thank you, to you and your husband for your loyal service to our country. My BIL recently retired from the marines too. (I am @masmom, we talked about it before on twitter.)
What an exciting new chapter of life your family is starting without Militay restrictions.

Mom2Jazz said...

Hoorah! Love you both!

Twenty Four At Heart said...

Wow - what an awesome post. It got me all teary-eyed! A huge thank you to both of you for his service!

Laura said...

Congrats! And welcome home to the man. :) uncle retired from the Marines 3 times. lol