Some Randomness Regarding Military Life

taken the day he met his daughter, 6 months after she was born

(excerpt dated nov 21, 2008)

He’s been out of the reach of my fingertips for 12 hours, 2 minutes, and 36, 37, 38 seconds… but, who’s counting, right?

Rest easy, America. There are still amazing men in United States Marine Corps uniform willing to protect your freedoms, so that you don’t have to. Even if it means missing the birth of their only child, walking away from a wife whose health is not up to par, giving up all of the comforts of home for 8 months, attempting to explain to a 2 year old what that gun on daddy’s leg is, and why she won’t get to hug him again for a very long time.

PLEASE. Enjoy your moments. Snuggle up tight to the ones you love. Do not let stupid petty immaterial things get between you and yours. Cherish the moments you watch your spouse hold your child with great love and devotion. Capture the smiles. Savor the smells. Linger on a touch. There are those of us who will be without for much too long now – for your sake.

(excerpt dated may 11, 2009)

I was in high school – a junior, I think – when the Gulf War kicked off. (Yes, I’m aware how old that makes me.) Even then, I was a huge fan of men who commit their lives to protecting my freedoms. I remember going down the road and being ecstatic to see military convoys because (as I stated then), “It means they’re home!”

So fast forward… sheesh, 15 years!… and I drive in a military town every day. I *often* see convoys. I can almost tell you where they’re going and for what purpose every time. This morning was no exception. I’m driving home from Christine’s from a great weekend visit, and BAM! There’s no fewer than 20 military vehicles – a combination of seven ton trucks, humvees, and the like. I even notice one with a Marine obviously riding in the open back of the seven ton – his boots on the top of the back gate a tell-tale sign. My drive home from E’s is about an hour long, and I only enjoyed maneuvering around this convoy for about 10 of those minutes, but then I also watched buses heading the other way on the major highway that runs through our town. THIS is a telltale sign that some women are standing on base going absolutely insane, waiting to see the face of their loved one again after many months.

Between the convoy and the buses, I became overwhelmed emotionally. I have very little time left in this combat deployment, but these next few weeks will seem about another year long or so. Homecoming will be amazingly sweet, but it will also be bittersweet. Those men that were driving and riding in that convoy today – they are on their way to COMBAT. They aren’t just playing “GI Joe” as my ex-husband tried to teach my children to call my husband – they are on their way to risk their lives in a war that many of them don’t even agree with or perhaps understand. But they do it – as my husband will quickly remind you – so that you and yours will sleep peacefully tonight and tomorrow can get up and protest the very war they risk their lives in.

Remember, America – young BOYS are driving in those convoys. Boys that are too young to drink a beer in public, and perhaps even to vote, they are risking their lives for you. Pray CONTINUOUSLY for their safety, for leaders’ wisdom, for a normal life upon their return stateside. Be the first to loudly support your military members – even if you don’t support their leader, the war they fight in. And support military families even more loudly. These are the women and children who didn’t choose to be active duty but who agree on a daily basis – perhaps even a moment by moment basis – to give up their loved one for the good of the whole nation.

(excerpt may 18, 2009)

I was about 2.5 months into my first deployment with Chris when I decided to treat myself to a massage. I found a masseuse in the area, scheduled the appointment, and excitedly drove there the day of. I climbed up on the table, closed my eyes, and she began working on my arms first. I had no idea what would come next. Tears. Streaming down my face. Unstoppable.

Not only was I two and a half months into an already disastrous deployment, missing my newlywed husband, and worrying about my boys – but I was also 2.5 months plus one day into a strange period of my life – having not been touched that entire time. Turns out, physical touch is really rather necessary.

Fast forward to this morning’s newscast when I watch a section about Mikey’s Hugs Deli in Los Angeles. Turns out, you can actually pay (with compliments) for workers to give hugs – all kinds of hugs. Interesting.

Anyway – take a break outta your day today to TOUCH someone (and please don’t go all stupid sexual on me here). Pat someone on the back, give a hug – remember the beauty of a human touch, the healing power, the necessity of. Especially for those who are not in a position to get daily touch. Young children who may not be well cared for at home, older shut-ins who haven’t seen their children in weeks, and millions of others who don’t get on a daily basis what you may be taking for granted.

But, most of all – hug your own children. Please.

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