Friday, July 30, 2010

Almost Homecoming

Homecoming is right around the corner for us. I’d be lying if I said that I wasn’t scared shitless, because I am. I have no clue what to expect from my husband. He has seemed to be “normal” for most of this deployment, but the last few times I’ve talked with him, something changed. He’s not the same guy that I remembered. I could almost hear something that sounded like defeat in his voice.

He’s also started being a bit insensitive. It hasn’t seemed as though he was taking my feelings into consideration. I understand that he’s got a lot on his mind, but he does still have a family back home, and a wife that would like to hear that he still loves her once in a while. There are days when it gets very hard to keep my frustration in check. Those are the days when he is very lucky that I can’t call him, and give him a piece of that frustration.

This is our first deployment. I find myself often with my arms outstretched, palms facing upward. Hoping for an idea of what I should be thinking, and feeling, to come to me. There are days when I think I know what’s going on, but lately those days have been few and far between. For a time, I was going through the motions: feed the children, feed the dogs, clean up after the children, clean up after the dogs, bathe the children, bathe the dogs. Day in and day out, until suddenly I realized that it was already July.

An unexpected shake up finds me expecting my husband home a couple weeks early. There are parts of me that are ecstatic to see him, and others that would rather I had that time back to prepare. Or even longer. I feel guilty for not being completely over the moon to see him, but everyone keeps telling me that he’s going to come back a changed man. Will it be good, or bad? And if he does change for the better, will it stick?

What about the kids? The children are now 2 and 3, they know that Daddy has been at work for a very long time. He’s been off helping the good people, and fighting the bad guys. I have finally told them that Daddy will be home soon, and that we need to get ready for it. But, how do you get toddlers ready for homecoming? Is the youngest going to remember him? Or run screaming for the hills when this stranger in cammies comes at her and asks for a hug?

And the dogs, oh the dogs! Anyone that’s been to my house, knows how my fur-children react to strangers. They have been Momma’s girls for the last six months, who is this guy suddenly trying to discipline them and telling them when and where to poo? I think that will be a very loud reunion.

On the flip side, what if they all completely take to my husband’s return? I have been caring for all of them for so long, I’m not sure I’m ready to give up the crown just yet. I like being the ultimate force in the house. Now I have to share that power? I don’t know how I feel about that.

Don’t get me wrong, there are things that I’m looking forward to. I miss having someone come home to me everyday. I can’t wait to share disciplining-that is tiring after a while. We have some very headstrong princesses in our kingdom. I am so looking forward to having someone to pick up the dog poo. And of course the intimacy, he he he, the intimacy.

This is a very scary place to be right now. Do the positive and negative possibilities cancel each other out? Will everyone behave? Will the flights land on time, and will everything run smoothly so that I’ll get him back when planned? Did he actually shave off the Afghanistache?

My husband and I have never been apart for this long. Very soon we’ll know if we were successes, or otherwise. He’ll see all the things I changed in the house. All the events that were held in our home. He’ll see the ghetto dog kennel that was erected in our backyard. And hopefully, he’ll see just how much we missed having him home with us.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Our Marine Corps, Our Family

They say that the Marine Corps is a family, and I’d like to believe that. And, there is no better time to witness the Marine Corps family in action, than during a deployment. I know that were it not for the support of my sisters in arms, I would have gone mad by now.

First of all, it starts with our wonderful Family Readiness Officer, Mrs. Mary Mathews. She has been given the responsibility of overseeing the welfare of not only the Marines of the unit, but also their families. There are somewhere around 700 Marines in my husband’s unit. That’s a lot of guys, and then you add in the spouses, children, parents and whoever else the Marine chooses. It’s enough to make your head spin!

That woman deserves every penny of her salary, and then some. She has even helped friends of mine whose husbands are not in her unit. And for the first four months of this deployment, she did it all on her own. She had absolutely no volunteers. Give that woman a medal! And some cherry cordials, they’re her favorite.

I have received I don’t know how many calls from women, not because they were in the hospital or having an emergency, but because a friend was. And if for some reason that young mother needs to stay in the hospital overnight, there are a number of people ready to step up and babysit.

This sisterhood that was formed the day that our Marines left warms my heart. I spoke with Mary once (after yet another crisis had occurred) and asked her, “has anyone ever had a deployment this eventful?” She answered, “With this many trips to the hospital, I don’t know. But, they definitely have more wife drama!” And you know what? As much as I don’t wish anyone to the ER, I prefer this to the drama.

I would rather us banding together in times of need, than stabbing each other in the back. Our men are overseas fighting for freedom, and to make sure the fight stays over there. And back home, the women have nothing better to do than to say bad things about each other, and call one another names? I have a problem with that. You ladies need to find a better use for your time.

Not to say that this unit is without its drama, but even that showed our cohesiveness. When one person tried to stir the pot, it made the rest of us even closer. We learned who are friends were, and what was good for our group. We stood together proud of ourselves, proud of our Marines, proud to be Marine wives, and not afraid to tell the world.

We’re closing in on homecoming now, and it seems the chaos has changed type. Plans are being made by wives not in the area, to move here. Parties are being held to make banners for loved ones. Baby showers are being thrown for little ones that just can’t wait for daddy. Wives are reuniting and resparking friendships. Or meeting for the first time, and finding kindred spirits.

Pre-homecoming Meet and Greets are in the organizational stages. And I’ve already had more than one wife (or mother) tell me that this isn’t their first deployment, but it is the first get together of this type. I would love to meet the person standing next to me, waiting to charge the busses, before that day. To have a chance to share stories in a more relaxed setting. (Of course, preferably one where I’m able to stuff my face.) So that when we’re standing there Homecoming day, I’m not afraid to spark a conversation and make the time fly by faster.

It’s been a long week, I’m quite tired. But I find comfort in knowing that I have a telephone full of numbers that I can call to find a sitter if I need a moment. Or if I need someone to listen as I vent about the week’s hardships. I also relish in knowing that all those people in my contact list, or out in the Facebook world, know that they can call on me at any time. Be it at 1430 or 0230, I will always answer.

I could not have made it through this deployment without the constant support and reassurance I get from those ladies. Thank you CLB-6 sisters, for reminding me that not all the horror stories about us are true. The Marine Corps is a family. A small, at times, very tight knit family. And it’s almost time for a Family Reunion.

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