My nephew is a Marine. He’s wanted to be a Marine since he was about 10 years old. It’s all he ever talked about.
Last night he got on a bus to begin a journey that will take him more than 7,000 miles away to Afghanistan.
Yeah… THAT Afghanistan.
I have a knot in my stomach. It’s not nearly as big as the knots in KK’s or her hubby’s or their other sons’ stomachs. But it’s still there. I mean, Dan isn’t old enough to hoist a beer to celebrate here at home… well, not legally at least (I remember your graduation party, Dan)… but abroad, as part of the 1st Battalion, 9th Marines, he’s going to be called on to do… who knows what.
Back in March during a training exercise in Nevada, 7 Marines were killed when a mortar exploded at the wrong time. It was Dan’s Battalion that was training there. KK’s Hubby texted Dan when he heard about the explosion but he heard nothing back. All anyone heard was that 7 Marines were killed. It was almost 11 pm when Dan finally reached his dad & let him know he was okay but those hours of nothing were nauseating. And again… I’m just the aunt. I can’t imagine being the parent. As a friend whose husband is currently deployed at sea told me tonight, “The way you felt when you didn’t know where Dan was in Nevada? You’ll feel that way every time you watch the news & hear something about a problem in Afghanistan.”
I suppose I will. I suppose we all will. I have a feeling it will be like a dull ache that never quite goes away but that you can forget about in rare moments.
The Kids & I went shopping tonight to put together a care package. My Navy wife friend gave me lots of good tips & we’ll be shipping something out to Afghanistan later this week. I figure it’s the least we can do to support the efforts of someone who has willingly put himself in harm’s way.
And now all we can do is pray. And wait for him to come home.
God speed, Daniel.
The Boy, getting out of the car at school drop-off: “Bye, Mom! Love you! Don’t forget to talk about me in therapy!”
The Boy: “I’ll be the crazy cat man when I grow up.”
The Boy: “Because, first of all… look at this face. And think about 40 years later with no exercise playing x-box everyday, do you really think this is going to attract a woman?”
The Kids attend a before school program run by the local YMCA. They recently changed their policy so that I can no longer slow down to 30 mph in the parking lot while The Kids tuck & roll. Now I have to call them to come unlock the doors (it takes them so long, I’ve actually considered calling as I was leaving the house, just to increase the odds that someone would be at the door when we got there.) & we also have to walk our children into the building to the program site & sign a piece of paper saying that they’ve arrived. (I want to meet the child who couldn’t make it the 20 paces from the door to where the program is held, thus inspiring this new policy.)
On the way to school this morning, I was mumbling about how annoying it was & how the new policy was adding an extra 10 minutes to my morning.
From the back of the car, I heard The Boy: “The Y. As in “Y” would you ever consider bringing your kids here?”
The Boy: “Please, please, please let me stay home from school tomorrow. PLEASE!!!”
Me: “No. Why on earth would you stay home?”
The Boy: “You don’t understand how bad it is there. This girl in my class chases me all over the playground trying to hug me.”
Me: “Can’t you tell her you just want to be friends?”
The Boy: “Mom…. She has a nickname for me. She calls me Sweetie Buns. If I tell her I only want to be friends (picks up heart-shaped pillow & tries to tear it in two)…. well, you get the picture.”
Me: “Is she that horrible?”
The Boy: “Whenever I make a joke or say something funny, she pretends like she’s going to slap me upside the head. I can’t be with someone who doesn’t appreciate my humorous side.”
The Boy was being The Boy & not doing what I asked so we had a
shouting match civilized discussion which ended with him being sent to his room hugs. After a few minutes, he reappeared downstairs, arms crossed & foot tapping expectantly: “Umm… Isn’t this is where you come up & tell me you’re sorry for yelling & give me a hug?”