Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Prepare or Pretend

When you have something difficult coming up – do you mentally prepare yourself for it? Or, do you pretend it’s not happening until it’s right up on you? Some people are pretenders; they figure there is no point in wasting time feeling sad about something that will happen whether you want it to or not (not a bad motto for a Marine Corps wife). But I’m a preparer – I find myself a little bit glum every day in anticipation of d-day (deployment-day) and struggle to conceal a lower lip quiver the night before each training expedition; but when it’s go-time I am ready, I’ve ‘dealt’, so I hold my chin up high, blink the tears away from my uncooperatively welling eyes, fan off my flushed red face, and keep on moving on.

Now that my husband is gearing up for his second deployment, I find his frequent training workups are like an emotional pre-deployment bootcamp for the USMC wife. I don’t have the motivating luxury of a Gunnery Sergeant yelling at me to give him twenty, but there is a nagging, perhaps equally intimidating voice in my head snarling “if you can’t handle this, sweetheart, you don’t belong here with the elite.” Each week that his platoon is in the field is a little challenge for me to harden up and train for their next stint in (we won’t call it “the $#!t”, we’ll call it…) “the show.” He’s just left for a month to Mojavi Viper and I feel the dull ache of the slowly severing strings of attachment, the very ones I so recently fostered back to full vibrancy. Just a few winks ago I was carefully re-forging these precious connections between us, giving up the survival skill of living alone, scattering the extra pillows across the floor that I no longer needed to block off the chasm on the left side of the bed. But when you only have a few months to complete the full inter-deployment cycle, a few weeks makes all the difference

Now homecoming is over, we’ve passed the summit for reconnecting and, whether we are adept at pretending or not, we are now racing back down towards the base camp of deployment. But I’m training along the way – I learn to stay connected to ‘us’ while slowly re-working the inner calluses of independent ‘me’. I don’t know how to pretend that he’s not leaving, that I will no longer need to make weekly runs to the commissary to buy full-fat ice cream and cases of high-calorie coke, and so instead I tighten up the tummy muscles, take the occasional five-star slap his training-induced absences serve me, and prepare myself to go it again on my own. I’m dedicating a new award to myself: this year’s USMC femme-solita.


At December 18, 2006, Anonymous not quite a marines wife said...

My boyfriend has recently become a marine and currently hes home- back from a month of training @29 palms and luckily i'm going to beable to spend christmas and new years with him, but on the 2nd hes headed for 4months in virginia and expecting after that to be sent to iraq b/c all of intel are... it was really nice reading this and knowing i'm not alone in preparing myself, and tearing up the night b 4 he leaves. your words have helped me so much... people say i'm crazy or just young and dumb for waiting for him. i think its safe to say who the brighter lady is considering our men r one of the FEW good men.

in one of the letters he wrote me a quote and i thought i'd share it- if u didnt already kno it... "the key 2 a successful life is loving a good women and killing a bad man..."

you seem to have everything figured out, i only wish i was 1/2 as together as you seem when he goes away.its been hard 4 me ...but as you said thats the price 2 pay to be in love with one of the elite <3


PS:i hope your husband comes back safe and your staying strong. God bless


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