Tuesday, March 29, 2011

How are You Classified?

Ok... I'll say it. And I know it's not going to be politically correct in this age of technology. But this isn't about being politically correct. It's about honoring my friend Arlene because it was her birthday yesterday - and she is the only other person I know that can fully relate to this. So.......

I love libraries.

Not in the normal way people love libraries. I mean...I love the smell of the books and the shushed way librarians communicate just as much as the next bookworm. And, of course, the calming feeling I get when I stroll the aisles of books is important to me too. But that's now how I love them.

I LOVE how they are so orderly. That the DDC (that's Dewey Decimal System for you haters) gives every book it's own special spot in that giant building. I just imagine how cozy the books must feel...all cuddled together waiting to be picked by some reader. *sigh*

I ADORE the little cards that aren't to be removed by anyone but the chosen few. The counter ladies - if you will. The *gasp* librarians! I've always thought librarians were some of the luckiest people on earth. They get to spend ALL DAY around books. They can rearrange them...read them...help others find them. If I weren't such a loud mouth, I might have actually studied to be a librarian. But we all know I would have been in big trouble.

My love for libraries started at a young age. My grandmother took me to the library with her ALL the time. And, as I've said before, I come from a long line of readers. I also volunteered in the library in elementary school. That's when I learned the inner workings of the library world.  But I didn't really stop there....some might say I took it a bit far when I decided I could be my very own librarian.

After taking a complete inventory of all the books I had in my home collection, from Little Golden Books to Judy Blume, I concluded that if anyone (i.e. my brother who didn't care a FLIP about reading) wanted to read one of my books, they'd have to follow the protocol.

I carefully made sleeves for my checkout cards and strategically placed them in each book. I slowly alphabetized by author and added their call number. I didn't really have many different categories, so that made using the DDC a bit difficult, but I managed. I mean...you can't file Helen Keller next to Willa Wonka for Heaven's sake!

This went on for a couple years. I'm sure this may be a shock to those of you who knew me back then. I mean.....if you never asked to borrow a book, then you never got to experience my home library. In retrospect, it would have made more sense to do a bit of marketing for it. But at the time, it was really just the love of the books and the process that kept me content.

Now I look back and laugh just as I'm sure you have been laughing.....but I still get the urge to help put away books when I go to a library. And I always want to shuffle those cards they insist on using despite the technological advances that allow them to keep track of the books checked out. It's almost compelling, but somehow I stop myself.

I bet you wonder if I still do it, don't you? Well, I don't. I love my Kindle...and I love my books on the shelves. But I don't keep them in any specific order.  I lost that desire when I fell in love with newsletters................  But that's another story...

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Is it Over Yet?

You haven't lost your smile at all, it's right under your nose. You just forgot it was there.” ~ Anonymous

Billy in Afghanistan
This blogging thing sure hasn't been at the top of my priority list lately, has it? What on EARTH have I been doing with my time?  Oh........that's right. Our son is deployed - and that's all that matters right now.

Marines go to boot camp to prepare them for the job that lies ahead. They drill, exercise, get beat down and built back up. But there isn't a boot camp for their mothers. There's no field guide to tell mothers how to cope with the stress of their children being "owned" by the Marine Corps. And there's no possible way to put into words what it is like to worry about your Marine 24 hours a day while he (or she) is deployed. I'm not sure there are right or wrong answers as to how to do it either. 

Mid-January Billy left the USS Kearsarge to work on a mission in Afghanistan. All along we had said, "At least you aren't in Afghanistan." It was sort of the silver lining to the dark cloud of being apart for so long. We were to thankful he was on a MEU and getting to see glimpses of the world along the way. Little did we know that halfway through the deployment (which was already keeping me awake at night) he'd be headed there. Or that he'd be living in a tent and freezing his behind off.  And that he'd wake and sleep to the sounds of helicopters and explosions for months on end.

Since I'd already been holding my breath until his return, this new development really only gave me a bigger reason to hold it. And while my communications with Billy are a million times better than for a lot of others because he's in the airwing, it still hasn't stopped my worry and concern. He's sitting in a country where terrorism is the norm. Every moment of every day requires him to keep a weapon with him. The local nationals cannot be fully trusted. And most importantly, he's my child whom I cannot bear to think of suffering. I know what you are thinking.  "He's a Marine. It's his job."  And I agree. It IS his job. YES, he chose it. And YES, he's equipped to handle it. But as a mother, I am geared to worry.

It's all I think about it. And it's all I focus on. Where is Billy? Is Billy ok? Does he need anything? Why haven't we heard from Billy? When will we hear from Billy?  I know all my non-military parent friends have to be sick and tired of me by now. They don't want to repeat what they just said to me for the third time because I zoned out. And they probably don't want to hear another update about my son.  Kerry, while equally concerned, is also probably tired of me. I'm sure he wants me to compartmentalize a little better and "get it together".  

Every trip to the grocery store involves picking up something we think Billy might need or want. (What Marine should have to live without Downy dryer sheets? I mean...come on!) Waking in the middle of the night requires checking email to be sure there wasn't a message I missed. And moment by moment thinking: is it over yet?

Gladly, I can say that the end is in sight. Only a couple more months and our son will be back in the fold.  We will travel to North Carolina where our family will reunite and spend a little bit of quality time together. And then.....I will breathe. When I think about it, the crushing weight on my chest moves just a little bit. My head stops pounding - and the tears I am constantly holding back almost dissipate. It's going to be one of the biggest reliefs I have ever felt. 

So bear with me........we are almost there. As my Marine Mom Jodi says, "I promise to be fun again....just as soon as this deployment is over."