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."


Anonymous said...

That is my feelings also, I know.. I do the samething.. And one day all these thing will pass.. I couldn't put it in any better words then you did.. 3/8 kilo Deb S.

Anonymous said...

You said it Juice! Thanks for the cry!

USMCMomAndWife said...

Well said Charee! (Just to be clear - I am not Charee's Mom, I am ANOTHER Marine Mom. And I cannot wait to be fun again......)


Anonymous said...

Billy is lucky to have you for a Mom, Charee! I don't know how we would have made it this far into the 26th MEU deployment without each other's support as Marine Parents. Can't wait for homecoming!
Pete from Memphis - Dad to LCpl Matt D, 3/8 Wpns

Julie said...

You're a Mom, that's your job to worry about your kiddos. You are the person they turn to when they are happy, sad or indifferent. It's a tough situation but I know that Billy feels your love and strength from you every day.

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