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October 28, 2009

One of Those Days that Just Changed My Life

I am so proud to be the Marine co-captain for the Valour IT fundraiser!! It's an honor and more importantly, it allows us to thank Soldiers' Angels for all of their support over the past couple of years. (More on that in another post)

I have been thinking about the past lately. A lot. The day I became a Marine wife is one. The day I became a mom is another. Yet another of those days that changed my life was the day my son became a Marine.

The following is a post at Marine Corps Moms from almost five years ago. Sadly, the site is no longer running. (I miss your blog, Deb!!)

Cassandra and I both share a passion for supporting these brave young men and women who VOLUNTEER to serve their country. It is especially noteworthy that these people volunteer to serve when our country is on a war footing. It seems the least we can do back here is support them while they are there, support them in any way possible should they get wounded and support them as they move on with their lives.

How can we not? Valour IT is a wonderful way to show our support for those who willingly go into harm's way for us.
Dig deep if you can, please? Valour IT is one of the BEST suppport programs for wounded/injured servicemembers. Bar.None.

January 30, 2005
On this particular January morning, I was thinking to myself that I had been a Marine wife for 19 years. 19 years of deployments, birthday balls, key volunteers...in other words..seen it, done it, bought the t-shirt.
Until that day.
The day my son became a Marine. I had butterflies in my stomach. I wondered what Zack would be like after his experiences at MCRD San Diego. Would he still be the same kid that we all called "King Kamehameha"?

We stood with all of the other anxious parents in front of the theater. A drill instructor with a microphone had a running patter of do's and don'ts. Frankly, that got on my nerves. It got on my husband's as well. As India company returned and formed up after their motivational run, we scanned the crowd of recruits looking for Zack. We moved to the other side of the theater and I found him. It seemed to take forever for his father to find that face but there it was. Three rows back and two men to the left, my son's face. At last!! A sighting.

We still couldn't talk to him. They all had to shower and form up for the presentation of the eagle, globe and anchor pins. After waiting almost 13 weeks to see him, the hour or so that we still had to wait seemed to drag on and on. Finally, they marched out and stood at attention. Well..sort of. Their eyes darted around, trying to find their families. Cameras clicked...parents, grandparents, sisters, brothers all yelling, "I see him!!"

As their drill instructors presented the e,g,and a pins, I was thankful for dark glasses and wished I had put kleenex in my purse before leaving the house that morning. The crusty Marine sitting next to me was not much better although he flatly denies it.

When their drill instructors finally released them, families surged out of the stands. We were in that crush too. Who cares if I'd been a Marine wife for 19 years???? I was going to hug that kid and nobody but nobody was getting in my way...not even him. He wasn't quite sure what to do when I grabbed him but he put up with it pretty well. I guess that was change number one.

The rest of Parents' day was spent trying to keep him fed (I can not believe how much this guy eats...it's almost superhuman) and catching him up with family and neighborhood news and hearing bootcamp stories. Change number two...our usually reticent son talked our ears off...between bites of food, of course. He called me "maam" about five times but then again, he also dropped the f bomb as many times. Changes three and four..and although both of those changes have disappeared, I have no doubt that his stint at SOI will bring them both out again. Oh well...

I am a Marine mom and I couldn't be prouder....

Posted by at October 28, 2009 04:30 PM

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Carrie, it's been 17 years since I was the kid (Army though, not Marines) and my Army wife mom came up and grabbed me at graduation. The crusty soldier was not much better (though he denies it), but even so... your telling of it brought back memories of what it was like to be on the other side. The eyes darting looking for familiar faces while trying to stand at attention, the not knowing quite what to do when bear hugged by a woman half your size (at least in my case), every other word "ma'am" or "sir", trying DESPERATELY to censor out the f-bombs (I was pretty successful... I think). And I will tell you, the pride you feel graduating is HALF what it is than when you see it reflected in your parents faces. And I promise you, he treasures the memory just as much as you. But, of course... he'll never admit it. Heck, if my mom were to find this post, I'd deny it's me... even seventeen years later. :)

Posted by: MikeD at October 29, 2009 11:36 AM