Thursday, July 19, 2012

Maybe I'm just heartless, but I'm glad I'm not that clingy.

I've been on a lot of message boards lately, looking for information and maybe some support. Pregnant with a husband incommunicado in boot camp is not always a breeze to handle. Especially when you absolutely passionately hate every single day you have to go to your job, but are forced to continue out of necessity. The husband is earning an income, but is unable to access it to send me money until after graduation. I've hated my job viscerally for quite a while, but supporting The Hubby so he could quit his job to prepare for and go to boot camp was more important, and I still believe that was the best thing for us to do. At the moment, though, I'm feeling trapped. So I try to find people in either or both of these situations (pregnant, significant other in boot camp), to try and get something in the way of information. It's not an easy feat, and frequently I am more annoyed than anything. The pregnancy sites are *fairly* helpful, but the sites for family members of recruits are a bit of a mixed bag. There is a lot of really good information, but there is also a lot of whining.

I understand, to a point. Parents are going to have a difficult time when their child leaves the nest. Significant others are going to have a difficult time when their loved one goes away. This is all made a lot more difficult by the fact that our recruits don't get a lot of chances to communicate. Nobody should ever, EVER count on getting a damn thing from a recruit in basic training, because expecting things leads to disappointment. I expected NOTHING. The letters I get (and trust me, I've gotten a lot up until the past couple weeks) are the happiest parts of every day that I receive one. The only thing I expected from The Hubby wasn't a letter, or a phone call, or him being able to support me financially or emotionally (or whatever else these people are expecting); all I'm expecting is for him to come home a United States Marine, and I'm even prepared for the worst in that department. In fact, as a spouse I had to write out and sign a statement spelling out exactly what him doing this meant, and that I FULLY UNDERSTAND: He will be unable to support me financially while he is in training. He will most likely be deployed at some point. Basically, this will be extremely difficult for me. (But look at what he is going through!!)

What it all boils down to, no matter how much they say they take care of Marine families, is that Corps and country come first. These men and women made that choice... And Parents, they are in fact men and women, no matter if you still think of them as your "baby." They are not allowed to serve their country until they are legal adults. Some of them may be immature adults, but if they're tough enough they will make the cut and become Marines in the process. And we will be so damn proud of them. (Please replace with Army/Navy/Air Force titles as needed--I'm proud of my recruit, but this applies to ALL branches of the military.)

As I sat in that recruiter's office that day and wrote the short statement acknowledging how difficult the coming months would be, I did fully understand it. I knew it would be tough, but I would make it happen. Whatever it takes to get him, and us, through this. I did not expect to be an exception. Even after we found out I was pregnant. I did not write out the part saying that I alone would be responsible for paying our bills and think to myself, "Yeah, but he'll still be able to send me money because we're married." Even when people kept saying "But he should be able to send you money because you're married." I want to smack those people, because "should" means absolutely shit, and I love it when people remind me that I haven't seen my husband in almost 3 months and that I'm stuck at my job for that much longer. People, please remember that the military is a function of government. I'll believe the check is in the mail when I open the goddamn mailbox and find it there. I don't care if even the recruiter says he should be able to, or if it happened that way for someone else in the same platoon, a different platoon, or a different branch of service. I believe nothing until I see it. So when I see people griping on message boards on how they're in tough times because they--by choice--haven't worked for years and have 3 kids and they're freaking out because they don't have any money because their SO is in boot camp, I feel for them, but then I have to ask myself "What the fuck? How did you think this was going to go?" Maybe I'm a bit cynical, but while I hope that they do in fact take care of Marine families like they say they do, I can't help but think they're not Marines yet. They are recruits. There is a big difference. Not all recruits become Marines. Why would they waste effort on people that might not make it? (Of course your recruit is going to make it, though, so they might as well make that exception, right?)

But my biggest annoyance is the ones who talk about how pitiful they are because they miss their kid or their SO. I can't handle much of the boards dedicated to wives/girlfriends because of this. Some of the parents of recruits from our platoon, although dealing with missing their sons (all males at San Diego), are grown enough to be looking for answers to their questions and being otherwise proactive--organizing meet and greets for family day, organizing fundraisers, sending protein bars to the recruits with notes attached about the website so all the recruits' families can know that support is available. The wives/girlfriends are focusing a lot on how they can't go to the movies or restaurants or participate in whatever activity because that's something they do with their husband/boyfriend. I just want to ask them what they plan on doing in their lives when their recruits become Marines and get deployed for months and months at a time. Life does not stop because he is away. It continues whether you like it or not, and wallowing in self pity doesn't help you or him either one. Show your Marine (or Marine recruit) that you are proud of him, and that you will support him by keeping the home front covered while he can't be there. They're under contract folks, if you don't like the life then you're the one that has to GTFO. He can't, and shouldn't have to because of you. If you just lay the pitiful tales on him all the time, you're just making him miserable when there's nothing he can do about it, and he'll most likely get in trouble for your behavior if you take it too far. This makes you a selfish asshole. In my opinion.

I'm not saying I don't have my bad days. It's actually been getting harder for me the closer I get to him coming home. I miss him, I want to get this all rolling so we can really get somewhere, and I want him to meet The Belly That Holds The Baby. Pregnancy hormones and depression aren't helping, because it seems I've gotten a pretty good dose of them lately. But I hope that I never become like some of those people I come across on those sites. My independence makes me happy, and it makes me better able to handle the separations that will happen. I miss him like crazy, but I'm so proud of him, and he deserves and has my full support. Maybe I am just a cold fish for not balling my eyes out day and night, wailing over letters. But I don't think so. I'm looking at boot camp as training for the both of us.  

1 comment :

  1. You have a sensible handle on things. No, it's not going to be easy, and yes, some days are going to be worse than others. Sometimes, life IS going to suck. And sometmes, it's not. You address both with the logic that has always been a part of you. Military wives are a unique breed. I'm glad to know you're not one of the whiny ones - but then again, I never thought you would be.  I'm proud of you, proud of your soon-to-be-Marine, and look forward to reading, hearing and seeing the adventures of family G!