When we arrived at my in laws house after Christmas Eve service my mother in law let me know that there were two pieces of mail for Dave. I looked at them, momentarily puzzled, and then I knew. I knew it was the official end to his time with the USMC. I smiled, but it was a bittersweet moment. I waited until after we ate dinner before showing it to Dave. He opened it with a grin, but I know we both felt the tug of sadness too. It signifies the end of some of the greatest years of our life. We both have memories, stories, and friendships that will last us a lifetime. Thankfully, we're part of the USMC family forever now. I'm terribly proud of his service. I'm thankful I was blessed with so many great friends during his service, but especially during his deployment. The BLT 3/8 wives I met were amongst the best and I will forever cherish them. I don't think I realized how special they were at the time, I just knew I loved them. Life beyond the Marine Corps is good too, but I miss being an active part of the USMC family. Now we get to figure out how to support our fellow family members beyond the realm of active and inactive duty.
Some of my favorite USMC memories:
1. Bootcamp Graduation. I had no idea at the time I would be married to a Marine just a year later. I marvel at the fact I was able to see my future husband graduate boot camp even though I didn't know his name at the time. I met him after graduation when he was headed back to his family, and just barely remember the meeting. Two months later I would be spending hours on the phone with him.
2. Iwo Sunset Parade & Friday Night Parades. I only saw the sunset parade once, but my darling husband (fiance then) was part of the firing party. A Marine doing what he loves to do is a fine thing to see. The Friday Night Parades were so much fun as well. You simply must see one. Seriously.
3.Marine Barracks Washington. Thanks to this wonderful duty station. I had so much fun living in DC for 9 months. Days spent walking along the National Mall with my husband. Public transportation so I didn't have to drive, thank you DC metro & Fairfax Connector buses. Close proximity to pretty much anything. Safeway grocery stores, you are a goddess among grocers. Pentagon City Bath & Bodyworks ladies circa 2006, you made me feel welcome and gave me girlfriends when I was constantly surrounded by boys.
4.Camp Lejeune, NC aka Marine Corps Land. You gave me close proximity to the beach. Introduced me to Duplin County Wine, the wine of the gods. You showed me just how awesome the USMC family really is-from the Battalion Commander's wife on down the ranks I was welcomed with open arms. You introduced me to the hardships of deployment, while sparing me the worry of combat deployments. I had one year of teaching that was hellish and one year of teaching that was truly a blessing through some very long days. Did I mention close proximity to the beach?
5. Life beyond active duty USMC. It has shown me the pure joy of encountering a fellow member of the USMC family. It has shown me my deepest desire is to do all I can to support those still in the active duty realm, as well as those beyond it. I just have to figure out exactly what that looks like...
Thank you so much for the memories USMC! You'll always hold a special place in my heart.