Wow. I feel like I'be been rolled over by the Marine Corps tusnami! LOL. JC is home on leave - there is laundry in the living room, loud music from upstairs. My fridge is suddenly empty and I couldn't be happier.
The warrior part of me welcomes his stories, the mother part cringes. I won't worry though (much) when he goes back. The only difference between this and the 19 years I watched my husband put on Kevlar and walk out the door is that with Walt, I had a chance every night to wrap my arms around him and reassure myself that he was OK. Now I only get that physical re-assurance every 6 months or so.
He talked non-stop this morning when we were grocery shopping. He is uncomfortable when random strangers come up to thank him for his service. But he loves it when Old Corp Marines do. There was a Vietnam era vet we passed and you could see when their eyes clicked on each other and then flicked down to tattooed arms and the instant relaxationa of "THREAT....friendly - stand down....acknowledge" flashed across both their faces. There were barely preceptable nods and smiles. And I was so proud that I got to witness it, and recognized it for what it was.
I know now why he was Marine of the Quarter last quarter. I know why he is eliglble for some of the medals he has been awarded. I know that in another war I would be a Gold Star mother with another service flag on the mantle and I bless the Dupont people (actually I would have been widowed much younger without Kevlar, but that's another story). It will take me months or years to really process that fact. But the solid reality of my son's arms around me and the fact that he let me hug him - hard - in the supermarket parking lot lets me not freak out too badly (or where he can see me.)
Now that he is out running around with the WGF (wonderful girl friend - love her to bits and approve whole heartedly), I can stop, cry a little in terror and relief.