An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
I've never been the quiet type. Just ask any of my former teachers. I was the kid who could never shut up. My mom swears I started speaking in full sentences by the time I was 9 months old, and she has spent the last 40, er, hmmm.. 30+ years trying to get me to STOP talking.
I talk for a living. To seven year olds, which leads to interesting conversations, but it's talking nonetheless. I'm pretty sure I got the gift of gab from my late father, who, bless his soul, never met a stranger. He would embarrass the daylights out of me approaching total strangers and striking up the most random conversations. At the time I thought it was a curse....his ability to talk all the time...now I miss those days and would give anything to just sit and listen to one of his random conversations.
There are not many times that I have ever been rendered speechless in my life. As a matter of fact, none that I recall....that is, until I got drafted in this life of Marine Mom. This last year has rendered a few times that I have searched for and not been able to find the words.
The first time was when I saw my Marine for the first time on Family Day. He was so skinny and looked so different I remember actually gasping for air at the sight of him. I'm a momma.....a SOUTHERN momma at that....we southern girls like to make sure if you do nothing else, you EAT! So, I can't even tell you how horrified I was to see him that first time. Luckily, I think God struck me dumb and numb so I would actually shut up and listen! And listen, I did. My son who hardly had a handful of words to say about ANYTHING his entire life was one nonstop story after another about his adventures in becoming a Marine. Those days of listening to him were priceless....forever burned in my memory!
The most recent time I failed to find words was the last time I picked my then stateside stationed Marine up from the airport. He had just lost a Marine brother that week. Still trying to wrap his head around it all, he managed to give me every detail.....the things nightmares are made of...and again, I failed to find any words. What do you say in a moment like that? Nothing. You just listen.
Now on the eve of him leaving for deployment, I am lacking for words. So much I want to say....but the lump in my throat and the tears that threaten to flow down my face in a never ending pool won't let the words come. For the first time in years, I see him tear up too. But, being stronger than I am, he manages to get his words out. " Thanks for everything mom. Especially just being there to listen. It helped a lot."
And so, finally, I appreciate the silence that is between us...because what the mouth can't utter, the heart can. Besides, what do you say in moment like this?
" I love you" seems to suffice.