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. . . I'm so sick of words!" says Eliza Doolittle in "My Fair Lady."  Those lyrics popped into my head during evening Chat last week, although they are completely untrue, at least for me.  I love words!  I subscribe to the Merriam-Webster Word of the Day service.  Every day, they send me a new word, show how it is pronounced, use it in several sentences, tell me  the first documented instance of it being used, and take it apart and trace its history (almost always ending up with Greek or Latin). 

Those lyrics ran through my head during evening Chat because there are a couple of us who play "Stump the Chatter" with each other, bringing a new word to Chat and challenging each other to correctly guess its meaning.  Last week, the word I brought was "retronym."  You might guess by the "retro" that it has something to do with the past.  It's a pretty new word, apparently created in 1980, and is a type of neologism (new word) that provides a new name for something to differentiate the original from a more recent form or version.  Those of us born in the previous century (the 20th -- remember that?) have seen retronyms in action:  what was once a "watch" now is described as an "analog watch" because there's that new-fangled "digital watch."  "Mail" as we know it in boot camp is "snail mail," while "email" comes back to us once our Marines are assigned to their MOS or PDS.  That new word for old ideas got us talking about words, and especially words spoken, not spoken, regretted for being said or not said, along this USMC journey we are all on.  (And I might add that that is pretty much how evening Chat works for us -- we start in one place and always end up somewhere or many somewheres else.)

There's that forbidden word, "goodbye," which we learn not to say because it feels so final.  We say "See ya later" instead, whether our child is heading off to boot camp, SOI, PDS, or deployment. We quickly learn that our children have become Marines, with a capital "M," and never ever do we describe them as "soldiers."   There are words we don't say because they might make their way to the enemy, all words that are considered OpSec, like troop travel destinations and dates.  There are words and acronyms that start out sounding like a foreign language, and become second nature as we travel this path:  MOS and SOI and PDS and MEU and EAS.  There are the words we love, like "Homecoming" and "Leave."

There are sometimes words we wish we could take back, because we were anxious at the moment and said what we shouldn't, and our poolee or Recruit or Marine stops talking to us for awhile.  There are words we wish we had said, like using the term "letter lag" when we assure our Recruit we will write every day, and he has to have faith they will come sooner or later.  There are the words our Recruits or Marines don't say but that we read between the lines of what they write, sure there is something they aren't telling us.  We look for positive words to write in our boot camp letters, words to swallow when our Marine is venting and we are just dying to give advice.

But here are the words that never get old, should always be said -- shouted over the "script" when our Recruit yells at us that he has arrived at MCRD, when we get that first hug after boot camp graduation, when he returns to training or his PDS after a leave, before we hang up the phone whenever he calls, and always, always the first and last thing when he is deployed.  Those words are:  "I love you."

"I love you" never gets old, is never unnecessary, should always be said as a greeting and as a farewell.  Say it in the morning, at night, at the beginning and end of every call.  It's not unmanly, it's quintessentially masculine, it's not a sappy female phrase, it's got the strength of a woman behind it.  It's a powerful statement from parent to child, from child to parent, from spouse to spouse, from brother to sister and in return.  There may be some words I get sick of hearing, and there are words I like, but "I love you" is at the top of my list.

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Comment by alex2toes on April 28, 2015 at 5:25am

Valerie, I loved your story! I have been using the fine art of "teach me" for years. lol It wasn't until I stumbled across it that I realized my parents had used that on me too. I hope you have many more wonderful teaching moments over the next few years.

Comment by 1~17smom (Julie) on April 27, 2015 at 8:42pm

Valerie, I got a chuckle out of your comment about letting your son "teach" you something you had already learned.  I think that's one of the greats arts of parenthood:  for your own peace of mind you learn everything you can about your child's next step, and then you allow him to teach it to you all over again, and smile and hug him.  It's a delicate art that shows you respect him, gives him confidence, and encourages him to tell you more.  One day he'll surprise you and teach you something you really didn't know.  And that is an awesome moment.  It's amazing to watch your child come into his own.

Comment by Valerie on April 27, 2015 at 3:18pm

Two weeks ago when dropping my son back off after libo (he's currently at ITB) he gave me a lesson on "good by" or so he thought.  He went on to explain how he will never say those words especially to his younger siblings.  He went on to explain how he wants them to always know it isn't final when he leaves in hopes of helping them get through the hard times of adjusting.  I was in awe.  I didn't have the heart to tell him it was something I had already learned in a group discussion, he was pretty proud to teach his mama how matured he become, and yes, proud I was... and just about every text and call ends with love ya... and mine with I love you, we love you, don't you ever forget that :) 

Comment by raisedhimright on April 1, 2015 at 10:06am

P.S.  Honey has been out of the Corps since 1971 and he still thinks like a Marine:).  Gotta love 'em:)!

Comment by raisedhimright on April 1, 2015 at 10:05am

Hi Julie,

   Once again you hit the mark!  I actually do not think it is possible to ever get tired of hearing or saying, "I love you."  I am so happy to read Andy and his wife are doing so well.  It is exactly what they deserve:). 


Comment by Michelle on February 7, 2015 at 7:50pm

very nicely said, Julie.

Comment by 1~17smom (Julie) on February 6, 2015 at 9:38am

Lea - how did you know?!!!!  YES, he loved Monopoly as a kid, which I always thought was odd, since he hated sitting still, didn't really like any other board game, and Monopoly takes forevvvver!  I, on the other hand, hate Monopoly.  My son and my husband play the same way -- if they have to pay you rent they pay it out one bill at a time, in the smallest denominations possible, as slowly as possible, and sigh really deeply every time they put down a bill.  I always try to sell off my properties to someone else after about 30 minutes, because I'm bored. 

And yes, all the other accomplishments are great, but it's his truly kind heart inside that tattooed Marine body that really gets me.  Of course, all HIS tattoos are Mario Kart characters instead of the usual skull/blood/sword images, which exactly suits my son.

Comment by Lea on February 6, 2015 at 9:30am

Wow!  So happy to hear Andy is doing so well.  You have every right to be beaming with pride.  He is diffidently man on a mission.  I bet he played Monopoly growing up and always won.  

From reading about Andy over the years, what has impressed me the most is his kind heart. 

Thanks for sharing Andy with us. 

Comment by alex2toes on February 6, 2015 at 5:15am

Julie, that is an answer full of love and pride. I can imagine you just beaming with pride when you think about your son and what he has accomplished. 

Comment by 1~17smom (Julie) on February 5, 2015 at 10:21pm

Lea - so how much time do you have :)  I get worn out just thinking about everything he's doing.  He invested his two deployment payments in 2 rental units in Nevada, which pay for their own mortgages plus the house that he and his wife bought for themselves.  They just bought 10 acres also in Nevada, with the plan to rent out their own house after they build their own "off the grid" house on the property (he hates being beholden to anyone).  He got his AA in Business, and is now starting his junior year at the University of Nevada.  He's all stressed out that he won't get his MBA until he's 30.  He's 23.  I told him to cool out.  Pffft. He works part time as an armed security guard (which I hate -- I wanted him to have a SAFE job, for crying out loud).  That was just the easiest job to get with his background and they can work around his school schedule.  His wife works full time while saving to finish her last two years of college.  Oh, yeah, and they have 3 dogs -- of course.  I get tired just thinking about their lives.  On the up side, my brother gave him a ukulele and that's his new favorite thing.  He's such a happy guy when he gets to play music . . .  although his wife is kind of sick of it.  We have dinner via Skype at least once a week.  I feel like a really lucky mom.

He still think like a Marine.  Not a lot of patience for people who move too slowly (which is everyone but him).  He and his wife are good for each other, I think.

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