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This picture was taken on the day that Matt left for bootcamp. It was Nov 13th, 2005; nearly four years ago. I know that we look a lot older these days and a lot has changed in the years since this picture was taken. But I was just thinking about how funny ‘time’ is, because I remember this day like it was yesterday. I remember driving with Matt’s mom, Sheila, and his brother and sister to the recruiter’s office and waiting for the recruiter to come meet us there. I remember the last hug and kiss and then watching him get into the car and waving as they drove away heading west. I thought to myself “I won’t see him for three months.” Four years of the Marines seemed like FOREVER. Bootcamp steadily clicked by as I worked my way through my sophomore year of college. Entering into the Nursing program kept me plenty busy, but still, three months seemed like it took a long time to pass. Soon enough though, I was on an airplane with Matt’s family, flying to California to watch him graduate Marine Corps bootcamp. That was February, 2006.
It is now July, 2009, and Matt and I are a day less than 2 months away from going on terminal leave from the Marines. He has more or less saved up his leave/vacation days and stock piled them so he can take them at the end and get out of the Marines sooner. Instead of being done with Activy Duty on Nov 13th, he’ll start on Sept 23rd. We have less than two months left in the Marines and 2 months and one day left in Hawaii. I just can’t wrap my head around how fast time has passed. It’d such a paradox too; when I break down the last 3.5-4 years and think about everything that happened during them, I really realize how different we are now than we were then. 4 years, 2 Iraq deployments, 2 duty stations, and countless training experiences and many often frustrating/sometimes interesting days later, Matt just finished up his college Math class with a solid A. Anyone knowing his first bout in college leading up the his entry to the Marines knows that is about a 180 degree turn. For me, a bachelors degree in Nursing, 3 trips to CA, 5 trips to HI, and finally moving here and setting up our first house later… plus enduring 2 Iraq deployments, and trying to make up for missed holidays with extensively creative carepackages, I am now 23 instead of the 19 year old sophomore I was when he left. I have traveled many times by myself, something that I had never done before flying to CA to see Matt. I flew to HI once by myself and proceeded to stay a night in Waikiki alone, before going to base the following day to welcome Matt home from Iraq. Something I never would have imagined I’d do, before the Marines came into play. Lots has happened in the last 4 years, for both us, including our engagement and our marriage. We are heading toward our 2 year wedding anniversary, which again, boggles my mind! Two years already! I feel like it might be like 6 months ago or something, not 2 years!
The concept of Time never fails to amaze me and throw me into a spin of contemplation, just like it did here. The paradox of how it feels like 4 years ago was just yesterday, and how so much has happened during them, always gets to me. They say life continues to move faster as you get older, and I am not sure how that is possible yet I don’t doubt it. I guess the key to squeezing every last drop of happiness and experience out of those years is to take things day by day as much as possible, and try to focus on the here and now as to not miss the joys around us by focusing too much on what’s coming ahead…
I feel like those of us in the military know this last one all to well, because we fall into this trap so much. I am so guilty of it too. When I was in school, all I could think was ‘as soon as I graduate, I’ll get to be with Matt’. When we were engaged, it was ‘I can’t wait until the wedding.’ Once I graduated, Matt left for Iraq, so I was always thinking, ‘I can’t wait to move to Hawaii and have Matt come home from Iraq.’ Now that we are nearing our time here, we find ourselves saying ‘I can’t wait to get back home.’ While all of those things were true, and we really are excited to get back home, I am thankful for the time that we’ve had here, and for the two months that we still have to experience things here. This is such a beautiful place, and I want to soak it up while we can. It’s a lesson to be learned, to try to enjoy the present while being totally excited for the future.
So 4 years later, here we are. The same but oh so different too. The future is going to hold a lot of changes for us, but my hope is that we can keep what is truly important in mind and in focus. Family, friends, God, love, and health are the most important. The rest is just details. So as TIME continues to sweep by us in the whirlwind of life, I pray that we can all stop and smell the roses today and say a prayer of thanks for the little blessings in our lives. While we all undoubtedly have parts of our lives that we wish were different, better, or easier, there are so many good things in each of our lives. That’s where we should place our focus. Let’s try that this weekend, yeah? God bless you all!
So much of what you wrote rings true for all of us no matter what our age. Your thoughts have caused me to reflect on daily living and that is good! Love you, mom.