Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The "Death of the Party"

That's what he called me. I used to be called the "Life of the Party," but now I have succumbed to the dreaded "Dead-Zone." Rewind to Saturday: we had a going-away party for Philip, he is a Marine on his way to his first tour to Iraq. So we decided to have a party for him; celebrate his manhood, or how proud we are; mostly praying and hoping he will come back.
His job - he explained like this - "watch Black Hawk Down, that's my job! First man out on supply and demand chain in a hummvee. Need to watch for snipers, insurgents, IED(road bombs). I just hope I come back with my arms and legs. Most guys lose half their faces and hearing." UGH!!! So I'll skip the movie and head straight to prayer, thank you very much. It doesn't sound so reassuring; but he is well-trained, well-armed and ready, (as I guess you can be) to go.

But we, as his family, are biting our nails. His father and mother have already lost a child at 15; so this is just added stress to their hearts and to the hearts of the rest of his family. This has been an enormous growing experience for Philip; I'm sure nothing of what is to come. He tells us that men are constantly telling him he will be different. We know he will. He already is.

I am proud of this young Marine. Not just because he is my step-son, but because of who he is, and what he has done. At 20 years old, after attaining his GED, he decided to go back to HS so he could join the Marines. Go back to High School at 20 years old??? Would you, after you've already recieved your equivalency diploma? Not I, thank you very much; but he did. The Marines would not accept his GED. He needed a High School diploma to be a member of the elite -"The Few, The Proud, The Marines." I give him a lot of credit. It wasn't easy for him, but he did it.

At first, he wanted to join the Navy; they gladly accepted his GED; but after his good buddy enlisted with the corp, went to boot camp and came home a "gentleman," there was no turning back for Philip. There was no changing his mind either. We all tried. His Dad tried to tell him that going to the Navy would be better, afterall, he did sign up. We saw the big carriers in the shipyard in Virginia while we were there. That was incredible. But his mind was set. His Nonna wanted him to see Italy, her homeland - certainly the Navy would bring him there. His mother, she was afraid he'd be killed. As any loving mother would be. But Philip wanted to be a Marine. He had a desire, a passion, burning inside him, like nothing before.

And I am so proud to say, that he is a MARINE! OORAH!! He's earned his uniform and wears it well. And now he is serving his country, our country. Going to a nation that hates Americans. Despise the freedoms that many of us take for granted. He is to be on his utmost and best behavior in a hostile land, while protecting the "friendly" Iraqi people, helping to make their nation "safe." But will it ever be that - safe? And at what cost to our children, our brothers and sisters, fathers, mothers? Who will keep them safe? Each other, of course. More importantly, God, our Heavenly Father, will watch over our Philip, as He will watch over them. So our stresses, of "what if..." or "what about..." are only going to hurt us. There is nothing we can do, but pray, and wait.

So on Saturday, we celebrated Philip. Because we are proud of him. We are very VERY hurt that we need to send him away again; knowing that in a few short weeks, he will be off to his first tour. A very dangerous tour. But we celebrated him and his decision to defend our country. To go back to high school! To stick to his own decision, and not be manipulated by anyone. Not us. Not the Navy. His friends. He wanted to be a Marine. Philip IS a Marine.

Unfortunately on Saturday, a storm came for me. I ended up in my room, dark curtains drawn. Abortives not effective - Migraine at a 10! Defeated. Even the Marine couldn't beat my enemy. I needed something far stronger. I ended up giving in to the beast a little too late, on Monday, in the hosp, after severe dehydration and now a 10+. Why can't they teach the Marines to battle Migraines!!! Can you just see it with those sharp-dressed blues, white caps, swords to the sides; there to battle the monster within! OORAH! Go get 'em soldier!!

This was, by far, the quickest I've ever gotten better. I needed to see Philip before he left back to his base camp. He left this morning. He's called maybe 3 times since. The house is so quiet when he leaves. Dreadfully quiet. I can't wait until he comes back. Nicholas doesn't understand the extent of this leave. He truly adores his big brother. They call each other, (get this) "MAGOT!!" - all the Marine's out there will get that. I think I'll just leave it at that. I don't even think he really knows he's gone yet.

So if you pray, please put our Philip in your prayers. We love him. We are very proud of him; he has come a long way. He's been through a lot for a young man his age. I am very proud of this Marine. I would post his pic, but because of the situation he is going in, I'd rather not at this time.. Pray for his Mom and Dad, Nonna and Nonno, his Sister, step-Sisters, and step-Brother, they are going to miss him terribly. For his family, which is just huge, who will be missing him and fearing for him. And hey, pray for all of our soldiers. They're there for a reason. Don't believe too much media - REALLY! Not too much different than say, high school gossip. Highly over-rated. Just talk to a veteran. Or someone who's been overseas. Someone who is serving. Pray for their families.

Ok, wishing all a pain-free day

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