It seems like a long time ago that we sat in our car in the driveway in Tyler, Texas, Mike with cell phone in hand - a weighty decision to be made. Mike had dreamed of flying fighter jets in the Marine Corps for some time. He had been through all of the entry process, filled out all the forms and endured the mental and the physical tests. He was told he was too old for a flight contract, but his recruiter said he could possibly get an age waiver. He held on to that hope for months. Finally the day came when he learned he was not granted the flight contract, but was invited to join the Marine Corps on a ground contract, with a 50/50 chance of gaining a flight contract during the second phase of training.
We were given an hour or so to decide what the next decade of our lives would hold. So there we sat in the car, debating whether he should join on the ground contract and pray for a flight deal, or decline the offer entirely. To that point, Mike had not found purpose and self worth in the jobs he had held. He was drawn to do something much bigger, and for a much greater cause. I knew he would regret not serving his country, not taking a chance at the flight contract for the rest of his life. So I encouraged him to join, knowing to an extent the sacrifice it would bring for both of us. He made the phone call.
Two months later, we sat in a hotel room near the Dallas Fort Worth Airport. Mike prepared to leave for Officer Candidate School for the next three months. He was not allowed to see me, to call me or to e-mail. His absence was very hard to bear. At the time I didn't realize it was just a small test for a much larger absence that will surely come.
It's now been almost 10 months since we chose this path. Mike is now an officer in the USMC and is attending The Basic School here in Virginia. I am happy to tell you he has been granted a flight contract. We will be moving to Pensacola, FL, in March to begin his flight training. The training will last about two years, possibly in different places, before his inevitable first deployment. My heart drops every time I think of it, but it's a reality we must face. I try not to let it enter my mind.
Mike has come a long way in the last year. I'm very, very proud of him. He has done well so far and is ranked very high in his company of 265 Marines. The military lifestyle is not easy, but I love Mike to the ends of earth and back and would not be anywhere else than by his side. We are happy together and ask for your prayers as we sail to the next chapter. I must say I'm thankful this chapter will be near the sand. :)