Monday, October 4, 2010

why the marine corps?

incredibly lengthy story to follow.
so every once in a blue moon,
actually quite often,
i run into someone who asks
about the marine corps/law school decision.
the conversation usually goes sumthin like this:
me: i can't buy that totally hot vintage bike cuz i'm poor.
dude: why are you poor?
me: cuz we are drowning in law school loan debt.
dude: but didn't the marine corps pay for law school?
me: no.
dude: WHAT?! then why did he join the marines?
me: ughhhh...
so, to answer every one's question
(that i seem to be answering every day of my life for some reason)
i thought a blog post was fitting.
i wish Lover was here to tell the story.
he loves making me out to be the evil wife
who doesn't want her husband to live his life long dreams.
not really.
but kinda.
i'm gonna switch to story mode typing because it's kinda long.
let's get started:
for those of you who didn't know, Lover and i were high school sweethearts. we didn't go to the same high school, but nevertheless, still sweethearts at the high school age. so i think the term still fits. no? anywho. the only reason that has any importance to this particular story is to prove that we spent countless hours together.
days and days and days.
730 days to be exact.
and that's only counting the days we were actually "going together". but even before that, our groups of friends hung out quite often and even after we broke up, we remained best friends.
let the record show, that during this courtship, my Lover
never ONCE mentioned the marine corps.
nope. not once.
did we talk about marriage? yea. lots of the time.
did we talk about children? yep. had names picked out and everything.
the fact is, we talked about EvErYtHinG.
or so i thought.
now after 2 years of dating, my Lover left for a church mission where he spent 2 MORE years living a life away from me in samara, russia.
he loved his mission.
if you get him talking about it even today, he will never stop.
during that time we spoke on the phone 4 times.
but we wrote tons and tons and TONS of letters back and forth.
he was my best friend, and i was his.
and just like every other cinderella story,
my dreams came true when he returned home and just like that,
we fell back in love with each other and were married just 6 months later.
i was only 13.
mormons marry their daughters young.
it's so they stay looking pretty longer.
just kidding.
no but for real, i looked 13 and that's all that matters.
and Lover? well, i'll give him a few years.
let's say 16.
but not really. remember, i'm kidding.
or am i?

so after our blissful first few months spent doing nothing but making out on the only two pieces of furniture in our house, we needed a short break.
to catch our breaths.
and apply chapstick.
to all areas.
just kidding.
not really.
but kinda.
and during that break, i turned to my Lover and said,
what now?
what are we going to do?
where are you going to work forever?
where are we going to build our home for eternity?
and my Lover looked at me with his soggy asian face
and told me that he was going to enlist in the marine corps.
he wanted to be an infantry marine. a devil dog. a grunt.

after i spent about 6 hours doing a little of this...

i realized that he was indeed,

and then i realized that the poor boy needed nothing but a stern talking to from his ever so wise and intelligent wife.
(and maybe a kick in the shins from his dad)

which by the way, did the trick and i "assumed" (key word here) that i had shaken the boy from the thought of joining the military.

crazy kid.
who would want to join the military?
weirdos, that's who.

so life went on.
then Lover went to college at UTA and majored in russian.
which is the perfect degree choice for someone planning on having 5 kids, and raising them and putting them through college, and buying them cars, and paying for a wedding and four missions.


but we were young and in love and it didn't matter what he was going to school for because the only thing that mattered was that,
he was going.
and i was so proud of him :)

by the way,
at this stage of our life i was busy makin and birthin babies so we had a few under our belt as Lover's undergraduate career came to a close.

and then there we were.
we were still young and in love,
but armed with a degree!!
a degree we thought would buy us the world!
not really.
but it came time, after all that schooling, to find a real job.

and what does my Lover bring up once more?

lots of this.
and that's putting it lightly.
because not only was there laughing but there was crying, and screaming and fighting and gnashing of teeth and punching and i'm pretty sure there was even a little throwing mixed in there. oh yes.
i threw a few items.

but in my defense,
i grew up with no one in my family (that i was close to) in the military.
to me, it made no sense to join.
i assumed that if you joined the military,
you were committing yourself to a life of ultimate death.
i know that sounds crazy, but it's true.
those were my real thoughts.
i could never grasp WHY Lover would ever want to leave his family,
his wife.
his kids. babies.
and join something that would take him far far away from us for long periods of time.
maybe even forever?
to me, it meant that he didn't love us as much as we loved him.
no one who loved their family would ever want to join the military.
no one.
it hurt me to discuss it with him and over time, the topic of the marine corps became such a sensitive subject in our home that even mentioning the name would spark emotions that could break a marriage apart.
no joke.
things had become very tense in our home.
we were stuck.
we were stuck because Lover wanted something so badly.
so. incredibly. badly.
and i wouldn't allow it to happen.

several years passed as Lover bounced from random job to random job trying to find something that fit. trying to find something that would make him as happy as being an infantry officer.
but nothing would.
because how can something that isn't THE ONE THING, make you happy?

and so it was.
our house was functioning,
my Lover was providing,
but there was no happiness.
it seemed as though life was just a day to day repetitive motion
that we lived in just to get by.

i never prayed about the subject because i held true to my beliefs that his desires were crazy talk. i honestly believed that i was right and he was wrong.

until one day.
i went to a playgroup, that i never usually would go to.
i was invited by a friend.
and i didn't really want to go because i wouldn't know anyone.
but i went.
which is very unlike me.

and there at the playgroup was a mom.
just like me.
she was young.
and she had kids about the same age as mine.
and we started talking.
and come to find out, her husband was...
a marine.
and i jokingly told her that my husband wishes he could be a marine,
but i would NEVER want to live a life like that.
and instead of shrugging off my comment.
(or being a real big B which is what she should have done)
she said to me,
(in not so many words)
"the marine corps has been the greatest part of our lives. without it, i don't know where we would be. and i know that my husband is a better man because of it. he's a better father and a better partner because he's doing what makes him happy and nothing can compare to that."

and i sat there.
and all of a sudden, an incredibly strong
and i mean STRONG
feeling came over me.
and i found myself in tears, covered in goosebumps.
and i heard a still small voice, telling me that i needed to pray.
and i knew at that very moment,
what it was that i needed to pray about.
and even more than that.
i knew what the answer would be.
and i was scared to death because this concept of being in the military seemed so scary and foreign to my lifestyle.
and i didn't want to tell Lover what i felt and heard that afternoon.
i wanted to keep it all bottled up inside of me.
but it was too strong.
too big.
too important.

and so that night,
i told my Lover what happened.

and i saw by looking in his eyes,
years and years and years of relief come over him.
and he told me that he had been praying
for the longest time,
for my heart to be softened to the idea of the military,
if it be thy will of the Lord.

and guess what?
it was the will of the Lord.
it was.
and i'll never understand why it took so long for me to have that moment of recognition,
but everything happens for a reason and at the precise moment in time.

we didn't just jump right into it head first,
we were practical.
and i think possibly, those years and years of my stubbornness were crucial
because they made Lover look into other options and see things in a different light.
he knew that he wanted to provide for his family.
and he knew we would have a large family.
so it made sense to him to go into the marine corps,
with an alternative job plan.

and because he's very obviously good at getting what he wants,
law school seemed fitting.
and after much prayer,
we knew that this was the right direction to go in.

so i sent my Lover off to officer candidate school.
a 13 week school in Quantico, VA.
that was the longest i had ever been away from him.
and it was hard.
and it was different.
because none of my friends or family really understood me or the reason why it was so important for Lover to be in the marine corps.
and i'll admit.
at that point, i didn't truly understand it either.
i only did it because i was told to do it and i had faith that we had made the right decision.

(no this is not Lover but this IS officer candidate school)

and when Lover returned home,
he was a bona fide marine officer.
and that's when i got my first "perk" of military life.
seeing your Lover in a uniform.
nothing compares.

the next three years were spent living the law school life.
Lover would check in with the marines every so often, but his only "mission" at that time, was to finish within three years, keep his grades up, and pass the bar within two tries.

luckily, i married a rockstar
and he passed it the first time.
woot woot.

when law school was over, real military life started to begin.
Lover left me again for another school called the basic school.
this is where they train to become fighters.
because every marine is trained to be a fighter,
before anything else.

so Lover's newly earned law degree was pushed aside for 6 months,
and he became Lover the marine.

he learned a lot at tbs.
how to throw grenades,
one on one combat,
(not that he needed any extra help there *wink wink*)

how to carry large weapons,

and how to master the monkey bars.

but most importantly,
he learned how to look smokin hot in his cammies.
and he aced that one.

and finally,
the big day came.

the day my little 'ole, normal everyday average joe LOVER,
Captain Lowe
Judge Advocate of the United States Marine Corps

that's all i can say to best describe how i felt that day.
just proud.
to see my Lover become something that he had dreamt about his entire life meant more to me than anything else. and it was just around that same time that i think it finally hit me.
i knew.
i understood what it meant to Lover to be a U.S. Marine.
it meant honor.
honor to his family, to his lineage of whom his father, his grandfather, and his great grandfather along with an uncle who were all marines.
honor to his country.
honor to his wife.
honor to his battalion that he serves today in afghanistan.
honor to those who faught before him in other battles.
honor to those who do not yet walk this earth.
i don't think, up until that point of recognition, that i had ever Loved him so much as i did that day.
and each day since then, it continues to just grow and grow and grow.
and like that random girl at playgroup said to me,
there is no comparison to having a husband, who is so incredibly in love with his job.
my home is happy and spirit-filled.
and life is perfect.

on the downside, these awesome dudes...

don't give a rats butt that you went to law school so they don't pay for it.
you are a marine, because you want to be a marine.
not because you want your education paid for.
which is both good and bad.

so that leaves the Lowes,
right about...
which means dave ramsey is a false god to me.
not really.
but kinda.

this is a long one, i warned you.
but since we're on the topic of my Lover,
here is a little taste of his life in afghanipoo.

this is Lover's bedroom.
he sleeps on a cot in his tent.
but that's only because he's lucky and he's in the command center.
more than 3/4ths of the 1000 guys who make up his battalion,
sleep. in. the. dirt.

but that tent doesn't mean anything because he spends the majority of his time in his office. which is mega fancy.

doing this.
artsy huh?
that's alllllll Lover's doing.

so long story short,
yes he's in the marine corps.
no they didn't pay for his law school.
yes he does law related work in afghanipoo
and no, there is no other marine that looks as hot as he does in his cammies.
i'm just sayin.
you can't deny the facts.

ooh-rah Lover.
we miss you.
we're proud of you.
we love you.
and we know without a shadow of doubt,
that you're supposed to be no other place on this earth
at this very moment,
than where you are
right. now.
and we wouldn't have things any other way.


Kristina P. said...

I really needed to read this post. Replace "Marine" with "Firefighter", and I could have written this. Firefighting was never in the plan for us. But here we are!

Oh, and I was totally a super old maid when I got married, at 25.

Allyson & Jere said...

Ok, seriously, Kristina P and i are gonna have to stop meeting up like this. Sheesh!

How is it that i'm like commentro number 2. WIERD!

What a FANTASTIC post! No really, it was so GREAT and something I needed to read. You could replace Marine with actor for my husband. Granted, there certainly isn't near the "honor" in the whole actor thing, but the way you felt about it, the fears you described, the ability you had to hold him back...exactly what's a goin on here. I'm not sure I'm raedy to let go and let God just yet, that would be my own lack of faith I s'pose. BUT, none the less, I appreciate that you shared this story.

Oh, and also, your Lover is totally cutes magoo in the cammies. I hope he remains safe and well in his swanky tent and work environment and gets home much SOONER than later!

lynette said...

isn't it amazing how life takes you in a direction you never expected. a direction that, at first, seems scary and undesirable. but, when we are faithful and follow the lord's plan for us, we are so much happier!

when i lived in singapore, we met a couple that both served their mission in samara, russia. they even named their oldest daughter samara. not sure if your marine will see this, but here is their blog:

maybe he knows them!

as always, loved the post! :)

Taylor said...

OMG girl, this made me cry. What a beautiful love you two have, and what a wonderful story. True love is allowing someone the freedom to be who they are, even if we don't understand it at first, or even agree with it. Your honesty and always refreshing humor sure shine through in this post. Thank you for sharing your story.

Megan Smith said...

Your posts always hit home! I wish I could have read this 3 yrs ago or I wouldn't have talked my hubs out of the army for so long.. Thankfully God opened my eyes last month and realized he would not be happy until he was carrying out his dreams in the army.. I could have written this post! Thank you..! He leaves for basics end of January for 14 wks.. Heres to hoping God give me the strength to make it that long without him!

Le said...

I really did read the whole post but I still can't believe the Marines don't have college benefits like all the other branches of the armed forces....

Untypically Jia said...

This is seriously my very favourite post that you've ever written. I'm going to read this post over and over again to remind me to be grateful and have an attitude of having a perfect life. And to also trust in the will of the Lord. I so rarely do that.

We're in debt BECAUSE we didn't listen to the still small voice.

Jess said...

What a beautiful story of faith! And ultimately allowing God to be in control. Proud of him for serving our country and for you supporting him.

Justine said...

In the back of my mind, I knew Lover was Asian, but I wasn't sure at the same time.

And wow, I'm glad to know that the marines really DO NOT pay for Law School.

And you are so...I am at lost for allow your husband to carry on with his dream.

I can't wait until he gets to come home to you and your family!

Just Better Together

Losing Brownies said...

Thank you for sharing this! I think it's amazing what God says to us through prayers. Its as if he called you to that play date to hear those words!

Chernobyl said...

You crazy kids. I would so totally be laughing at you for really looking 13 in that wedding photo, except, I think I look about that old too. I can't believe Pool Chlor wasn't enough to fulfill Austin's dreams. Geez.

Betsy said...

I might borrow your story (or parts of it) to explain why I'm ok with hubby STAYING in the good old USMC for another... 16-22 years. Or better yet, prove I wasn't "young" when we got married ;) (at 22)

<3 u

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the tearsssssssssssssss

april said...

I'm happy for you and glad that you don't take your blessings for granted. A marriage like yours...and a life like yours...(and who are we kidding...a butt like yours and Lover's for that matter....not like I've checked it out) is what we all strive for.

U rock my friend.

Anonymous said...

About FREAKIN time! I love you. You're the best ever.

Unknown said...

Beautiful post. I think I'll be bookmarking it and reading it again. I too have a husband who needed to follow his 'impossible dream' and I'm glad I've been with him on the journey.

Rhythm Divine said...

First of all you are a true LOVER. I couldn't stop reading this post despite its length. Don't know why but my heart felt so much blissful that I had tears in my eyes. God bless you with a long long long happy life together.... :)

A Beautiful Life said...

first off, that's a whole lot of Eggroll, and now I'm salivating. thx.
Secondly, i heart your story. It may have taken a while, but it's always amazing to see the Lord's will play out in our lives and I love that you understood when you felt it, and regardless of debt and other things, you guys went for it, and through the hardships you are better people and Eggroll is happy in what he is doing, creating a better environment and example for you and your kiddos.
Thirdly, i completely understand, cuz I married a banker...and a year into our marriage Teddy came to me, talking about the Air Force and Intelligence and possibly FBI someday and my jaw hit the floor. I could tell right away this was something he was TOTALLY passionate about. None of my family either, or his for that matter have ever been in the military. So we were in it together through numerous training schools and deployments and it fits him. like he has told me before, there's a "reason" he's so damn good at his job, it's what he's supposed to be doing. His family doesn't understand, and gives him crap for leaving us, which IRKS me to NO END, but at least he know he has my 100% support and he's a better person for our family to have because he is passionate and loves what he is doing. I like what you said, it makes us proud and it makes him proud to be doing something purposeful.
SORRY!!! this is your post, i love love loved it, just understand is all, you guys are da beeeeeeest!!!


So my husband is in the Army (guard) and in Law school now. We aren't getting law school paid for either but he did ROTC with his undergrad of SPANISH so we got some benefits there. BUT I'm scared to death to take out mega student loans. He has worked active duty guard for the last 5 years and hopefully after a training in the spring can do that again to make us money. Our savings is depleting and come next year loans will be our option. Any advice?

zoo keeper said...

ya so my husband sprays noxious weeds and lawns for a living, BUTT i mean BUT he does love what he does and you can't ask for more then that!

Charity said...

I have to say that I love all your posts, but this one is my favorite. You actually had me tears. Submitting ourselves to the will of the Lord is tough, but we are definitely blessed by that. Austin has some powerful prayers to arrange such a by chance meeting. Which means he is definitely protected where he is now. I am happy that he is following his dream and that he has such a beautiful family to support him!

Camilla said...

that post made me cry.

Anonymous said...

Dang girl! I'm cracking my neck after that post... and grabbing a kleenex. I always said I wouldn't marry a military man after growing up military. So what did I do. First. I joined up. I met a guy in the military. Fell in love. Got married. We both went civilian. Then he says..."I gotta go back." He hated civie life. So off I went to follow my love around the country. The things I do for that handsome man. Oh and the uniform thing is such a perk. Oh yes it is.

daniella said...

Aww, thanks for sharing that with us, Gus-Gus! It's not an easy life but rewarding and nostalgic (at times) nonetheless. Praying for his safety there in the poo-stan.

And you do look about 12 in that picture.

Ashley said...

I read every bit, great story! Good for your lover for following his dreams and for you for putting up with it. :)

Amanda said...

thx for sharing;) enjoyed it!!!!

Missy said...

This was a great post. Sometimes it's so hard to let go of our ideas about what things are going to be like and trust that God will take care of us.

Trish said...

Love your post! I am married to a State Trooper,(but thank goodness he warned me up front that was want he wanted to do with his life....even though when we meet when he was a MP in the Army). Yep, I married him when I was 19 and we have been together 15 years now.
Thank your hubs for me for all he does!!! They are ALL heroes!!!

Write Chick said...

This was an AMAZING post. So even though it was long, I read the whole thing. All of It. And I totally agree that we get inspirations in the unlikeliest (is that a word?) places. My hubby is still looking for the job that would make him happy. Your post gave me hope that he might find it one day.
Although, I have to be honest, I hope it isn't in the military. That stuff scares me to death.

ashley @ little miss momma said...

All I can say is this is such a beautiful post and it brings so much perspective to the rest of us--and I am facebooking a link pronto!

Caitlin said...

Little miss momma posted a link to this blog on facebook and i am so glad she did. I really truly admire you for letting your husband do what makes him happy. I have been having doubts about letting my husband follow his dream bc i dont think it will provide for our family, but I know that God will, and i do want him to be happy. i read all of your story and i am so thankful i did. thank you so much for sharing this. it was very easy to read, you are a great writer.

Living the Scream said...

I loved reading this! What an amazing journey. Life is crazy!!

lisa said...

To be honest I only touch and go your blog, But LMM ashley linked this post onto FB and I just had to come and read this amazing post. I am not involved personally with the military. However I salute and support TONS of friends,strangers, and military wives alike. I have a friend who is struggling with her husband being deployed while she is newly stationed overseas with their 2 kids. I linked this to her, so she can see she is not alone. Thank you for writing such a meaningful post and pulling on my heartstrings with your amazing strength and courage.

dena said...

you were 13.

thanks anonymous (if, in fact, you are austin) for sleeping in those crazy quarters and being away from all your people for so long. muchas gracias and 大感謝!!

Vicki said...

Tears...happy ones...for you and your Lover and all those kids and for the Marines who should be proud to have your proud Marine and his proud Marine family. May an abundance of God's richest blessing flow over all of your family.

What a beautiful couple you are and thank you so much for serving our country. ♥ Vicki

Cory and Becca said...

Hi just found you through another link and wow...almost my story exactly, including the law school debt but minus the 5 kids and the hubbs still has 4 weeks of TBS. Everytime I make a payment on our law school debt I wonder, 'why did we do the Marines & not Idk, any other branch in the military in which they do pay for it?', & then the memories of those strong spiritual confirmations come back and I breathe again.LOL.

Estell said...

This is amazing. It gave me goosebumps lol My boyfriend went through a week or so of wanting to join the air force because he didnt know what to do...Even that was scary for me. I cant imagine how much you have to pull through but I really envy you and look up to you!

Unknown said...

LOVE this post. You guys are awesome.

Unknown said...

This is pretty much one of the most amazing posts I've ever read. I laughed, I cried, I was on the edge of my seat. Thanks so much for sharing your story!

Jen said...

Wow... amazing story and post.
My dad is in the Air force up in Canada. I am proud of him every day. He loves his job and our whole family. He protects us and the country/home he loves.
I have friends/boyfriend who can't understand why anyone would join the military. I can't even find the words to explain why it's so important.
My dad was also a recruit instructor for 2 years(he sadly just got promoted and had to leave it).
He was so proud of every student that passed through. He knew they would do great things. They were his third and fourth children.. well as many children as there was in his class,lol.
He has made his two daughters and wife proud.
Your husband is doing an amazing thing and so are you.
Thanks again for sharing your story.

Karen said...

So basically you were just my girl at the playground.

The husband and I have been arguing about this for years (seriously) and after reading your post (and the rest of your blog) I feel at peace. You're rocking the whole Marine experience, you seem normal and put together, AND you're doing it with 5 kiddos.

Ps. I found you through the daybook, and I'm so glad I read your story. I've searched the internet for the wife's perspective and haven't found anything that comes close to this post.

Thank you.

Emily said...

This is the coolest story ever. My boy left for basic training for the Marine Corps a few days ago. I might have cried.... A lot..... ;)
Much love x

Troy & Christine Reich said...

I read this again when you posted today. Thanks again for sharing. You are a better wife and mother because he is a happy Marine. We will miss you. Please keep up your blogging and tell us all about Japan. Have a wonderful 3 years.

Troy & Christine Reich said...

I just read it again. Thanks for reminding me why you are such a happy wife and mother because you have a happy Marine husband. Good luck in Japan and keep blogging. I enjoy your stories and adventures.