This I Believe

Melissa - Willowick, Ohio
Entered on February 3, 2007
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: family, fear, setbacks, war

This I believe – it’s not in my job description to sleep.

I remember the day sleep got away from me. It was that year, at the Marine Corp Ball when they strangely called a formation. You were told that you would be going. Somewhere. Africa, maybe, but it turned out Iraq.

Many sleepless nights passed. Christmas. New Years. Sydney’s first birthday. My new job. Then, you left in June.

Later that month, Grandma B passed. I needed you. You were in training and could not come. Someone gave Syd a picture of you. I was holding back tears throughout the wake and looked up to see her kiss that picture and lost my every bearing.

I went home and could not sleep.

You came home for two weeks in-between training. Leading up to seeing you, I couldn’t sleep. When you were there, I needed every minute of you – I could not sleep. When you left I knew the next time I would see you would be to see you off. I could not sleep.

I told myself I had to keep myself together so I can keep going for the family – for work! But, I wasn’t just going crazy – I was again pregnant with your child. I was so excited and scared – I remember nothing but waiting for your call. I feel like it changed the way you made decisions while you were gone and it made me feel closer to you. I thank God for that.

But August still came and you were leaving for Iraq. I drove to the base to see you – I was overwhelmed with fatigue. Megan drove most of the way. I slept a lot, when I wasn’t soothing Sydney. She cut 3 teeth later that week, you know. It’s one of the first things you missed.

We checked into our room, you filled the atmosphere and somehow, I was comforted by you just being there. I realized then, I was at home anywhere that you were and I slept. We shared 3 wonderful days.

There was word that you would be home in March. Quinn was due soon. I still had to work. Each night I slept less. I was filled with excitement about our new house I bought – without you. I was afraid – were you going to be the same person? Would Sydney remember you? Was I going to go into labor before you came home? Would you like the house?

March came. You arrived. Eight days later, so did Quinn. Life was hectic again. Quinn ate every two hours. Sydney needed us. We both had nightmares. The house flooded. Work got busy. You left for two weeks to go to Corporals Course and three more for Martial Arts Instructor School. Last summer, I felt like I would never sleep again…

This fall, I just started to feel settled into our new lives, our new home. We’ve adapted to the nightmares, we’re past the arguing. Quinn will be one soon and he sleeps through the night. Our family has a routine.

Then the other day, you told me you felt anxiety – that you fear getting deployed again. You started to withdraw from me. You told me that Marines, that just came home when you did, are leaving again. I just don’t think it’s in my cards. As a mother, as a wife – it’s just not in my job description to sleep.