Despite combat, I still know my child best
When our son returned from his third deployment, we could tell that something wasn’t right. We knew that there had been subtle changes even after the first and second deployments, but we could see a significant change after his return from deployment number three. We weren’t quite sure what was going on, and he really didn’t want to talk about it.
We tried to respect his privacy and we figured that his adjustment was just going to take a bit longer this time. Prior to deployment, we had a very open and positive relationship with our son. He would often share his hopes and dreams with us, and he would often come to us for advice. Family was important to him and he made a point to include us in his life as much as possible, though we were separated by hundreds of miles and five years of military service.
He didn’t talk about his work as a Marine, but he always talked about his buddies. He would bring them home with him on long weekends and it wasn’t unusual for him to put the guys on the phone whenever we were having a conversation. Even from the early days of our son’s entry into the fleet, there were always a handful of Marines calling me “Mom”. Over the years, I’ve taken a bunch of Marines to lunch, and more than once this old lady has been invited to a barbecue with Marines and their wives or girlfriends.