by Kama Shockey, Marine Corps spouse
Dear 2012 Kama,
I’ve been thinking a lot about you lately, missing all the great times we’ve had. Man, were we wild! Remember the time we went with friends from Holland to that beach in Normandy? Hiding in that bunker, sipping sweet white wine… maybe even sharing a space cake?
I know you remember living in Spain, when the bombs on those train in Madrid had everyone frightened, but we held it together and watched all that Spanish-language news. And you must remember that amazing SCUBA trip in St. John, when we dove down and saw all that wreckage from the war. Shrapnel in the water, casings everywhere. Wild. That water was beautiful, right? Oh, and Alaska! Hiking, camping and running with a gun in case we ran into a bear-so exciting. What a trip this life has been.
So what have you been up to since then? I know you said you always wanted to be alone, never marry. Did that happen? What about after college-did you get that degree and take charge? Bet you’ve got a corner office. Is life still crazy and full of parties? Let’s get together soon! You must have wild stories to share.
With much love,
Your Former Self
Dear Former Self,
Wow, it’s been a while since I thought about all that! In truth, life is beautiful, but nothing at all the same. When I came across photos of us the last time I moved, I hardly recognized you.
Yes, we were crazy back then. How do I explain the path life took after that last trip to Alaska? I’ll just say it: I moved to Hawaii and met a Marine. How crazy is that? After all my liberal preaching, I ended up with a right-wing warrior who voted for Bush. Twice. And he owns a gun. Yeah, you read that right.
I know what you’re thinking, but hold your judgment until I tell you about him, and us. I think about the times you and I had, and cringe just a little. Ben, my husband, is hiding in a bunker right now, or something like that, fighting for his life. He runs with a rifle strapped to his chest and carries a pistol, in case he comes upon insurgents.
He has buddies that were sent home with shrapnel wounds, and some killed by bombs. This is his third tour over there. I never thought-you never thought-I’d find myself both married and alone. How were we so disconnected from it all back then? It’s fine that we had fun, but so many big things were happening around us.
We were in the midst of our young lives with no worries, while other families were going through what I’m going through now. Never have I valued life so much, seen such beauty in the mundane.
I did get my degree, but you’ll laugh when I tell you where I ended up. I’m in the desert, in the middle-of-nowhere and unemployed. Or, rather, I’m a full-time stay-at-home mom to a crazy but lovely two-year-old. The best part? I love it. I really do.
Don’t get me wrong: I’m tired and half-crazy being alone all the time. But we do some amazing things, me and my daughter. Seeing the world through her eyes adds colors I never knew existed. I don’t love the town, but we still travel and I get to live places I never would have otherwise. Ben and I lived in Hawaii for almost five years.
I miss you, and I’d love to visit, but honestly I don’t know that we’d have much in common anymore. I still love to hike and run and have a drink at the end of the day. But I do it with my daughter, and when my best friend and partner-in-crime is here, with him.
Much has changed. But trust me, you’ll love 2012 when you get here, even though it doesn’t look the way you’d pictured it. Just promise me you’ll take lots of pictures where you are, OK? I love seeing your antics, and laughing about the good ol’ days with Ben.
You’ll love him, too, and I can’t wait for you to meet him. We’ll have a glass of wine waiting for you when you get here.
With love, and a bit of hard-earned wisdom,
Kama, circa 2012