652. 564. 156. 103.

My life is defined in numbers.

1 dependent.

1 canine.

6 months of deployment.

12 months until deployment #2.

32 lb. bag of dog food.

12 boxes of stuff I don’t need.

Stupid, random numbers. And surprisingly enough, the numbers are what make up who I am, since starting this crazy life in the Corps.

652 days ago, I thought I was doing the hardest thing I would ever do. I woke up at 3 am and sat on the edge of Ricky’s bed, knowing that it would be the last time I watched him for three months. Which, now, 3 months doesn’t sound terrible. 3 months is a blink of an eye. But then, 3 months, was the longest I had ever gone without hearing his voice, or seeing his face, or holding his hand. 652 days ago, I started on the journey that has made me the woman I am, and now, 652 days later, I am thankful for it.

564 days ago, I finally got him back after those then-long 3 months. I felt whole again, and I was happier than I could remember. I had withstood the 3 months the Marine Corps had thrown at me…surely I could withstand some more. 564 days ago, I experienced the joy of reuniting with my other half, which definitely made up for the loneliness I had been feeling.

156 days ago, I married my best friend. I promised my life to the one person who has stood beside me through almost everything, and if I had the option to do it all over again, I would. No question. Even on the days he makes me angry, or we don’t agree, I will always choose to do it all over again, always with my best friend. There is a sort of peace that comes with marrying your best friend. I don’t wonder if I am loved. I don’t wonder if there is something I could do to make myself feel whole. For the rest of my life, I have found the other half of me, and I will hopefully never feel like a half a person again.

103 days ago, I encountered the trial that put boot camp and those trivial 3 months to shame. I said goodbye to my other half, watched him turn and leave, and wondered when he was going to come home. In those 103 days, I have cried miserably. I have sobbed until my head was pounding, my eyes were stinging, my nose was stuffy, and my heart felt broken. I have laughed at myself, and I have pushed myself to be a better me. I have been lazy, and I have been productive. I have been unable to get out of bed, and I have conquered the day. For 103 days, I have survived deployment.

My life is defined in numbers. These numbers mark the milestones in my life, and there are so many more to go. I am on a constant countdown, for his coming home, for my moving, for being together with my friends. These numbers are what shape who I am now, and its almost comforting, to watch the countdown, and know that another number is going to be put behind me. It’s strange, I know, but it’s something solid. The numbers don’t change. And in this life where everything is constantly moving and changing and nothing is certain, I look back at the numbers and know: “I’ve got this. I survived 103 days of deployment so far. I can survive another 103.

This life is crazy, hectic, go-with-the-flow, and hard to handle for someone like me, who likes lists and order and this-is-what-we’re-doing-when. So my advice is to start watching the numbers.

XOXO,

Em.

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