Boot Camp: The Box
Moments that define our journey are usually the ones we anticipate but will never understand until we experience them. We count down the days until we get married, until our baby arrives, and for Navy wives the day our husband comes home.
Right now my husband is at basic training and is far from coming home. I want to make a count down but the truth is we don’t know when he is coming back exactly. I am new to this Navy wife life but already I have learned not to get fixated on dates they could change at anytime for any reason. Today however is a day I will remember, today there was a moment that defined a step in my journey. When my husband joined DEP the recruiters explained that a box with all of his belongings would arrive shortly after he went to basic training. When my husband left I looked forward to his first letter and thought nothing of the box he didn’t take anything with his so I was sure there would be nothing to send back.
Little one was playing on the floor as usual as I sat in my rocking chair watching him giggle. I heard a light tap on the door so I grabbed Bubby and looked out our doors peek hole, no one was there. Opening the door I took a step over the thresh hold of home into the outside world to hear and feel a thud. My heart sunk as my gaze slowly dropped to the ground, there it was. I began to cry with a hard stabbing pain in my throat. I could not breath. I brought the box into the house set it on the coffee table and debated whether or not I should open it. If I didn’t open it then the next time I really missed him it might help. If I did open it right then it would probably make me really miss him. If you knew me then you would have known what I was going to do at that thud.
Examining the hand writing there was no doubt it was my husband’s. Tracing the letters with my fingertip I saw him with a sharpie trying to make his strokes neat and readable. Taking a deep breath into my shallow lungs I opened the box like ripping off a band aid. One piece at a time I pulled out article by article of clothing and completely lost my composure. In that box was the last outfit I saw my husband in, only it was empty. I cried into his shirt but his smell was gone the only sent left was cardboard. Little one was confused so I set the box on the floor and told him it was a gift from his daddy. For the rest of the night he pushed the box across the floor for support to cruise threw the house. At ten months old he can’t walk yet but that moment seemed symbolic. Even as young as our son is he understood the box was from dad so he wouldn’t let it out of his sight. Life isn’t about pursuing personal happiness that will always leave you unfulfilled. My son taught me something today. The outfit might have been empty but our hearts are full of love.
About the Author
Cher B. is a Navy wife, a Christian stay-at-home-wife and the author of The Sticky Apron.