09 April 2014

Oh, How I Missed Tripping Over Boots

Two years. That's how much of our married time together I spent picking up piles of uniforms from the floor, tossing them into the wash, and turning around, only to trip over a pair of combat boots. Any military wife can tell you the story. She's been there, done that, herself. We all whine and complain about it, until that moment when suddenly, for one reason or another, those boots are no longer there to be tripped over. Sometimes, they are in places too far to travel home to: war zones, the sand box, temporary assignments states or countries away. And sometimes, like in our case, they are simply hung up and put away, no longer needed as a part of the every day uniform.

Retiring, for M, was bittersweet. Sure, he would be home with us every day/night, without the threat of a deployment or last-minute job requirement pulling him away. But it had become a big part of him, his every day life. It was what he had come to know, and rely on. He was a Marine. All day. Every day. And then suddenly, he wasn't. Sure, once a Marine, always a Marine. But -- he wasn't waking up to throw on cammies, lace up his boots and be in the office by 730am. He wasn't rubbing sleep from his eyes as his feet his the pavement for morning PT. He wasn't heading to the barber shop every week to make sure his haircut stayed within regulation. And when he was home at night, he wasn't leaving his boots in random places around the house, for his wife to trip over.

As time wore on, we both got used to the new "norm" around here. Sure, we missed the lifestyle: every day we think about our friends, the job, memories. Every time we wind up in Jacksonville, we drive around LeJeune and reminisce about this and that, all the fond memories and times that happened outside Hadnot Point or the MCX or the Dominoes across the way. Mount Town. Onslow Beach. Piney Green. It all brings back a story and a time. But routine set in. We ate dinner together every night. We watched tv together after the kids were in bed. We cleaned up each others' messes, and brushed our teeth together, and lived a normal life.

But something felt like it was missing. To both of us.

This year, for M's birthday, a little piece of what was missing found it's way back into our everyday lives.

Those boots. Oh, how I missed those boots. And so did M. They have their own little home now. And every time I trip over them, and start to roll my eyes, I remember how much I missed that little moment over the years. How for almost 4  years now, I didn't have those same boots to trip over, and how sad it made the house feel. And then I pick them up, place them in their corner, and sit back and stare at them. Granted, M doesn't put them on every morning. He doesn't lace them up and blouse his pants over his boot bands anymore. The soles aren't cracked from too much wear and tear ... as these are now just "leisure" boots.

To some, they will always be "just boots" ... to my Marine? They hold a memory. A feeling. A sentiment. And now? That sentiment has come back "home" to us. Welcome home, Boots! You were missed!


  1. Anytime Kyle is gone for a significant amount of time I miss those boots! It's crazy.

  2. Aww! I have a love/hate with the boots and stinky pt uniforms and all of the damn secret pockets in the ACUs, but I know I'll miss it all when they're not around anymore..