It doesn't really matter how I feel about it--about the war, about her going. The Marine Corps doesn't check with parents about these things. No permission is asked or given. Marines are independent adults, even the youngest ones. And my feelings about the war don't really matter any more. Now that Amy, my youngest daughter, my baby princess is a Marine, I don't talk about war much. Instead, I do all that I can to support her. This child of mine, cheerleader, volleyball player, homecoming princess and prom queen will deploy to serve in that war--heading off to Iraq next March. It is what she is trained to do--to serve, to protect; her life is on the line willingly. This is the path she has chosen.
Amy was always the child who felt she had something to prove. The youngest of three, with successful older sister and brother, she has not one but two hard acts to follow. And so, Amy chose a different path for herself, uniquely her own. A radio operator, she works hard, usually repairing the communication systems on humvees. She may get her humvee license, allowing her to drive those vehicles of war that she now repairs, putting herself more firmly, perhaps, into harm's way.
I'm proud of Amy and all that she has experienced and accomplished. She meets each challenge with courage and grit. She overcomes obstacles, physical and emotional. She is fit and strong: trained to fight and trained to survive. She feels ready. Would that I felt as ready as she does.
The good new is this: before Iraq, she will fly home for pre-deployment leave. I will be able tell her all these things as we shop and go to lunch, doing all of the things that we enjoy doing together. I look forward to seeing her and hugging her in person, not just through our Facebook connection. It will be good, but like all of life, much to short. And then off she'll go again, carrying her own hopes and dreams along with my love and prayers for her happiness and safe return. My princess warrior, my hero, please remember: there's no place like home. We'll be waiting.