Ten days is not enough to offset thirteen weeks of separation. You would think someone high up on the food chain in the Marine Corps would know this. But since they are very "traditionally" set, odds are it's been that way since the beginning and will be until kingdom come.
Clark's ten days home had been filled with endless errands and things to take care of. While we clearly had spent every waking moment together, it felt as though we hadn't really been able to enjoy ourselves with so many things looming on our to-do list. When the time came that we had to drive back down to Jacksonville, NC for him to go back to work... I was not a happy camper.
It should have been fine, right? I mean, we survived thirteen weeks full of awful drama and life-changing training. We should easily be able to handle four or five weeks (I believe it was). But it felt like the end of the world. I had just gotten my husband back, and now they expected me to give him up? Just like that?
Driving home was the worst feeling ever. Six hours in the car, by myself, after just saying good-bye again. We've faced plenty since that time, and bootcamp was definitely by far the worst. But having Clark home for ten days almost made the upcoming time seem worse. I almost felt like if they had just kept him it wouldn't be as bad. They dangled him in front of me only to take him away again.
Clark was able to call, from what I recall, a couple of times during MCT. There was one instance where it was close to when I needed to go pick him up and attend his graduation. I was actually at work (working retail), and against protocol had kept my phone on in my locker. I was on my break when I heard it vibrating (totally God timing, there). He was on the other line, and I felt so blessed that he had finally gotten through (we had gone a number of days without communication).
I walked onto the floor and let him say hello to a friend. I was so overjoyed that he was calling that I wanted to share him. But then the line was disconnected. I had barely gotten two words in. The friend got to talk to him much more than me. I started crying. Thankfully, my manager was female and ushered me into the back and comforted me. Five minutes later Clark called again. From then on, I was allowed to keep my phone with me. I was so blessed to have some supportive friends and coworkers, and above all the support of my family (even if it was from a distance-- since my parents and younger sister were in Germany and my older sister was in California at the time).
This was a life lesson. At the time I thought I was facing a lifetime of the military. Deployments, late nights, unexpected work loads. This was preparing me for the life I saw my mother endure so gracefully. A life I thought I was prepared for, prepped for-- a life I thought I could handle. We were so young when we were first introduced to it, and we were experiencing one side of the military as children, and now another as adults. We both came from military backgrounds and thought so confidently we could handle it. But the military isn't for everyone. And while Clark was enjoying his training and what he was setting out to do, he was homesick, and my heart was aching from missing him so much.