When I got out of OIC training yesterday I had an email and a sticky note that I was supposed to go see our Chief of Staff at 1730.
Oh no. What have I forgotten? Did I miss a deadline? What happened on the watch floor that I could have missed? Did I forget a CONOPS slide? Was the photo board order postponed? Where did I miss the mark?…I thought…
I grabbed my green notebook, re-bunned my hair, and took off for the front office.
“We’re meeting in the CG’s conference room,” he said in a firm but kind tone.
Oh no. He’s being nice. There are others coming to this meeting. I must have made a CHARACTER mistake. That’s the worst kind. Did I swear? Did I forget a salute? Did I miss a mentoring opportunity? Did having Facebook up all day in the shop call into question my character? Was I just not who they wanted for the job?…I thought…
I assembled into the conference room with a woman Navy Chief and three woman Marines. What have we done?…I thought…
Then the CG entered the conference room with his wife and son.
“I hear you are all moms,” he said. “And today is Mother’s Day. We are thankful for the choice you have made to go forward and serve, and we all recognize the sacrifice that means for your family.”
You guys. Our entire leadership team gathered to thank the four moms in the command for the sacrifice made in leaving our children behind to go forward. Our entire leadership team took time to simply say, “thank you”.
I watch videos like this and try to imagine what it will be like to see Trenton again. To notice how tall he is, how much deeper his voice grew, how many more hairs decorate his lip, how he makes decisions differently and how I’ll make a quick calculation of just how much I missed.
There will always be moms raising their hands to go forward. There will always be missed holidays, tears over stressful phone calls, missing the first day of high school.
But Navy and Marine Corps leadership like the team at TF 51/5th MEB makes the missing and the crying and the doubting and the insecurity a little less painful.
I am so thankful for the Navy and Marine Corps and for leadership that makes all the hard things easier. ⚓️