I am standing outside Quantico Marine Corps Base when the helicopters buzz overhead like hungry vultures circling their intended prey: vigilant, focused, ready.
With a deep heave in my chest, I am struck with a frightening realization: I can’t quite remember a time without war. I wonder when this will finally end – the not breathing, not moving, not counting any blessings until, well, there’s an official end date stamped in the books.
Shielding my eyes from the haze that hides the unyielding Virginia sun, I wonder if my own mother once did the same during a time much like now– where war seemed unending and she questioned when, if ever, a semblance of restoration and peace would begin anew.
I balance my own daughter on my right hip and wonder if I look just like my mother in this moment-an image replicated on a sidewalk where time remains unchanged.
While many girls struggled with the mother daughter relationship, my own mother and I have superseded those whitewater river currents. Certainly, we’ve had arguments here and there, most especially during my teenage years, but my own mother and I form a bond that I feel goes beyond mother and daughter: I am her child, but she is also my sister, my best friend, my closest confidant.
So when I look up at those helicopters buzzing and acknowledge how much my mother, a military spouse, prayed she might shield me from the sometimes sharp pain of being married to a service member during wartime, I almost smile.
Because I am stubborn and because like her, I was drawn to the character, strength and ethics of the type of person who dedicates their life to the service of our country.
Like mother, like daughter.