So, this blog is automatically disqualified as an official Veterans Day post because the man I’m writing it for isn’t a veteran yet. He’s still fighting…somewhere. And he’ll be fighting for a long time. And while I’ve mocked him endless times on this blog (i.e. Monogamous Mono Man, The 5 Assholes You’ll Date in College), I feel on this one day I can put aside my constant humorous whining/bitching and own up to the fact that for all his Monogamous Mono Man faults, he did teach me something pretty important. Sorry that this blog isn’t my normal humerous antedote, but hopefully you’ll make an exception for today. I have a bet to fill and a vet to thank.
Once upon a time, MMM and I made a bet. It was inspired by a dear friend of mine, who wrote me one of the most treasured, beautiful letters I’ve ever gotten in my entire life where I was humbled enough to get to hear some of the things that I had taught her during our short time together. I told MMM how much I loved the letter, and how unfortunate it is that most people don’t get to hear what they’ve taught other people in their lives. See, everyone comes in and leaves a mark on our life, and yet all too often they/we leave before we have a chance to tell them what they taught us. Or to hear what we taught them. It usually takes years after their departure before we even realize it. But what a gift it is when we get to hear the lessons, or share them with that person. A true gift.
So MMM and I made a bet. That no matter the distance, no matter the time, no matter the potential for awkwardness (high, in my case), we would tell each other when we realized what we learned from each other. So here’s my answer to you, MMM, on the most appropriate of days.
Before I met you, I didn’t really understand the sacrifice of a soldier. I knew we should thank them, but unlike my father (who thanks a veteran every time he sees them–something I understand now as very, very good), I didn’t really get it. And then I met you.
You were smart (brilliant), gorgeous (obnoxious), and a leader. You had everything going for you. It was senior year, and you had more job offers than I could count on two hands. You had the entire world at your feet, and you truly could have gone anywhere and done anything you wanted. But you traded all that potential, all that opportunity, in for some camo and a gun. So that I could go do anything I wanted. So that I could have the chance to go to college and complain about professors and homework and bitchy sorority girls. So that I could have the chance to be in a country where it’s safe enough to go out on the weekends and I can wear anything I want to.
I thought that soldiers went to fight for the big things–for liberty, for freedom, for the Constitution. But you, MMM, totally changed my mindset. Suddenly I saw that what you were really fighting for was to preserve all those little things. So people could be stupid and get in fist fights on frat dance floors. So people could be lucky and fall in love. So people could be happy and lay in the grass. So people could be wonderful and create–create a novel, create a car, create a family. Because without our dear soldiers, none of that would be possible. We would live in a land of fear and oppression, where people couldn’t do all those things.
So heres to you, MMM, for being willing to sacrifice your amazing future so that I could have one. I promise not to take it for granted. Please stay safe, wherever you are. And here’s to our bet, my half of it. You taught me what a soldier’s sacrifice is really for, and you taught me to appreciate their selfless dedication. I hope that you find everything you’re looking for, and more. Happy Veterans’ Day, to my favorite future vet.