Memorial Day 2009

May 25th, 2009 by InfantryMom

Haven’t heard from InfantrySon since I missed his call on May 1st. So I haven’t spoken to him in about 3 months. It does make me sad and today, Memorial Day, I really empathize with those who have lost a loved one or family member in the service of our country. It brings to the front of my mind that this could become permanent. Right now I can assume he’s okay but that could change at any time. I could become one of those whose memory of their child is all they have left besides a flag, some mementos and a tombstone in Section 60 at Arlington.

Freedom has a huge price and I wish that everyone would remember, at all times, that those that have paid the price for their freedom are not nameless, faceless entities. They are people with lives, friends, families and dreams. All of which they have willingly put on hold to serve this country. Some may be able to go back to their plans. Some may never return. But all will be changed by the act of paying this price for every single one of us that lives in the United States.

While I eat the meal my husband barbecued for me today and I hug InfantryBrother, I pray that InfantrySon is safe and well and the price he pays is appreciated by more than just his family. Thank a soldier whenever you see them for the price they have volunteered to pay, if required, to purchase your freedom. Remember those who have already paid the price and do not squander their gift.

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Mother’s Day Helplessness

May 7th, 2009 by InfantryMom

InfantrySon:

I remember your birth with a sense of surreal awe. No amount of reading or preparation could have prepared me for the way you stole a hunk of my heart with your first gasp of air, your first instant of life outside of me. Your blue eyes looked into mine and it hit my that I was now a mother. Your mother.

The exhiliration and exhaustion fell aside a bit under the realization that, forever more, I had a job to do. I had an obligation and a duty to you that would never end. It scared me a bit but I swore I would be the best mother. A perfect mother.

I failed.

I’m a most imperfect mother. It’s not that I didn’t try to be the best mother to you but I know I failed – in both large and small ways. I’m not sure I actually believe a perfect mother exists, honestly, but I still feel a sense of failure that I didn’t pull it off for you.

All your life I tried to balance love and wanting to give you everything with the lessons I felt you needed to learn to be a good person. A good human being. You didn’t get every toy you wanted. I made you work for things your friends got without effort. I tried to teach you moral values and the value of non-tangible things. I’d like to think I succeeded but I have no way of knowing whether it was because of my efforts or despite my efforts that you ended up the fine young man and soldier you are today.

There were times I locked myself in my room and cried when I made decisions that I honestly thought were the RIGHT decision but which tore me up to deliver. Tough love was really hard for me. Was it the right thing to do? I still don’t know.

When I saw you graduate from OSUT, I was SO proud and yet sad. You are an adult, a grown man with a demanding job that most people wouldn’t volunteer for. You got YOURSELF through a training program that many people could never make it through – even when all bets were against you. You pulled yourself along by your own bootstraps and took your buddies along for the ride.

You are your own person and a damned good one, too.

Now it’s a few days before Mother’s Day and I feel what I imagine a lot of other mothers feel. A sense of helplessness. A sense of loss. Gone are the days when you’d lay your head in my lap and watch tv with me. Gone are the days when you need your mother for anything. Yet you still carry a piece of my heart with you everywhere you go.

I worry about you and I worry for your safety. I can’t help it and no amount of rationalization makes it better. I know the statistics like the back of my hand but I still worry. I want to rush in and protect you, save you. But the time for that is past – you’re out there protecting and saving others instead.

I feel helpless and a bit lost, honestly. I don’t know if I’m doing the right things as an Army Mom. There’s no manual for this either. I’m trying not to drive you nuts – I know you have a fiancee who probably needs your attention more than I do. I even struggle with the desire to somehow make sure she’ll be a good wife to you – but I pull myself back, you’re an adult and it’s your decision. I just want you to be happy.

All I can do right now is tell you that I love you, I’m proud of you and I think of you every day and worry for your safety and well-being. Helpless or not, I will always love you and I’m forever your mom.

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No News Recently

February 20th, 2009 by InfantryMom

I’ve sent off a care package to InfantrySon and I know at least one or two more that have been sent. At the moment I’m finishing off another one and hope to send it early next week.

It’s been an interesting few weeks for me. I’ve not had news from InfantrySon but neither have I heard any bad news coming from his unit, so my supposition is that all is well and he’s just really busy. I got laid off in January so I’ve had some of the necessities of dealing with that to distract me as well.

With all the current economic crises and the unemployment rate skyrocketing, I want to make sure we all remember those men and women that are overseas and serving their country. I certainly don’t want to get so caught up in the cares of daily life that I take them for granted or don’t send things to them. It’s got to be hard to be away from home and know your friends and family are having difficulties as well, yet be powerless to help them or even cheer them on very much.

It’s easy to be generous when times are good – but don’t forget to be generous when times are tough as that’s when it’s often most needed.

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Got an Email from InfantrySon

January 20th, 2009 by InfantryMom

He’s apparently over his cold (finally) but now has an endless sore throat, courtesy of the dryness of the middle east.

Says he’s not been able to do much “infantry stuff” yet and that knowing that might make me happy – and it does … sorta.

His first box is on its way from me and the 2nd one almost filled. Hopefully they’ll get there before too long.

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Package ready to ship!

January 15th, 2009 by InfantryMom

Now I just wish my own life would settle down a little. Job hunting in the current economic climate is not fun at all.

I haven’t heard from InfantrySon for a couple of weeks. Hopefully he’s doing okay and being careful – for himself and his buddies. Several family members are sending packages as well and I had to talk InfantryBrother out of sending InfantrySon a Lego or Bionicle set!

I wonder what the term of President Obama will bring?

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I finally got an address!

January 1st, 2009 by InfantryMom

YAY – the lovely FRG has sent me the address for InfantrySon’s platoon (now in Iraq) so I can get his box taped up and off to him!!!

I’m happy!

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Christmas with Family & a Call

December 25th, 2008 by InfantryMom

Today was our big family Christmas dinner and during the day each attendee had been given a piece of paper labeled for each of the other attendees on which to write what we loved about them. It was a great idea from InfantryAunt to allow us to share our feelings with each other.

After a great dinner of prime rib, we took turns opening our little boxes from the youngest at the table to the eldest.

Because InfantrySon wasn’t there, I got to read his notes and wanted to share what they said. These are the individual thoughts of family members.

One thing I love about InfantrySon is:

  • That he fights for our freedom.
  • His bravery for fighting for our country in the Army.
  • How brave he is. I don’t think I could ever muster up the courage he has to do the things he’s done.
  • His sacrifice.
  • Determination to succeed under pressure.
  • He’s the bestest brother and he plays video games with me like Car Crash.
  • He honors our family in this war.
  • His unbelievable bravery that I so admire and makes me very proud
  • His sense of humor and laugh.
  • How loyal he is to his friends and buddies.

For now I have custody of InfantrySon’s box. I don’t think it would survive well in the desert so I’m not going to try to mail it to him but I wanted him to read the comments and see that everyone was thinking about him.

While part of the family was out sledding, I got a surprise and very short phone call – from InfantrySon! He’d snuck in a few minutes to let me know the update on orders and to wish me and the family a Merry Christmas. This really made my day and my holiday! He’s still safe and, even though sick with whatever local viruses he’s managed to catch, he seems like he’s doing okay.

Merry Christmas again, InfantrySon. I love you! The phone call was the best present I could get!

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Hugs for the Holidays – I’m having a whiny day….

December 21st, 2008 by InfantryMom

It’s been snowing like mad here in Puget Sound. Our average December snowfall is only about 2 inches but we’re already at 11 inches as of earlier today. It makes it a challenge to get out and do any tasks we have to do and gives me far too much time to think.

Honestly, I’m a bit adrift. InfantrySon is in the Middle East but not at his final station so I don’t have an APO for him. I have his present and a bunch of things for his care package but can’t send them. Instead I just keep looking at the box and trying not to get weepy. I just hope he knows how much I love him and think about him. Face it, I’ve known him all his life and I’m very sure he’s homesick and feeling isolated during these holidays. I certainly miss him a lot.

I love to give presents. It’s just part of my nature to want to express my love with even simple things. I probably love giving presents more than getting them, even. But that’s denied to me and my oldest son is denied that tangible proof of how much I think of him and care about him.

Some of you may be thinking it’s a bit dumb to be whiny because I can’t send a present but I can’t even send a card. His brother can’t send him a school picture so he can see how much he’s grown. He doesn’t have notes he can read and reread when he feels lonely or homesick.

I’m really trying to hang onto the hope that he’s pretty safe for the moment and that should be enough. But I love him and I miss him. I want to be sure he knows how much but I’m not sure he does.

Maybe he’ll get a chance to stop by here and read it for himself. If so…

I love you, InfantrySon.
I miss you, probably more than ever right now.
I think of you every day, maybe every hour, and hope you know how much I love you and how very special you are.
You’re missed and the entire family asks about you all the time. How you are doing, if you’re okay, how you are feeling.
InfantryBrother asks about you all the time and writes notes to you, though I admit you may need help to read them.
I’m incredibly proud of you and what you’ve chosen to do but I worry. I can’t help it, I’m your mother.

It’s Yule and I wish you were here to share the interesting weather but I understand you can’t be. I just hope you know a part of me travels with you, wherever you are.

Love,

InfantryMom

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Blue Star Mothers

November 23rd, 2008 by InfantryMom

This week I’d like to introduce you to a group called the Blue Star Mothers. I found out about this organization through another blogger and did some research to discover it’s an organization I fully respect and support.

The Blue Star Mothers is a non-profit organization for mothers who have or have had children honorably serving in the military.

The Blue Star Mothers actually started in WWII, when a coupon was distributed in the Flint News Advertiser by Capt. George H. Maines for mothers of servicemen to fill out and return. Based on these returned coupons, a meeting was held by these mothers on February 1st. Because of the number of responses, a decision was made to form a permanent organization. The group was chartered by congress in June of 1960.

The history of the Blue Star flag is even older, however. It was created in 1917 and people hung it in their windows to show that a member of the family was serving in the armed forces. It was designed and patented in WWI by Army Capt. Robert L. Queissner. It caught on quickly.

The number of stars on the flag shows how many family members were serving.

“Turning Gold” is when a serving member is killed in action or listed as missing and a gold star is sewn on the flag to cover the blue star. There is also a Gold Star Mothers organization.

The Blue Star and Gold Star Mothers both are actively involved in supporting our troops in any way they can.

Although the first blue star flags were hand-sewn by those who were going to display them, I’m not up to that. But I ordered a blue star flag to hang on my porch next to the United States flag that is already there in InfantrySon’s honor. His deployment is drawing close and I want to remind anyone who sees it.

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Thank a Veteran – Today and Every Day

November 11th, 2008 by InfantryMom

This post was delayed by a struggle for supremacy between myself and my laptop with a new hard drive. Thankfully, I won in the end and it’s working again.

Today is Veteran’s Day in the U.S. It’s a day for remembering the sacrifices and service of the men and women who have and are serving in the armed forces. It’s a job accepted by too few with rewards that are far too few. The pay isn’t much, the danger is high. The hours are open and they have to leave for months or years away from their family on a moment’s notice.

Yet the job they do is key to our country’s survival.

I don’t think veterans are as respected or as thanked as they should be. Several close friends are veterans and they are some of the most usassuming people I know. If I’d not already known they were veterans, I’d never have known to thank them.

So thank a veteran today but try to do it every day. One day a year is far to little thanks.

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