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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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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If not my son, then whose

October 24th, 2008 by InfantryMom

Another common question I get is why my son, in particular, should be the one putting himself in harm’s way and serving in our military. There seems to be a belief, a fairly prevalent one, that if one person doesn’t want to do some dangerous or unpleasant task, there will always be someone else willing to do it and that unwilling person can go on their way without a second thought.

It’s almost a variant of the “not in my backyard” issue where people don’t want anything necessary but ugly or unpleasant located near them.

I’m the first to say that I have avoided my share of issues or tasks. We all do, it’s human nature to at least a certain extent.

But is this belief true? Is there always another person who will willingly take on that task or job in the place of the person who refuses? Honestly, I don’t believe it is. After all, if it were true, would there have had to be a draft in the Vietnam era? Would there be the understaffing problems we currently have in the military today that cause those that have stepped up to be kept on the front lines longer than they should be? Would there have been a need for stop-lossing?

But why, then, do people seem to be either amazed or appalled at the thought that someone they know has voluntarily taken on a task they fear or find distasteful? After all, isn’t it what they wanted? For someone else to take the task?

For all the people who ask me “why your son,” I have a single question to ask in return – If not my son, then whose?

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Communication

September 13th, 2008 by InfantryMom

By this I mean not only the fact that InfantrySon called me last night and we got a chance to talk but that I’ve always tried to teach my children that they can talk to me about anything. Nothing is off limits and I won’t think less of them or ridicule them for anything. I’ll be as honest to them as I expect them to be to me.

Admittedly, this has been hard at times, both when InfantrySon has asked me questions I’d rather not answer and when he’s told me things that were embarassing to him or maybe didn’t show the best judgement. InfantryBrother is only seven so his talks have revolved more around altercations on the playground so far.

I value that honesty beyond belief now. I got an email from InfantrySon that contained this:

I love you mom. I could never stress enough how much your support means to me… And sometimes I know I get quiet, and I confess, I think about the possibility frequently of what might happen if I never make it home. But no matter what may happen in these coming months, no matter where my mission will take me, and no matter where my enemy will engage me… I will always strive to do the right thing, to help out everyone along my path, and I will endeavor to make it back home. Not just for InfantryFiance, not just for InfantryDad, and not just for you… But because this life of our’s is too damned short as it is… And I could never stand the thought that I couldn’t spend more of it with any of you.

I cried, multiple times, but it was good crying because this note really touched me – he was so honest and forthright and SO mature.

Late last night he called me and we got a few minutes to talk and I was honored that he could talk to me about this and the fact he was determined to do his duty and his job, no matter his fears or the possibility of dying while serving his country. I told him it made me cry but it was a good thing.

So today I am grateful that InfantrySon and I can talk, honestly, about our feelings and fears. I can tell him how much I love him and how proud I am of him. And I can support him, at least in this small way, with this blog and my unending faith that he WILL do his best to come home.

Hooooah!

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Do they know how much you love them?

September 11th, 2008 by InfantryMom

One thing I’ve already learned in this as-yet-new journey to being an Army Mom is that the risks of never seeing InfantrySon again are not horrible but they are in the forefront of my mind. It’s not that regular, civilian life isn’t without its own risks but somehow they are accepted and aren’t as close to the surface. It’s very easy to take for granted that your loved one will be there and you can pick things back up at any point. We all know that’s not the case, though.

How many people think, when talking on the phone to their child in college, that it could be the last time they ever talk to that person? Probably not many and, I’m sure, too many thoughts along that line could be a real problem. But those loved ones have a chance of dying too. Accidents, crimes, disease, etc. take a toll and even the most calm and quiet life has risk to it.

But I think it’s more obvious, maybe more stressed, when you have a loved one in the Armed Services, that you may never see them again. You may never speak to them again. You really never push it far from your mind. Every reunion, by whatever means, is a joy and celebration. Every parting is sweet, sweet sorrow overlaid with pride and fear.

What does that do? At least in my case it makes me cherish the little moments, like InfantrySon calling me to get a phone number last night. Getting an email can make me smile for hours.

And it makes me sure that, no matter my own stresses or fears, I ALWAYS tell InfantrySon how much I love him. Maybe he’ll get tired of hearing it, but I don’t think I could stand it if something happens and my last words were angry or annoyed. So I always tell him I love him and I’m proud of him.

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