Long Talks from across the pond, are rare and wonderful!

February 14, 2009

It is 10 p.m. and I just got off the phone with our oldest son who is spending his time these days in Iraq.

We talked about things going on here at home, things he is doing there, things that happened when he was young, things I did when I was young. We talked about why he is where he is, and why he does what he does.

We talked for nearly and unheard of hour!

I am so proud of him, and I am proud of all of those men and women who serve this country day after day , taking care of our nation, while the rest of us go about the daily routines of our lives.

I listen to his thoughts and feelings about life, the decsions he has to make, and though my mothers heart would like things to be safe and easy for him, to him that would be like being in a prison. He loves the changes, the challenges , the way things are never routine. Sure there are routine days, but in the military, something is going to change soon.

I would never ask that this man, who used to be a boy that never let me rest…to live a calm and “normal” life. This son of ours has found what he really loves to do. Not many people really find that, and so I am happy, even though it means I have to live missing him, and knowing in the back of my mind that he is in dangerous situations more times than I could bear, if I knew about it.

We got a certificate in the mail, that thanks us for our son’s service , acknowledging the sacrifices we make as a family. I told him on the phone that it is very nice that they send that, while we sweat it out here at home…he laughed.

Well, I can go to bed content for tonight, having heard his voice, knowing that at least for now, all is right and things are quiet in his neck of the woods. There are moments that the proud heart of a military parent rises in me, and overshadows the other moments when it just feels bad. Tonight is one of those, and I will bask in it as long as I can.

Goodnight … they start a new day as this one ends here at home. Lord watch over him, and his buddies, and thank You for having him call tonight. It was a very special Valentine!

Letters are Better! Making Deployment a Time of Growth for Young Children

February 8, 2009

Kids need to learn to write, and what better way than writing to a deployed parent!

I know I am nagging…I have written posts before about the joys and virtues of writing letters rather than e-mails but I have proof that they are better.

Last week my son sent a real letter to his children. The letter was on stationary I ordered before he left from Sharon McBride ( you can order on her website http://www.mymommywearscombatboots.net.) The stationary says : “A letter from Daddy,” and has a photo of my son and his two children on it.

In the letter my son told the kids why he wanted to be a soldier, what he was doing there in Iraq, and the reason he was fighting for this country. What an incredible gift! The kids smiled so big when he told them that though he would have more deployments to come, they were still the most important thing in his life.

I made a copy of the letter for each one of my grandchildren so they would each have the letter to keep in their room. With the originals, I am making a scrapbook that will become a special collection of letters and cards and even the e-mails that he sends. Another reason I love letters over the e-mails, is that when something is in someones handwriting, that person feels closer. I’m not sure why that is, but it is a fact.

I know that writing takes time, some feel they don’t do it well, but trust me on this, it will make an impact on your little ones for them to get a handwritten letter from you. Tell them what you do, where you are, what you think is important and why you do what you do. They will know you all the better for it.

Parents at home, have your children write once in awhile. Have them draw and make things to send to a deployed parent. It works both ways, a handmade gift is a gift of self, and leaves a warm feeling with the one receiving it.

Superbowl Connection

February 2, 2009

Funny how things that seem unrelated create a mind and heart connection as we miss our deployed loved ones. Last week I heard that our military would be treated to pizza and two beers each as they watched the big game. This of course took place in the wee hours of the morning for those in Iraq and Afghanistan. Our son was looking forward to this event and had called earlier in the morning (a call we missed….I hate that) but where he sounded upbeat telling us he was going to be watching the game later.

My husband Don and I watched surrounded by others we know at a local restaurant. The camera focused on some of our soldiers watching overseas, and the tears started…they came somewhat unexpectedly, and then I struggled with them again as the color guard brought out the flags of each military branch and Old Glory.

The singing of our National Anthem and the pride I feel as a military mother was, for a moment overwhelming. None of our children were with us during the game. I did wish they could all be home, but that connection of knowing what Justin was watching the same thing at the same time was really comforting.

I think it is maybe because so very few times do I have any idea what he may be doing, or what life is like for him, but this time…for four quarters, we were watching together!

Football is a game I love, my husband is a coach, as is his father. I think it has many parallels to life itself. These teams were well matched and the battle was hard fought, but that brings me to a question: Why, when the goal is money and fame, are they paid better than our military who pay with life and limb to secure our freedom and defend our nation? I really don’t get it.

I don’t understand why men who play are offered more fame than men who work long hours without sleep and endure cold and heat on our behalf? I wonder why our new President wants to cut the military budget by 10 percent and increase the money for global warming in the midst of a war on terror? I watch them report on this warming thing, bundled in coats and shivering into the microphone in front of the white house.

Well, I guess that is enough of my political views….I did enjoy the game, and hope you did too!