I know it is coming. He goes “home”, back to base, in three more days. When he does, I will be a mess. We have done this a few times now. I’m learning. Every situation is different, I can’t speak for everyone but being a military mom is an emotional journey to say the least.
As my son forages ahead into adulthood, he has vowed to be a protector of our country. I’m proud of him. This is unlike any other job. They put in overtime but can’t take extra time off. Their personal choices and desires in many situations are simply not even part of the equation. They work through the holidays and their hearts long for home… that other one, the one with the people that they love. They are trained for extreme situations yet they claim, “It’s just like any other job.” This is the life of a soldier. It’s not like any other job. I’ve found out that the Army has not only changed him, it’s changed me.
His First Visit Home
When our son completed his basic training, we were so excited for him to get leave and come home. He had already missed Thanksgiving and Christmas was just around the corner. The recruiter said he would be home for Christmas and then on to his first duty station. Sadly, Christmas came and went. We experienced our first Army Christmas, FaceTiming across the miles. Then finally, after receiving permission for leave and in cahoots with two siblings, our soldier appeared at our house on December 29th. We were shocked and oh, so happy to have him home! My mama heart was filled for a week of a full house. Then, as suddenly as he appeared, he was back on the plane and my mama heart wept.
Summer Vacation and Leave Time
During the summer we had time to prepare for a planned leave. As we were anticipating ten days of summer leave the plans were laid out. An open house, homemade ice cream, barbecues, and a joy filled Independence Day celebration. If we still used film like we did several years ago, I wonder just how many rolls I would have filled! It was so good to have him home. We savored the time we had together. All good things must come to an end and again, my heart wept.
Our Unexpected Visit
We weren’t planning on seeing him for several months but plans can always change. Grandpa unexpectedly went home to be with Jesus. After working with the Red Cross, our son was given a 4 day pass to come home. It was fast. A day of travel each way and 2 very full days with family. Though the circumstances were hard, we were thankful that not only the Army sent our son home but the Coast Guard released our son-in-law so that our daughter’s family could be here as well. Besides honoring Grandpa, we had one major objective, to get a family photo while everyone was home. Food, fellowship, photos and then a brisk goodbye. My mama heart wept.
A Long Goodbye Is On it’s Way
Now here we are at Thanksgiving week. My house is loud. The fridge is full. There is laughter. My heart is full. But I know it is coming. In three days we will hug him again. We will say goodbye. This time not only back to his base but onto a deployment. It’s strange to savor the moments today when we know that goodbye is coming again so soon and for so long. I will be strong and bite my lip so there is no ugly cry. I will try to hold it together. But, I know that my mama heart will weep.
So if you see me and I look like I have been crying, I have. It’s ok. The next few weeks are a readjustment. I know this is the rhythm of the Army mom life. The excitement and joy of having him home. Then, the heavy heart as he is once again absent. So next week I won’t make big plans. I will let my own expectations for getting things done wane. I will adjust. This is what we do. Each time it gets a little easier but saying goodbye is never fun. Army moms are strong because what our soldiers do is so very important and we are so very proud of them.
As a Christian Army mom I have an added assurance, an additional source of strength. I know that God sees my son and that as he follows the Lord’s leading he is in the safest place on earth. Proverbs 15:3 says, “The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good”. And in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you”. I will claim these for our troops.
Are you thankful for our military? Would you like to be a blessing to those who serve? Check out this idea in my post, Saying Thank You To Our Veterans: When The Words Won’t Come I wrote in honor of Veteran’s Day.