Friday, November 8, 2013

I am now the proud mom of a tabbed Ranger.  This Army thing has been interesting, scary, nerve wracking, exciting and so many other emotions. 

 You love it and hate it all at the same time.  So thankful that God blessed me with such wonderful children who all love this country and are true patriots.  Army mom strong means to me that we may not like what our children do, but we will support and defend them as they support and defend the Constitution and promote the cause of freedom throughout the world.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Matt is about to begin Ranger School.  It will be at least 11 weeks of intense training in three different settings.  We're all pretty nervous about it.  I have no doubt he'll make it through, but I'm so afraid of how difficult it will be.  For everyone reading this, please keep him in constant prayer.  He will head to Ft. Benning this weekend.  I hope he will still weigh more than I do once it's all over! 

An interesting journey, so far, and not half way there yet.  I can't wait for the day he will, once again, permanently reside in the same state.

Friday, June 7, 2013

I’ve been thinking about this blog a lot lately, and how it’s less about a boy to a soldier than it is a boy’s mom to a soldier’s mom.  The greatest transition has been over deployment and these few weeks of redeployment.  During these three weeks I’ve noticed that my son is aloof and unapproachable where I am concerned.  I wonder if he purposely distancing himself or if he’s just preoccupied with being home and the schedule he is on with the Army.  What is it? 
Whatever it is, it has broken my heart.  The boy I was always close to, who would call me to justify his purchase of a new guitar or ask me how he should do something, is lost somewhere.  Now, when I call him to make a suggestion about a situation, he says, “Mom, I already know that, or I’ve taken care of it.”  I’m dismissed.  My position has been phased out.  My services are no longer necessary.  Hard to take.
This has completely changed the tone of my existence.  To be pushed aside and dismissed by the child you gave birth to and nurtured for 20 years is unbearable.  Last year for Mother’s Day I received a card that said, “I honestly don’t know if I’d be where I am today without all the help I’ve had from you.  Even being here, you’ve still helped me to keep my head straight and do what I need to do.  I miss you a lot.  I’ll always be a momma’s boy at heart.”  This year for Mother’s Day he was in transition back to the U.S.  I carried my phone all day, hoping for a call.  Nothing.  Three days after he was back, still no call .  No call until his brother sent him a text, unbeknownst to me, telling him to call me because I was upset.    He has not called again since that day. 
Why?  What is it?  Will I ever know or have my son back?  Has this experience changed him forever into this detached and remote person?  I'm praying that this is just part of the process of re-entry and that it's not here to stay.

Saturday, May 18, 2013

My soldier is back from his first deployment and I am so relieved.  I have spoken with him only once and won't see him for a while, but at least he seems to be okay.  Many things I want to say and talk with him about, but, for the moment, there's time for that. 

There are blessings to be found in all things and if not for this deployment, we wouldn't have had the opportunity to get to know our new daughter-in-law, Vanessa. 

Our old dog, Princess, died the Wednesday before Matt's deployment.  That was a really difficult thing to deal with, but our little granddog, Dobbie, came to stay with us, too and she was a nice distraction.  Although, Sweetie, our small dog, was not very pleased with the situation.  She is not ready to be an aunt to Dobbie. 

Life has continued to continue with Matt gone for 3 1/2 months.  Even though we got up each day and did what needed to be done, we missed him so much.  Chris graduated from high school on May 4th with everyone present except his brother.  We've all survived this experience and we'll just enjoy the peace and comfort of family until he leaves again.

Saturday, January 12, 2013

Struggle.  That's life.  My oldest son, second child deploying.  My oldest dog, not well.  That can't happen this year.  Not yet.  I am not a strong person.  I breakdown and cry over things and situations and people just like everyone else.  Surprise!  I'm not crazy, I'm normal.  I think.  I guess I handled 2012 fairly well.  I'm just moving a little slower than usual.  It only took me 2 weeks to put Christmas stuff up and almost 2 weeks to take it all down. 

Am I having a hot flash?  I sure hope so.  Chris just left to go out to "the rocks" with girl- from-work Jordan.  Just a friend.  How can he be that old already?

Anyway, as I prepare for my soldier to go and do what soldiers do, I remembered this letter that I read and wanted to share some of it.  It was written by Claire Strickland after her child returned from deployment. 

When I faced deployment the first time I felt like a deer caught in headlights.  I was paralyzed.  It was an internal paralysis.  I think I looked put together on the outside, but I was falling apart daily on the inside.  I am a proud woman.  I do not like to share my weaknesses and my pain with others. 
Here are a few things I wish I'd had the courage to say on my son's first deployment.
My emotions fluctuate.  Please don't think I'm strange if one moment I'm laughing with you and the next I am swallowing hard to fight off the tears.  Laughter and crying are closely related and sometimes when I try to laugh, those tears I stifled earlier in the day may try to sneak out.
If you have never had a loved one deployed you are not going to understand.  Please do not compare my son's deployment with the time your son broke his leg.  This is a different situation all together.  While my son is serving in a combat zone and being shot at, it is hard to drum up the empathy you normally get from me.
There are times when I am going to look on the outside how I feel on the inside.  This is when I bottom out.  This is when I have cried myself to sleep and can't hide my swollen eyes the next morning.  Please offer a kind word. Please do not tell me you understand and never downplay my surmounting fears with a simple phrase like "It's going to be alright."  You don't know that.  I don't know that.  My soldier doesn't know that.  Let me know you are praying for him and for me.  Let me know you appreciate his sacrifice.   That may not seem like much to you, but it means the world to me.
Remember that the landscape of my life is forever changed.  My son--my child, the one I love and promised to protect with my whole being from the moment I first saw him--is in a war zone and is in range of those who seek to harm and kill him.  That is not something I thought I would face as a parent.  He is not doing this because he's seeking an adventure.  If you want to know more about him, just ask me.  I may struggle with fear right now, but pride is never lacking.  Thank you for all of your understanding.  One day we will be on the other side of this and I will be back to a more normal me.  Sincerely, A Blue Star Mother
I'm tired of being asked if I'm okay.  What is okay?  I wake up every morning just like always.  I do what I always do.  I go to church.  I pray a lot.  I take care of things and get things done.  I'm still wife. I'm still mom.  I think I'm ready.  As someone very special to me recently said, "He belongs to God before he belongs to you."  Or something profound like that.  She's one of my prayer angels. I am thoroughly blessed to have so many wonderfully, supportive people surrounding me.  We owe it to those who have made the ultimate sacrifice for us, to live the best lives we possibly can.  Okay.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Faith and fear cannot exist in the same heart and mind at the same time.  Why is fear so overwhelming?  How does it overtake faith when faith is the good stuff?  I have recently been bombarded with reminders of faith.  Every day I've been wearing a little pin from Mary Kay that contains a mustard seed as a reminder to keep the faith.  Mine seems to be so much smaller than that tiny mustard seed.  I'm constantly working to overcome the fear I feel when I consider that in just three short months my son will deploy.  I know that faith is the only thing that will get me through that time. 

People say, "He'll be okay.  Don't worry."  I'm glad they are so sure of that.  Since when did they take on the roll of God?   Since when are they all knowing?  The fact is, he may not be okay.  The morning he left for basic training, when I woke him up with a blessing which I could barely say, even he said, "I'll be okay."  He doesn't know that either.  What is okay, anyway?  I guess it could be anything.  I am praying constantly.  I hope you will pray for me to be able to let go and let God take care of Matt just like He's done for the last 21 years.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Well, we've had a wedding.  October 14, 2012 Matt and Vanessa were married on the banks of the Chathoochee River.  Wow!  So quick and unexpected, but they seem to be happy.  In the next weeks they will be looking for a place to live and settling in.  It's so amazing to me to see the changes in my son in just eight months.  The impuslsivity does seem to still be a part of his personality, but there is a lot more maturity, too. 

It's not so easy to become a "hands off" mom when I've been so involved in his life.  Not that he doesn't want me to be involved, but I guess it's time for him to handle things himself and not rely on me as much.  I just have to learn to stay in the background and be supportive. 

Once settled, Matt will begin his training for deployment next year.  That's an issue for another day.  I keep telling myself, "faith, not fear, faith, not fear."