Sunday, July 22, 2007

I am the mother of an American Soldier

I don't know who wrote this but it sums it up quite well. Kuddos to whomever wrote it!

You see me every day going about life as usual - or so it appears. I
rub shoulders with you at work. I shop at Wal-Mart and the grocery store.
I fill my car at the corner gas station. You might see me anywhere.
Don't be deceived: My life has not been "normal" for months. I am the
mother of an American soldier.

Although I continue the routines of life, I do so with a burdened
heart and distracted mind. There are some tell-tale signs of who I

I'm the one with the frayed yellow ribbon pinned on my clothing. It
was fresh and new when my son first deployed months ago. Even though
the war is supposedly over, my son is in a place where bullets and
grenades are still killing our soldiers. I am determined to wear my
ribbon until he comes home, because it reminds me to pray for him
every minute. When you see me wearing that ribbon, please stop and
whisper a prayer for him and all the others still there.

My house is the one with the faded yellow ribbons on the tree in the
yard and one on the mail post. There is an American flag on a pole
attached to the front porch, and a small red-and-white banner with a
blue star in the middle in my window. When my son gave this to me
before he left, I told him that I never wanted to cover the blue star
with a gold one. Gold Star Mothers are the ones whose sons come home
in body bags.

When you drive by a house of this description, please pray for the
son or daughter overseas and for the parents waiting inside for their
child to come home.

To those of you who have posted yellow ribbons at your house or in
the windows of your schools, thank you. It warms my heart every time
I see your expressions of support for our troops.

One of the hardest things about being the mother of an American
soldier is living 1,500 miles (how bout 2600 miles!) away from the
post of my son's unit. Wives usually live on or near the fort, where
they can glean support from others in the same situation. But a
mother may live across the nation, so she feels totally alone.

Letters rarely make their way home, and if they do, it is weeks after
they were written. We go more than a month without hearing anything;
then we might get a short phone call. E-mail is out of the question
most of the time.

Every week is like a rollercoaster ride that I want to get off. When
I read a soldier has been killed and his name has not been released
pending notification of kin, restlessness, depression and insomnia
rule my life until 24 hours have passed and the men in dress uniforms
have not appeared at my door. I pray constantly they will never come.

When you hold your baby close, remember we mothers of American
soldiers held our babies, too. Now our "babies" are putting
themselves in harm's way for your babies.

And if you see a woman at the store buying tuna and crackers, beef
jerky, powdered Gatorade, baby wipes and potted meat, check to see if
she is wearing a yellow ribbon. If so, stop and pray for her. She is
probably the mother of an American soldier, getting ready to send her
child another "care package." You may see tears in her eyes or dark circles under them.

I am there among you, trying to carry on some semblance of a normal
life. Like so many others, I am the mother of an American soldier.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Quick and not necessarily a legit rant

Hmmm, have you ever noticed that no matter how old your "child" is they still want or need money from you? I can't b*^ch too much, I did the same. Love him dearly, but "mom, I need some money". lol Yeah, but you know what? When he gets to Iraq, you think I'll care, nope, cause in the big grand scheme of things, it doesn't matter.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Keep good thoughts

As deployment draws near I find my thoughts drifting to where it shouldn't be. Not to long ago, a fellow Blue Star Mother became a Gold Star Mother. Not a position anyone wants. As a Blue Star Mother, you are a member of a national organization that supports the troops and each other as we all have children in the military. As a Gold Star Mother, you are a member of a national organization that has a child in the military that gave his or her life for this country. This mother was saying how much she appreciated all the support she has received. She buried her son the other day. I can only imagine the pain and utter dispair she must feel, as I would be completely lost.

The other morning I could hear the local clubhouse hosting the annual Championship Swimmeet. I too once had participated in, many years ago and so did my son. I could hear the announcer, the starting gun, the "swimmers up, take your marks, bang" and it brought back memories. Memories of me as a child, memories of my son in similar situations and present day. He's not my little baby anymore. He's a grown man. lol He's still my baby. I still remember changing his diapers, soothing a skinned knee, comforting his tears and picking him up from the hospital after he wiped out going down a steep hill on rollerblades. I remember him telling me with tears streamming down his face, "I love you mom" and "this is weird, this may be the last time I see you again" as I said goodbye to him as he boarded the plane back to base to deploy, the first time.

From the time my son was born I have always taken the stand, that no matter what, how old or young you are, it is the mother's responsibility to protect and take care of her children. Not saying that the husband isn't but when a mother carries a child, gives birth and raises, it's her duty to protect and care for her young. That's why you always hear, don't stand between a mother and her young in the animal world, mothers will kill to protect their young. Well the same goes for the human species. So just because the child is now considered a legal adult (and it doesn't matter if he or she is 40) that maternal instinct does not go away. Now I'm not the type of mom who mothers her child, but if he needs me I'm there. If I feel this is something he should handle as a man, I tell him so. I also feel it's my job to raise him to be a productive member of society and to be able to stand on his own two feet. I'll help him out if I can, but even birds push the young out of the nest to teach them to fly on their own.

I joined a group called the Patriot Guard Riders. If you have never heard of this group, it's a group of motorcycle riders, however, anyone can join, that support fallen soldiers and shield the families from protesters that do not have the families in their best interest. I have a motorcycle but have not attended any funerals, too close to home. They do make other appearances not funeral related but I have passed on attending. I can barely stand to hear of troops dying and don't think I could handle going to a funeral and seeing the family without thinking of my son.

I think my son and I have had a typical relationship growing up. When my son was a tot, I was everything to him. As he became a teen, I was merely an atm machine and a source of embarrassment to him. As he enlisted, I became a source of information and support. We are very close and we have been through hell and highwater together. I love him dearly and miss him. I just have to remember to think positive. No bad thoughts, no thinking about his funeral and the notification or even what would I do if I got a call he got injured. I have to remember to think positive. Damn, he hasn't even left yet and I'm already having these thoughts. I'm proud of my soldier, but I'm scared too.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Thinking outloud

So I'm driving down the street and I was thinking about my son deploying again and some of the comments some have said to me. Such as, why does your son have to go back, didn't he already do a year tour. All I can say is yes and because his boss is sending them back. I have to agree, back in the day, if you served a tour you were done, not nowadays.

I wish my son didn't have to go back, but it is his job. He is a Soldier. I have many mixed emotions about him being in the Service. I mean, I think it's done him a lot of good, he's grown up a lot and in a short amount of time. He's more responsible, he has a better self worth and has a great appreciation for home, lol. I miss him, and I love him. The things he's learned are invaluable. He's turned into a fine young man, I just wish we weren't at war.

Side note: I know this may not be the most impressive reading but it'll get better once he deploys. Until then, you get the ramblings of an ADD mother. lol

So what do I do to help get me through this? I find Army stuff to build my "shrine". I have bears, figurines, lapel pins whatever I can find that moves me. I can't explain it but it just makes me feel closer to him. We are close but it helps me stay sane. Afterall, the last thing he needs is to worry about me when he needs to focus on the mission at hand. I encourage him to be open with me and sometimes he tells me more than a mother really wants to hear, but if it makes him feel better, then I'm ok with it. I have to tell ya though, it sure puts a lot of things into perspective. Don't sweat the small stuff, it's not worth it. And I let him know how much he is loved. It's really neat to see friends and family and perfect strangers lend an encouraging comment and support. He needs to hear it and so do I. I have the upmost respect for our men and women of the Armed Forces. It doesn't matter what my political views are, because no matter what they may or may not be, he'll still be deployed. I will support my son, my soldier my hero.

Until next time...from a Proud Army Mom HOOAH!

Friday, July 6, 2007

July 4, 2007

Well, saw fireworks! lol I forgot to ask my son if he had a chance to see some. When I spoke to him tonight all we talked about was his 12-mile march. He had to do it in 3 hours, the first time he missed the target by 22 mins, this time he got it with 10 mins to spare. Better him than me, they would have to scrape me off the pavement.
Right now he is making preparations for our arrival. That is, he's trying to plan his social life around our arrival. It's funny, he has grown up so much since enlisting, but there's still a boyish charm about him. That's ok, that makes him, him. Besides, I'll savor every moment that I have with him. My husband teases me about the "shrine" I have in my office of my son. Ok, it's a little extensive, make no mistake about it, by the looks, you know someone close to me is in the military. I took most of it down, now. I've decided for this second tour I'll add new items and pictures to it. I found a cute little figurine the other day, I'm trying to find out if they make one for soldiers. So far, I've only been able to find one for Marines. It has crystal looking hands around a Marine with the written words, "Lord, bless this Marine..." I can't explain why these little things give me comfort, because I know it's just an item, but they do. sigh I'm missing him already.

Anyway, there's not alot to report at the moment, just this picture of the fireworks I watched from a boat. I enjoyed myself and I was surprised to be able to get this picture from a camera phone. I don't need no stinkin' expensive camera setup, lol. Timing was hard but I got the picture.

Til next time...

Sunday, July 1, 2007

The introduction

I've decided for those who care to take this journey with me, to give you a look of what it's like to be a military mom. No disrespect to the military wives but the perspectives are different. Not insinuating better or worse, just different.

Today is July 1, 2007 and my son has received his official orders of deployment. This will be his second tour to Iraq. His first tour was 12 months, this next tour will be longer.

My son is in the 1-87th 10th Mountain, light infantry, he's 21 years old and about to take another journey to Iraq; and this will be my story.

My name is Karen and my soldier is my only son. I was a single parent for 15 years before marrying a wonderful man willing to take on a woman with a teenage son. God bless him. I remember the first deployment and being such a newbie to it all. I have a friend whose son was a Marine. She gave me pointers, don't watch the news, remember no news is good news and keep yourself busy. I fought day in and day out to keep my fears and worries in check. I drove down a street and burst into tears when I saw numerous Blue Star Banners aligning the middle of the street with the names of the servicemen and women serving from that city. Trying to remember to think positive. How those days seem like yesterday, but yet it was a year ago; and now I'm about to go down this road again. Sigh, I don't want to but I will for my son, in support of him.

Over the years I've met some military moms, nice to know I'm not the only one going through this, but there a lot of those out there that have no idea. Sometimes I want to yell, "don't tell me he's going to be alright, you don't know that!" But I must be strong and then there are times I'll just cry. I worry about my soldier, I miss him and love him dearly. I'll be seeing him shortly before he deploys. I look forward to seeing his smiling face. I'll be praying for him.

That's all for now.