Saturday, December 27, 2008
My son has arrived home to stay. Has it been 4 years already? Now that's an odd statement/question, because it's almost rhetorical. I mean I know it's been 4 years and while it seemed longer I still remember things like it occurred yesterday. I remember going to the recruiting station with my son as he signed the paperwork for infantry. I remember talking with his recruiter. I remember his recruiter coming to our home at 2:00 to pick up my one and only son to take him to the other side of the country. I remember looking at my son's eyes as they filled with water and him fighting back the tears as was I. I remember feeling helpless as I closed the door as the recruiter and my son drove away. I remember the letters my son wrote to me in basic and sometimes I laughed and sometimes I cried. I remember feeling helpless again. I remember when he called me that he was going to graduate but hung up the phone so he wouldn't get caught on the phone. Not sure who's phone it was but it wasn't his. I remember graduation like it was yesterday. I remember when we got the phone call saying he was going to war. I remember saying goodbye to him at the airport before deploying and the tears we cried together. I remember his heart wrenching comment, "mom, it's funny, we may never see each other again". I remember getting the phone call letting me know he was in Kuwait and then again in Iraq. I remember getting the call in the grocery store saying my soldier was back on US Soil Stateside. I remember the second deployment and all the emotions that went with that. And now my child is back home with me, well sort of. Lol, he's been spending a lot of time with his friends. I don't mind, he's earned that and I'm just elated he's back home.
I look at him sometimes and realize he's not the child that left his home 4 years 3 months ago. He's a man...ok with some childlike habits but he's a man now. More assertive and drove across country in a truck that I wouldn't want to drive. A big moving truck. He's thinking of his future and just plain thinking. He still has that sarcasm that I love about him. Well you have to have sarcasm in this family to survive. He has grown so much and has learned so much. I'm truly proud of him. Now I have to part with my deployment bracelet. It's a bracelet that I made from Italian charms that had his unit on it, name, the American Flag and some other items, but I never took it off while my son was deployed. Now I guess it's time to do this. I guess I wanted to wait and show my son that I never took it off.
Anyway, it is just weird how the day I longed for is here but while it didn't seem that long, it seemed to be forever. I'm just so grateful and thankful that my son has come back home. I feel bad for Cody Legg, Shane Duffy and JD Emard's family who won't have that feeling especially this Christmas. I pray for their comfort and peace that their loved ones are looking down at them telling them they are ok. I know this would be a terrible pain for me to bare if I were in their shoes. I thank God I do not have to know this pain. I pray for the other families whose sons and daughters are still deployed or going to deployed and could not spend this Christmas with the family. So I send Army Mom Hugs to all.
As this chapter closes another starts. While my son still has to complete the contract he signed with the Army, he will do so by way of the National Guard. That's fine as that's a little way into the future. Right now for the next few weeks, I have my son at home.
Merry Christmas all and I wish everyone a wonderful New Year!!!
Army Mom Out
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Friday, December 12, 2008
Now he did mention he wanted to enlist in the National Guard to finish out the rest of his contract, which of course my husband and I smiled because that means he still gets to go to the PX, or should I say we still get to. Can't help it, love that place.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
The smell of burnt wood and smoke fills the air around here. Sad feeling in the air.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
A first we were wow and how beautiful.
Shortly we realized we were about to drive right through the fire. The fire had jumped the freeway and we were surrounded. It was breathtaking. Then the burning embers were flying right past the windshield and we could feel the heat from the fire on the windshield. There was only a couple of other cars on the road with us and hazzard lights were turned on and we slowed to a 20 mph crawl. We couldn't see much more than 2 feet in front of us. You could smell the smoke and I became a little nervous. You could see new fires burning on the side of the freeway and I was hoping we weren't going to get stuck. The freeway was block from every route that could lead into this freeway.
We made it but wow. When I made it to Chicago, I watched the news and the fires are still out of control. I called my husband to see if he made it back home, he did but it took him 4.5 hours to get home, it would normally only take 1 hour. But all is well with him.
Friday, November 7, 2008
When you give birth to a child you wonder what will become of this child. It's almost impossible to picture them many years later as an adult. As we all know when raising a child there is no manual, it's a cross your fingers and hope for the best.
I feel sorry for the mothers of serial killers or molestors etc because no matter how horrific the crimes are they are still someone's son or daughter. I would feel horrible knowing the child I raised did something like that, but do you stop loving that child? I couldn't. Don't get me wrong, I'm not condoning the actions, I just don't think I could stop loving my child.
Having said all of that, I thank God for giving me the child that I have. Is he perfect? No, but neither am I nor anyone I know...well there's one person I know, he used to be a carpenter but that's another story. Anyway, my son has made his mistakes and sometimes I did want to smack him into the next universe but isn't that what most teens make us want to do? I used to tell my husband, the reason why teens are allowed to live is because we mothers remember them as sweet, angelic little beings when they were younger. Now I look at my son and I think to myself, I did something right, he can be a knucklehead at times but he has a heart of gold. I personally wouldn't trade him for anything and would raise him all over again if I had to. The Army has been good for him, he's become a man, with a sense of duty, honor, respect, loyalty and responsibility where it matters the most. HOOAH!
Army Mom Out
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I got a call from my son today. He wanted to let me know of his plans to travel to Texas. He should be there this weekend. He's going to visit the family of one of the fallen soldiers in his unit. He was close to JD and since he was unable to attend the funeral he wanted to pay his respects now that he is stateside. I wish I could be there for him as I know he'll need the support, but Emard's mom is a good woman and those two will need some time to grieve together. God willing, perhaps they will find some comfort and heal some. I know it's been hard on the whole unit, mothers of the unit, and to be expected particularly hard on the soldiers. I pray for Emard's family to help his mom find some comfort, she has to some extent by helping others but let us never forget the sacrifice she has made and her son. RIP JD.
Sunday, November 2, 2008
Then I found out recently that I must fly to Tennessee mid-November for 4 days. I mentioned it to my son and his reply was, "can you come visit me?", drats how I wish I had the money to do this. However, my trip is business related and I won't be able to deviate from the itinerary. What I also learned is the flight from NY to TN is not exactly a quick trip. I'm horrible with geography but for some reason I thought it was closer.
So my husband and I are looking at a throw away party, which should be interesting to see who's stuff gets thrown away or who throws more stuff away. Just a lot of work but I can't wait until he's home.
Saturday, October 25, 2008
I must run but I wanted to get this post in. More to come....Army Mom Out
Friday, October 17, 2008
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Saturday, October 11, 2008
A little while ago I received a newsletter from my son's base. In this newsletter I get the updates of the ongoings on base and the deployed units. This last one focused on the ceremony that was held for the 3 fallen soldiers and their families. One of the now Gold Star Mothers wrote a letter specifically talking about how greatful she was of the outpouring of support she received. She did make one comment that I agree with whole heartedly. She expressed that she wished that she had known some of the mothers prior to the death of her son, because at the funeral it was discovered that some of these mothers whose sons were serving with her son only lived about 2 to 3 hours away. It would have been nice to have been in touch with these mothers all along. I agree, too bad the military couldn't have provided a list perhaps more specifically a sign-up sheet that would allow us mothers to join to know the whereabouts of other mothers. A way that we could volunteer to be allowed to be contacted by other mothers nearby. Our sons didn't have to know each other for the moms to form our own bond and support system. Yes, we do have the Blue Star Mothers but that usually only covers our local area. For me, I would have never have known her if it wasn't for the fact her son was KIA. The parents don't live on base and for many if not all, we don't even live in the same state as the duty station of our soldiers. We can't form the bonds that some of the spouses can for no other reason than location. Not to mention we aren't necessarily looked at as "Family" within the military. Most of the services offered are for families which really means, spouses and children of military personnel. This is no criticism, just an observation. I would have liked to have met this mother sooner and would have liked to have met more prior to this deployment.
On a lighter note, for the mothers I did meet, I loved it when we called one another to have messages passed on when our sons/daughters hadn't contacted us yet and another mother had been in contact. I told my son once, never underestimate the powers of a "Mother". Afterall, we do have a type of underground railroad system if given the right tools.
Army Mom Out
Monday, October 6, 2008
As I have posted previously, my son's unit took a big hit and lost 3 of its own. Before the deployment, I had the privilege to meet another mother from my son's "brat pack". My husband and I spent 4 days with this family and had a wonderful time. Unfortunately, this family we met with their soldier became a Gold Star Family. I still keep in touch with the mother and am amazed at her strength and service to others. When I talk to her she continues to inquire about my son and the others and send care packages. She talks with the other mothers who lost their son in the same battle and prays for all troops. She's concerned for her son's brothers-in-arms and their well being. I like talking with her, she's such an inspiration and she doesn't make me feel guilty that my son is still alive. She's been very candid about her feelings and the emotions she has gone through and continues to find a way to reach out to other Gold Star Mothers. The interesting thing was that she had the same fears as I did the first time I called her after the news of her son; what do I say, how do I comfort her. What I learned is that they need to hear from us, us Blue Star Moms. They need to know they are not forgotten, and still very much a part of us. The friendships they made while their child was alive are still there. I can only imagine the loneliness one must feel and I hope to never know this kind of pain. As Blue Star Mothers, we can't let these women down. We must still offer ourselves to them just as we did before. Through all of her heartache and pain, she still thinks of others. What a remarkable lady!! I hope to never lose her friendship either and her son will never be forgotten.
Let's face it ladies, we are all in this together. We military moms must stick together to help each other make it through the heartaches, the ups and downs, the deployments, and the boring times. Boring is good. We will always share a unique bond that most people never will. When our "children" enlisted, so did we as military moms.
Army Mom Out
Sunday, October 5, 2008
How happy I am to write this. The countdown begins!!! Well it is more than 30 days but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, til my son comes back stateside. I'm so thrilled. I miss him soo much, it'll be nice to have him back on US soil. I just pray mentally he'll be ok. He's been through a lot this deployment and has grown in more ways than I can count. I won't be going to the homecoming because of where he'll be and where I'm at, my husband and I can't afford it. Not to mention we'll only get about 72 hours of advance notice which makes that tough too. The ceremony is only about 10 minutes but what he really wanted was a girl waiting for him when he gets back. Feel bad for him, but relationships while you're in the service is a tough one. It's really hard to establish a good relationship when you're not around to help cultivate it.
More to come later.
Army Mom Out
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Since then, I've received my son's unit license plate holder and I placed that on my car as well. I'm proud of his division, 10th Mountain, stationed out of Ft. Drum, NY.
It reminds me why I started this blog, to remind others that there are real people out there going through deployments and not just the soldiers. To help the other moms not feel so alone. When my son is no longer active duty, I'll still be on here. I think it's important to help as many people as possible with military life. I hope to have a message board soon, but that is still a little ways out, still some matters to work out.
Anyway, Keep the faith, you're not alone and there's more support than you may realize, some are just quieter than others.
Army Mom Out
Saturday, June 21, 2008
The past couple of weeks has been particullary hard. My son's Company lost 3 soldiers. Sgt. Cody Legg, Sgt. Shane Duffy and Spc. Emard while engaging insurgents in firearms and grenades. When I heard the news, my heart sank...I knew one of the fallen soldiers. Before they deployed, my husband and I flew out to see our son on base. There we were met by my son, Spc. Emard and shortly thereafter his family. We pretty much spent 4 days with them. Emard was a character. He seemed to like tuning up his mother with various things, I think just to get a rise. It was funny to watch but you could tell he loved his family. We also met his sister and niece. Cute baby and a nice mom. My son took to the niece. For most of the time he took care of the infant. That was interesting to see how interacted with the baby. He even volunteered to change her diapers and then telling everyone who was within earshot he just changed his first diaper. It wasn't even his child.
The one thing a parents dread more than anything else, is to have 2 uniform military personell show up at their doorstep. This is something every parents truly dreads; the notification that their son or daughter has been killed. It is my understanding that if they show up in dress uniform, the soldier is dead, if they show up in bdu's, then the soldier is seriously injured. Either way, no one wants them at their doorstep. When I got the news, all I kept thinking was how very sad I was for the families. Knowing that 3 families out there just had their whole life torn apart.
The wonderful thing about being a military parent is that if you are fortunate to establish contact with other parents in your child's unit you form bonds. I always laugh to myself of how strong the mothers' bond tend to be. For me, the bond has come from some of my son's friends. Some that I have met prior to deployment, some by phone, and some on a website for Proud Army Moms. Once we find another mom who has a son or daughter in the same unit and/or base, we kinda cling to each other. I have several mothers that I talk to either by email, personal pages or by phone. We help each other get through deployment. Sometimes we employ our soldiers to pass on information for us to another soldier for another mother. I have always told my son to never underestimate the power of mom.
When the news broke out, so did a lot of emails from mothers. "Is your son ok?", "how is your son?" and we all cried. We cried for the mothers who lost their sons, we cried for our soldiers and we cried for us. I've heard that funerals are for the survivors and death is harder on the survivors. The ones that are left behind are left with survivors' guilt, anger, sorrow and the feeling of being lost. Soldiers face PTSD, Combat Stress, Suvivors' Guilt and the grief you feel when you experience the loss of someone close. Everybody suffers and feels the loss. Parents also feel some guilt because while no one wants to wish losing a child on another, you silently pray and thank God it was not your child, and then you feel guilty again. This is normal and I think all parents of military personell goes through this. Now because it's someone you knew, you must now mustard up the courage to call the mother and tell her how sorry you are. This is real tough to do because about this time you realize, you could've been her and this was your child. We military moms must be strong so we make the call. We get off the phone and cry some more.
Attending the funeral is another tough one. You mourn for the family, you mourn for the fallen soldier and you mourn for yourself and your child. You think about what if this was your child. How would you handle this, could you be as brave as the other mother... You then stop yourself, because afterall, this day is not about you or your son, it's about the "other" mother, the one who is now receiving a folded US Flag. Taps begins to play and the gun salute.
I went home after the services and was completely exhausted, both physically and emotionally. I cried some more, I miss my son, I worry about him. I worry about his mental state after going through and seeing the things he's seen. I cried some more and I'm ready for him to come home, I miss him, I love him. I thank God he's still here.
Army Mom Out
Sunday, June 8, 2008
Thursday, June 5, 2008
I don't know where to begin as my heart is breaking. June 4, 2008, my son's unit A Company was hit hard and lost 3 soldiers. Legg, Duffy and Emard. I personally knew Emard and his family and he will be sorely missed by his family, brothers in uniform and friends.
I spoke with Emard's mom and she is a wonderful woman. In spite of her loss, she shared concerns with me regarding his "brothers" in Iraq he left behind. She wanted me to let my son know they need to carry on with the work that they do and to no blame themself for his early departure. Wow, I'm not sure I could be so strong to think about others in this great time of sorrow. She told me she would also continue to pray for them all.
My son is having a difficult time with Emard's passing. There is a certain amount of blame he has for himself eventhough there wasn't anything he could do or the reality of it wasn't his fault. But these are the things that soldiers go through when they lose one of their own. Everyone in the military world feels the loss. The families, the friends, and the fellow soldiers. It's hard on other military mothers as well. It's a reminder to us all how short life can be and how dangerous these deployments are.
In some ways it makes me angry. Angry that there are people who haven't given this war a second thought, or who trash these troops who are fighting and dying on behalf of this country. Emard wasn't old, very young man, but old enough to make the ultimate sacrifice for his country. It also reminds me how it angers me to hear those who say, oh your son isn't in Baghdad, then he should be safe. Well tell Emard that, he wasn't in Baghdad and they came under serious gunfire and grenade attacks.
I'm fighting back the tears as I type this so I will close for now. I ask of you while you go about your day and you complain about the traffic, your day at work, your spouse, whatever, remember there are those fighting for you to keep the freedoms we all take for granted. Stop and say a prayer for the men and women fighting for you and the sacrifices they make and their families make.
The picture above is of Duffy and Emard, both KIA June 4, 2008. Not pictured is Legg also KIA, June 4, 2008.
RIP and God Bless.
Army Mom Out
Thursday, May 15, 2008
Mother's Day was really nice. My son sent me flowers. It made me smile. I took the flowers to work so I could have a little sunshine. I put his card on my computer so I could read it often. It too makes me smile and then think of how much I love and miss him. He said that he tried calling me the day before but I missed his call. On Mother's Day he had to go on a mission so he couldn't call me. I got my flowers though, all was right with the world for that moment in time. I still pray for God to keep him safe and his unit safe as well. I pray that he will come home safe and sound, alive and well, with all body parts working and his sense of humor intact. I wish I could have given him a big hug.
Well, I need to take a nap, I'm just emotionally drained tonight.
Army Mom Out
Thursday, April 17, 2008
I haven't been myself lately and I couldn't put my finger on exactly why. Really, it could have been work, Lord knows I have my hands full with that, it could be the lost pregnancy, nah, didn't feel the same way. I did begin to think about how I feel like I have neglected my son a bit. That is the first tour, I was sending packages left and right, I was extremely active in the Blue Star Mothers and I couldn't wait for that next phone call from him. This time, I have given items to my roommate so he could send them out. In fact, he's been sending so much stuff out, you'd think it was his son.
Side note: it's not my roommates kid. I didn't know him 23 years ago.
Anyway, I still do look forward to his phone calls, but I'm not on MySpace as much. Then it hit me, I'm avoiding thinking too much about him. I had other mothers who wanted to keep in touch with me and I wanted to but then I found myself not wanting to only because it would make me face reality that my only son is back in Iraq in harms way. I didn't and still don't really want to think about it. I love him dearly and wish he was home safe. Then it really hit me, I'm really missing my son. This tour is going to be 15 months long. I still have many months left before he can come home. I just miss him so much. 15 months is a long time, especially when he no longer lives in the same state as you do. I miss his laugh, his sense of humor, his goofiness, and just him. I have found that my mind will wander to the not so pleasant side of "what ifs" and I try not to think of it. I miss holding him, giving him hugs and kisses and his face. I love the fact that his as grown up so much, but miss that I'm not able to watch him. I only get to visit his web site page and imagine what's going on. I do enjoy reading some of the posts from his friends. I feel a little bit closer to him. Every so often I'll get a friend request from one of his friends. But all in all, I'm just trying to survive each day without him.
Army Mom Out
Friday, March 28, 2008
As for this site, I'll be posting again shortly.
Army Mom Out.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
So I'm at work, trying to get work done with a staff shortage. It's keeping my mind busy so I don't think about where my son is so much so that part is good. I didn't get a lot of sleep last night, restless and then I get a phone call at 3:40 a.m. It's my son, he's doing well and wanted to borrow money. He tells me he's going to be taking a tour at a base he's visiting and wanted to buy a new camera to take pictures. I don't do mornings well, and to be awaken makes it that much harder. But we were talking and it's always good to hear from him, cough cough, regardless how early it is. I do enjoy it but I did find myself saying, don't you guys believe in doing stuff at umm 10:00 a.m. at least, does everything have to start so early? lol yep. He seems to be in good spirits and that makes me happy.
The really neat thing, I think, is that I met a lady during the course of my job whose son and daughter-in-law are in the military. The daughter-in-law was going to Iraq and the son elsewhere. After talking with the mother for a while and showing each other our pictures it turned out she lives near me. I had mentioned this to my son and after telling my son her son's name, my son told me they went to Jr. High School together. In fact, they sat next to each other in band. What a small world it is. So I now have a new Military Mom "sister" and we'll keep in touch. It's always nice to meet other military moms.
Oh, the picture, while my son was on leave, he decided to go skydiving for the first time. Apparently he's become an adrenaline junky. We jumped a second time and can't wait to go again. Oh, the joys of motherhood. Before he jumped, I got a call from him telling me he was getting ready to jump out of a plane. A perfectly good plane I might add. It's one thing to do it in the military, which isn't his MOS by the way, it's another thing to do it for sport. Yeah I know, but it's not my cup of tea.
Well I think I'm going to close this for now. I'll do my best to write more often.
Army Mom Out
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
He came home on leave a bit ago and when he left, I just cried. I miss him sooo much. This deployment is sooo different for me. I don't know if it's fear or just plain, I miss him. Odd for me, I just haven't stayed on top of things the way I used to. Now, I know some of you may say, well duh, you're depressed, sure there's some of that but this is still different.
Army Mom Out
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Army Mom out.