Thursday, July 22, 2010

Military Mom, Part One

NOTE:  This is the first in a series of sporadic posts about this military thing happening in our family.  How many Military Mom posts will there be?  No clue.  But more than one.

Perhaps I shouldn't have decorated my den in Americana red, white, and blue.  Perhaps I should have hidden my tears when the Star Spangled Banner was played.  Perhaps I never should have watched any war movies with my boys. All of these things have led to numerous conversations about how this nation came to be free, and how it continues to be free.  Somewhere along the way, my older two boys came to their own conclusions that they wanted to have a part in protecting that freedom.  So now while other moms are shopping for dorm refrigerators and cute rugs, I'm saving Pringle's cans (for sending cookies overseas) and buying Bibles with camo covers.

As Americans, these are the kind of people you want defending and protecting your country.  They believe in freedom, they believe freedom has a price, and they are willing to pay it.  They believe in it so much that you don't have to agree with them or like them, and they will defend your right to voice that.  That is a level of belief with which few of us are familiar. 

As a mom, I don't want my boys to be in harm's way.  I don't want them to see things that will haunt them for the rest of their lives.  I don't want them to be ordered around by people who don't love them as much as I do.  And I really don't want them to miss out on life--marrying, having children, being uncles, worrying about mortgages, finding good schools, staying up late to make sure the kids get home safely, etc.  I want my boys to be happy.  I want them to be healthy.  I want them to live very long lives.  Preferrably near their mom.

My older two boys have decided to be in the military.  Spencer has been in the Army Reserves for two years, and Tanner will be leaving next summer for Marine boot camp. (We have extracted a promise from our youngest, Calder, that he will go to college and party like a normal kid.)  We've learned new lingo, mapped out trips to graduations and celebrations, joined support groups, met recruiters, had conversations with current and former military personnel and their families, packed foot lockers, washed uniforms, and planned ways to make the most of the next several months while we still have everyone close to home.

There have been many late nights, when everyone is asleep and the only sounds are the deep breathing of boys and dogs and the hum of the diswasher set to run in that short window between the last shower of the night and the first shower of the morning, when I think about what these boys are doing.  And I could not be more proud.  I am a military mom.