Monday, August 1, 2011

Military Mom Part Seven: Q & A

Note: This is the sixth in a series of sporadic posts about this military thing happening in our family (one son in the Army; one joining the Marines). How many Military Mom posts will there be? No idea. But more than six.

Once again, the Question Box on my desk is overflowing, this time with questions concerning the military thing going on in our family.  I will attempt to answer some of these questions here.

Q:  How are you adjusting to having only one child at home?
A:  Well, it depends.  While there are some pluses (less laundry and fewer mouths to feed), I don't know how to cook for 5 people (Husband and Youngest each count as two) when I previously cooked for 8-10 people.  Definite learning curve there.  Honestly, I would take the mountains of laundry and the constant grocery shopping in a heartbeat.  Plus, we still have 3 dogs. :-)  Seriously, some days are better than others.  Some days are just downright difficult.

Q.  At least you don't have to go months without communication.  I mean, you get phone calls, right?
A.  Let me be clear: I am VERY thankful for technology.  It's generally about every other day or so that we get to at least touch base with our soldier through a social networking site.  We have been able to use Internet phone calling, but I would hesitate to call it a great way to communicate.  A typical Internet phone session is something like this:
 Connection (after numerous tries)
About 15 seconds or so of being able to see him on live video
No video of him, though most times he can see us
10 or so minutes of us talking and him typing (his situation is such that he can't talk and must communicate through his keyboard)
15 or so minutes of us trying to catch up (again, he is typing--we haven't heard his voice since May)
Several minutes of sadness
Again, I am VERY grateful for the technology we do have.  It's far from glamorous, but we will take what we can get.

Q.  How do you communicate with your Marine?
A.  Well, our FUTURE Marine is still in Boot Camp and has little control over his own life.  We have received letters from him and think we may get another phone call soon.  He seems to be doing well and is certain this is what he is supposed to do.  I know this:  This kid was born to be a Marine.  Watch out, world. 

Q:  What can we do to help?
A:  Pray, pray, pray.  Every single day, every single minute, the brave men and women of our military are placed in harm's way.  They are asked to pay a high price for the freedom and safety of the people of the United States.  Most of them have left families to serve this country.  It is a high price that has been paid in the past and is being paid now.  Please do not take that for granted.  Be thankful there are those willing to serve.

Q.  How are you able to stand it?
 A.  We have our faith.  We have a great support system of family and friends.  We have social networking and Internet phone calls.  :-)

Our family and friends not only pray for and love on our boys, but they pray for and love on us, too.  We have felt the loving support of those who live near us, and of those who live far away.  Even more importantly, however, is that our sons are feeling the prayers and love.  And we know that God loves these boys even more than we do, which seems difficult to fathom, but we know it to be true.

Q.  Are you tired of sending packages?
A.  Absolutely not.  While standing in line at the Post Office, I almost always get into a conversation with someone who sees my military flat rate box and asks if I know someone in the service.  I take that opportunity to tell them about my soldier and my future Marine.  They always, always ask me to thank my boys, and they always thank me for raising them.  I can't take the credit, but it sure makes my mommy heart proud.

Q. What are you going to do when they come home on leave?
A.  Well,  I'm pretty sure I'll cry.  There have been predictions that I will permanently attach myself to them and follow them everywhere they go.  I'll probably cry.  I'm pretty certain I will peek in on them several times a night, just to remind myself they're here, and I'll cry.  I will bake tons of cookies, do lots of laundry, laugh like crazy, and cry as they tell me their stories.  Then, when it comes time to say goodbye again, I will take them to the airport, hug them, cry, and drive back home with an empty feeling again.  I will look around at the remnants of their visit, I will pet their dogs, and along with Husband and Youngest, we will share some difficult days.  Our God, our family, and our friends will once again rally behind us, and we will get through the next phase of one son's training and one son's tour of duty.  We will repeat the process as many times as necessary for our sons to fulfill their obligations.  And we will cry.

Q.  Will you please tell your boys thanks for us?
A.  I will.  And you just did.

Thanks to all of the men and women protecting and defending this great country, and to the families who are supporting them.  God, please bless the United States of America.