Thank a Vet and Hug a Mom

My father who served in the Air Force in Vietnam and my son who followed his footsteps now serving overseas

My father who served in the Air Force in Vietnam and my son who followed his footsteps now serving overseas

As a military mom and daughter, today holds a special place in my heart.  Veteran’s Day signifies so much to me—sacrifice, freedom and liberty.  It’s my first “official” Veteran’s Day as a military mom.  Last year at this time my son had just graduated basic training and was in tech school training in Security Forces.  Today he is stationed overseas, doing his duty.

For those of us left behind—never knowing when we’ll see our son or daughter again—it can be a day filled with mixed feelings.  Great pride in their choice to serve this country and yet anguish over the distance and separation.

Little did I know—that day my 10-year-old was walking from one gravesite to another, straightening the flags and brushing off the dirt at our local Veteran’s Cemetery—that one day he would answer the call.  I couldn’t have imagined that he would turn 18 years old, graduate high school and within two months be gone.

I can’t say it’s been an easy road for me to travel as a mom.  He is in the Middle East, a part of the world that is unshaky at best.  He doesn’t know when or if he will be able to take leave.  I haven’t felt his hug since January 2, 2013.  And I may not feel it again until May of 2014 (if I’m lucky).  There’s a lot of uncertainty, a lot of unknowns.  I’ve faced the first of his birthdays (when he turned 19), my first mother’s day and now the first holidays without him.

And yet…despite my down days and the times my faith is weak—I remember all the times God has seen me through in parenting him.  The sassy little three-year-old who used to spit at people and tell them to shut up.  The constantly moving six-year-old who learned to read sitting on his head.  The obstinate 10-year-old who refused to do math.  The mouthy 13-year-old who thought I didn’t know anything.  And the distant 16-year-old who would barely emerge from his room.

God saw me through.  He will continue to see me through.  Moms/dads, he will see you through as well.  Take the time today to thank a veteran.  And if you can, hug a mom who is desperately missing her son or daughter.

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