There are many ways to honor our children. We celebrate their success, build them up when they believe that they have failed (even when we know that they haven't), we support them with their decisions and allow them to make mistakes. We aren't able to physically hold their hands forever. However, we do emotionally hold their hands forever.
During a radio interview last week, I was asked the question..."How did you feel when your daughter joined the military?" After a second, I answered the best way that I knew how. I told the DJ that I knew that joining the Army was her decision. She was an adult and I couldn't dictate her life for her. I don't think I would have described my feelings as happy. However, I was excited that she had made a life decision that would help her grow into adulthood.
Some children know, from a very young age, that they are destined to join the miltary. They even know which military branch they will join and their focus will not be skewed in any other direction. This can be hard for a parent to discern. One of our Blue Star Mothers experienced this first hand. Her son joined the Army as soon as he graduated high school. He is now 19 years old and just left for his first tour in Afghanistan. Just thinking about him leaving makes my heart hurt because it is easy to think of all of the events that he will miss being so far away from his family. I've been there...done that. It hurts just as much as if it were my own child missing a birthday or holiday.
So, how do you get through the hard days? The radio station asked me this question too. My answer was very simple. You lean on the strength of those who have been there before. (And there are many mothers in this position in the Fredericksburg Area). You know that it is ok to cry, laugh and be happy too! I know that this isn't easy, but it is necessary to keep every sane. You take one day at a time, and enjoy the little dot showing up on Facebook to give you a short few minutes to "talk" to your child. Honoring your child means celebrating every minute that you are able to spend with them, even if they are few and far between sometimes. And, lastly, honoring your child means continuing on with your life as if they were right here with you, and not thousands of miles away. Why? Because even though they may not be here physically, your happiness can be the support that they need, all those thousands of miles away.
1stVP - Blue Star Mothers of Fredericksburg