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Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Lady at the Store

This evening on my way home from guitar lessons with my boys I stopped at the local mini-mart to treat the kids to a soda. There was a lady in front of me buying minutes for her phone. I heard the clerk commenting how she was going through those minutes like crazy this evening. Then I heard the story from the lady....

Her son just graduated from the Air Force boot camp today in Texas and she was unable to be there. I could sense all of her emotions, having gone through many of them myself not so long ago. She was proud, sad, excited and more all at once. Mostly she was just so sad she couldn't be there on this very special day. Had my kids not been in the car and needing me here at home, I was SO tempted to stick her in my car and DRIVE her to her son!

I was blessed that my son had saved his last couple of paychecks from his civilian job and paid for me to come out to see him graduate. Otherwise, in our financial situation, I would not have been able to go myself.

So, while I could relate to all this woman has gone through these last long months with her son away, so far from home, probably for the first time and with so little contact I couldn't fully relate but could SO understand what she must be feeling tonite. Such a sense of pride yet so deeply sad she couldn't be there to share his special day that he has worked so hard for.

Boot camp was among the hardest things I have done thus far as a parent. There are several weeks with no contact what so ever. When the letters start coming in, there is some sense of relief but they too, have their ups and downs. One day your child may tell you the military is the best thing he/she has ever done, and the next letter tells how they think they made the biggest mistake of their lives! Then the anxiety as they prepare for academic and physical tests, as a failure in one can set them back or even get them discharged. Injuries during the vigorous training can do the same. There are just so many emotions moms, wives, girlfriends or other loved ones go through during this time. Words can't even give justice to the array or intensity of feelings.

I have yet to go through a deployment with my son, though I understand that will be in our future. Aside from that possibility/reality, I think the hardest thing a military family goes through is boot camp.

If you know a mom, wife, girlfriend or other close loved ones of a military hero in training, give them a hug, offer them a thanks for raising such a fine young man or women and support them in any way they may need, even if it's just moral support and a hug or shoulder to cry on.

I think most Americans support our military, but many don't think about those left at home who are supporting them and how hard it is. Many of these young men and women also have children who are without a mom or dad over the holidays and other important times of their lives. Remember and support them too.

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