Parents of Children at War
I just found out that my daughter is going to reenlist in the Army. That will mean 3 more years of active duty. Being that she is in the Veterinary Corps, there’s less chance of her being deployed to the Middle East. But as those of you who have family members in the military know, things can change in an instant. So I live with the gnawing in my gut of potential deployment. I am fortunate that it’s just that so far. I’ve talked to many parents not so fortunate but who live 24/7 with the reality of their children in combat, many for multiple deployments. Most all of whom I’ve talked to handle it with grace and courage. They understand that their child is a Soldier, Marine, Sailor or Airman, voluntarily so. They understand what that means.
But that does not mean it’s easy, in any way, shape or form.
Cavmom has an exceptional and very personal post up that answers the question she gets from many first deployment parents:
Everyone should read it, not just military parents. Your neighbor might just be one such parent. Or the clerk at your grocery store. Your mailperson. Your car mechanic. Your doctor. Your insurance agent. Your child’s teacher.
The non-military folks in this country are so detached from our military at this time, that most don’t have a clue as to what having a child in the military during wartime means.
As one soldier wrote on a wooden board:
“We’re at war. America is at the mall”.
It would behoove everyone to know that there are parents sitting up at night in the kitchen wondering if their child is in harm’s way – after all, they haven’t heard from him or her in a couple of weeks. (Military parents’ mantra is “No news is good news”.) There are parents sleeping with their cellphone under their pillow. Parents who every day, check their driveway for an official looking car as they come up their street after work. Parents who put on that smile in public even though they just heard on the radio that another US soldier has been killed, not knowing if it’s their soldier. They go to school functions for their other kids. They go to church on Sunday. They do the grocery shopping, pay the bills, send off care packages, and hold conversations with people who are totally insensitive and blast them with their political views.
So please read Cavmom’s post and send it on to as many people as you know. She’s been through it more than once.
Then when you notice a military decal on a car, a Blue star banner in a window, a military flag in their front yard, say a prayer, not only for the soldier but also for his or her loved ones here at home who wait and pray 24/7.
And help them keep laughing.
Our kids are.