Welcome to Son to Soldier. We started this blog as a way to journal our son's journey to become a soldier and a medic in the U.S. Army (HOOAH!) This has been and continues to be an exciting adventure for our entire family. We have covered lots of new territory and continue to learn more and more every day. We will be posting son's letters, pictures, and will try to keep you updated. And I'm sure we'll also have lots of posts from Mom since she's just a tiny bit proud!! I LOVE being an ARMY MOM!

(*I absolutely hate having to put a big ole watermark on front of my photos. In order to keep from doing this, I ask that you please ask permission before copying or downloading pictures. Thanks :)

Sunday, April 7, 2013

The Soldier Mother's Creed

I am the mother of an American Soldier.

I give my complete and unwavering support to my soldier.

As my son serves the people of the United States, so I humbly offer up prayers for his safety and the safety and health of those he serves beside..

I respect his choice to adhere to a strict moral code and a system of values that has preserved our country over two centuries.

I accept that my soldier's first duty is to his country and I understand that this sacrifice he willingly makes is what keeps our nation great.

I will never expect anything but the best from my soldier, for I know he is capable.

I know that a soldier's heart is true and strong, and that my soldier will endure.

I will never abandon my soldier, my son. I will love him unconditionally.

He will know I am there with him, even when he is alone.

I am disciplined, emotionally and mentally tough, learning to wait for phone calls and letters or emails home.

I, like my soldier, am an expert.
I stand ready to do whatever I can do to let my son, my soldier, know that we are here for him, behind him, we love him, and I will pray for the swift destruction of the enemies of our country.

I am the person who stood guardian of this man who has become my soldier, now our guardian of freedom and the American way of life.

I am the proud mother of an American Soldier!

Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Christmas Welcome Home!

My heart is full to the point that I'm actually speechless!!  I know, who'd a thunk??!!  I can't tell you how it felt to see him step out of that gate and what it felt like to hug that boy again.  I want to make this the best Christmas ever (even though we have to celebrate early before he ships out), and yet in the back of my mind all I can think about is him leaving again...and where he's off to this time, but I'm bound and determined to make it awesome!  It's just that I can only hope with every ounce of my being that people truly understand and appreciate what these men and women are doing.  I was in Walmart the other day talking to a friend and she was utterly surprised to hear me say he was set to deploy.  She asked why.  I had to explain it all to her.  She had no idea we were at war.  I went numb.  And then the fire set in (No..I didn't let her see the fire...At least I don't think I did!)   Although she did sort of dare me to go up to a stranger and ask them if they thought we were at war.  She wanted to see what they thought.  Maybe she didn't take my word for it.  Are people really that naive?  People really don't watch, read, or listen to the news?  Then the thought came to me....Do they care?

Maybe they would understand more if they came to my house one afternoon this week and washed his uniforms, saw the several pairs of battered combat boots lined up in his room, opened the closet and rubbed their hand over his dress uniform with his ribbons and medals, or saw the pile of combat gear, gun cleaning and medic equipment that mom put in a box in the corner so she wouldn't have to look at it.  Maybe that would make it real to them then.  One can only hope....and pray!

For now....this family is going to have Christmas.  A VERY Merry Christmas!  And mom has lots of shopping to do in order to have it all done in time.  We wish you a Merry Christmas where ever you are!  And if you run into a soldier or a soldier's family.....wish them the same.

Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong

A Soldiers Night Before Christmas

Twas the night before Christmas, he lived all a lone,
In a one bedroom house made of plaster and stone.
I had come down the chimney with presents to give,
And to see just who in the home did live.

I looked all about - a strange sight did I see.
No tinsel.  No presents - not even a tree.
No stocking by the fire, just boots filled with sand.
On the wall hung pictures of far distant lands.

With  medals and badges - awards of all kinds,
A sobering thought came to my mind.
For this house was different - so dark and so dreary.
The home of a solider I'd found....once I could see clearly.

I'd heard stories about them.  I had to see more.
So I walked down the hall and pushed open the door.
And there he lay sleeping; silent...alone,
Curled up on the floor in his one bedroom home.

His face was so gentle.  His room in disorder.
Not how I pictured a United States soldier.
Was this the hero of whom I'd just read?
Curled up in his poncho - the floor for a bed?

His head was clean shaven.  His weathered face tan,
I soon understood this was more than a man.
For I realized the families that I saw that night,
Owed their lives to these men who were willing to fight.

Soon round the world the children would play,
And grownups would celebrate a bright Christmas day.
They all enjoyed freedom each month of the year,
Because of soldiers like this one, laying right here.

I couldn't help wonder how many lay alone,
On a cold Christmas Eve so far from home.
Just the very thought brought a tear to my eye.
I dropped to my knees and I started to cry.

The soldier awakened and I heard a rough voice,
"Santa don't cry.  This life is my choice.
I fight for freedom, I don't ask for more.
My life is my God, country, family and Corps."

With that he rolled over and drifted back into sleep.
I couldn't control it, I continued to weep.
I watched him for hours - so silent, so still.
I noticed he shivered from the cold night's chill.

So I took off my jacket - the one made of red.
And I covered this soldier from his toe to his head.
And I put on his t-shirt of gray and of black,
With and eagle and Army patch embroidered on back.

And although it'd not fit, my heart swelled with pride.
For one shining moment I was US Army inside.
I didn't want to leave him on that cold dark night,
This guardian of honor so willing to fight.

Then the soldier rolled over and whispered with a voice clean and pure,
"Carry on, Santa.  It's Christmas Day.  All is secure."
One look at my watch and I knew he was right.
Merry Christmas my friend, and to all a good night.
~Lt. Col. Bruce Lovely, USAF

Monday, November 19, 2012

Army Parent's Creed

I am the parent of an American soldier. 
 I will support, respect and honor the protectors of this great Nation, this team we call Army. 
I seek to serve by word and deed not only my soldier but all soldiers. 
I will always treat a soldier respectfully, always defending their service with pride. 
I will never accept disrespect or dishonor of my soldier or any soldier from anyone.
 I will never abandon a soldier, injured or otherwise and I will always fight for their right to be treated fairly and honorably, even by those with whom they serve. 
I will privately bear the pain of loss and separation from my soldier, always striving to be uplifting and positive in their presence for their sake. 
 I will always acknowledge an Army soldier in public or private, commending and praising them for their service to us. 
 I will never let them forget that we are proud of them nor of the deep appreciation we have for their sacrifice. 
 I will stand by my soldier and those who serve with them, confronting anyone seeking to harm, dishonor or deny them basic human rights. I am the mother or father of my child, I am an Army parent.
Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Call

So, as near as I can remember (it still seems a little surreal and cloudy), it went like this.  Picture, if you will, a busy, chaotic, way too much energy in this house, Halloween night.  It was 6:45 p.m.; prime time for trick-or-treaters, Halloween feast FINALLY spread out on the table, doorbell, dog barking, T.V. blaring, and yells of "your turn to get the door".  The phone rings.  I see son's cute little picture pop up on my cell (he'll ALWAYS be that cute little boy to me!).  Of course even in my holiday chaos( yes, Halloween IS a holiday..NOT an event as hubby would like us to believe ;) I quickly answer the phone.  Halloween is one of his most favorite times of year.  I thought the sad reluctance I heard in his voice was due to the fact that he wasn't home for Halloween.  I was trying to cheer him up a little and started telling him my lame Halloween jokes (I'll spare you all the details as I'm told there are times that I'm not NEARLY as funny as I think I am!), when the bomb drops.  In the middle of my joke (okay...now I just gotta share it.  What do you get when you goose a ghost?)..he stops me (Sorry to leave you hanging...I know your'e dying for the answer to the riddle!) he says, "So...Mom.  There was a change on my orders today.  Deployment."  I froze.  Okay...this was not a funny Halloween joke.  And if it was, MY joke was much funnier!  (Answer...a handful of sheet!).  I froze.  Did he really just say the "D" word?  My Army Strong instantly changed to Army Sucks!  I looked straight ahead and said, "Where?"
"It's pretty vague, Mom.  It doesn't really give an exact date.  Some time after the first of the year.  The 1st and 3rd Brigades are returning and xx00 troops from the 2nd and 4th are deploying. It says to report earlier, Dec. XX. (So much for Christmas at home.  Army TRULY Sucks!!!)  It says prepare to deploy."
I couldn't get out my next question..which was...WHY???  I knew why.  I still know why.  Because it's his job.  Because it's what he wanted to do with his life...what he was called to do with his life.  Because "they" need him.  After sitting in a freeze frame position for what seemed like an eternity, I snapped to.  I started to relay the information to his dad across the room.  Dad calmly looked at me and said, "I know."  I just kept talking.  Again, he said, "I know."  I kept talking louder and faster.  Finally he said, "Honey, stop!  I know!". I said, "How can you possibly know?  Can you HEAR him on the phone from across the room?"  He answered, "He's been texting me all afternoon.  He didn't know how to tell you and was worried about how you'd take the news."  Frozen....again.  That's my boy!  Worried about his mom.  Forever my little protector.    Change to Army Sad.  A snap back into reality.  
Son said, "Mom, it's going to be okay."
"I know, Bud.  It's going to be fine.  We knew this was a possibility."
"But...right out of the gate? Wow."
It's because you scored 100% on your final assessment, isn't it??!! (chuckle)
"Mom, you're taking it much better than I thought you would."  Oh...if  he could only hear how fast my heart is racing.  If he could see the pictures that are flashing through my mind.  Thank heavens he can't!
I assured him that I knew it was coming.  (I did. I truly knew. Mother's intuition? I just didn't want to believe it.)  I assured him that all would be fine.  He would be taken care of.  His "brothers" will always have his back and his Heavenly Father will always protect and watch over him.  He knows him and loves him and knows his needs and desires.  (My heart is still racing.  Am I even remembering to breathe?)
He's nervous.  I can hear it in his voice.  I ask him how he's feeling.  He tells me he's worried he doesn't know enough....hasn't had enough training.  He's worried he'll mess up and that the guys won't respect him.  He tells me if the guys don't have faith in you and respect you as a medic then the entire morale of the company is lost.  He said, "I want to be the one the guys call "Doc", not the one they're sorry to have to have follow them on patrol."  Then he said, "What am I going to do the first time I lose someone?  Mom, we all lose someone. It comes with the job.  It's inevitable even for the best.  We've had training for that, but how can you prepare for that?"
I answered him the only way I knew how. ( Army Strong again?)  I said a quick prayer in my heart.  Then I told him to rely on his Heavenly Father; ask Him for help and guidance and always stay close to Him.  To remember that he prayed long and hard before he enlisted so he would know, without a doubt, that it was the right thing for him to do. I told him to rely on his knowledge and his training; he is of the best of the best.  Be confident.  Be a good example.  Be a friend.  I told him he could do this.  He's got this.  He was a natural at this.  (He really is...and I'm amazed at how quickly he's picked it all up.  Amazed!)  And I told him not to worry about his old Mom!!  Then he said, "But who will protect you when I'm gone.  I've always protected you, Mom.  It's my job."  True.  Why is he so protective of his mom?  Why he's always thought it was his job I will never know, but I think it's sweet.  With that, he had to leave for formation.  I told him I loved him and not to worry.  We've got this.  We've ALL got this.
The next morning....after every one left....Mom was finally able to have her moment...and the tears fell like rain.  (Welcome back to Army Sad).  I turned where I often turn when I need help and reassurance and I feel like I have no where else to go.  I said a prayer, opened my scriptures and read:

"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear.
But of power, and of love, and of a sound mind."
2Timothy 1:7

Back to Army Strong!  We got this, Bud!

Be Safe - Be Good - Be Strong

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Fort Campbell Here We Come!

The awaited day arrives!  Son received orders to Fort Campbell, Kentucky with the 101st Airborne (Air Assault)!  Home of the Screaming Eagles! The 101'st has a TON of history behind it.  It also holds the record for the most deployments.  We're all a little excited and anxious...Son included.  He's hoping this means he can be an inflight medic.  No word on further training, but being assigned to the 101st is a good sign!  He was the only Private out of the company to be assigned there.  All the other guys were Specialists.  He has no idea what this means exactly, just thought it was kind of cool.  One of the other guys pointed it out to him. 

And the best part of all???  Ready???..........