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 :)

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