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 :)

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