"We are going to treat him for it and watch him closely but I do not want to put it in his records yet. We could but once we do I can't take it back. It will follow him forever. He may grow out of it in a few years and if he does and he wants to go to the Air Force Academy or into Special Operations it may prevent that. I would rather wait a little longer to put the word in his chart."
For a split second it was me who couldn't breathe.
Eli has always had respiratory issues. He was born with a respiratory infection, has allergies, sometimes needs a nebulizer, and is now on two inhalers. Most of the time he is okay but what we feared is very possibly coming to be and having that conversation with the doctor was all that my heart was prepared for. But to hear what he said about the future.
It caught me off guard.
This was my baby. My littlest, little boy. The first face I see in the morning as he stands beside my bed and yells, "Momma!" to wake me up at 6 a.m. This little boy that needs a little help breathing sometimes - and that was enough for me at that moment.
"If he wants to go to the Air Academy or into Special Operations ... "
He's a baby. He's my baby.
They can't have him.
But that won't be my choice. That decision will not lie with me. It will be his and my hands will be tied. How my heart goes out to the Army parents. As a wife - I chose this. I could have walked away. I could have said, "The possibility of losing you is not something I will live with," and taken another road. I chose this for myself. I gave myself to this life but to give a child ... to give my littlest, little boy ... my baby ...
How hard that must be.
Thank you to the parents who kiss their sons and daughters good-bye and give them to this nation. Who support them as they fight and defend and give of themselves. Thank you to the parents who sacrifice as well, and who go unnoticed, and are often left in the dark. Thank you for the love you give that pushes them forward as they stand beside our husbands and wives.
One of C's LT's has incredible parents who stayed involved, who donated, who were there to welcome him home. We were very blessed to have them with our team. I always say that you don't know what you are capable of until you are in it - until your only choices are to 'do' or to 'don't'. I wonder what they thought when their son chose to be a soldier. I wonder if his mother said, "No." I wonder if she said she couldn't do it. Because when that doctor looked that far in Eli's future my entire body became tense. Every single muscle stiffened and all I could think was that he would never, ever go.
But that will not be mine to choose. I hope that if that ever is what he chooses God will cover me in grace. I pray that if that is the case, I will have the strength to hug him and to kiss him and to let him go. Because I know how much pride I will have. I know the fear that I will try to keep inside. I know how the tears will be mixed with both as I watch him walk away from me.
He will still be my baby and I will think of this same moment and I will let him go.
I can be an Army wife - I love being an Army wife - but if I ever become a military mom ... God give me strength.
"A soldier doesn't fight because he hates what is in front of him. A soldier fights because he loves what he left behind." - unknown
"God is our refuge and strength. He will protect us and make us strong" (ps 46:1). For those who will fly today, for those who are there now, and for those who will soon join the fight, Lord, shield them from all evil, strengthen their hearts, and bring them home safely.