"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.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

To Give a Child

"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.


  1. 2 things, the first slightly off-topic for your post. My daughter has respiratory problems, too. They are hoping she will "grow out of it" and I really hope she does because watchng your child have difficulty breathing is tough, so tough. They still call it RAD and I hope that soon that will be off the charts because she "grew out of it."

    Secondly, I am right there with you, and have a personal story to share with you. My husband joined the Marine Corps when he was 17. Yes, 17. His dad (who was in the Army when he was younger) passed away when he was 16. All of his uncles were in the Marine Corps and his dad had told him he did not want him to join and he would not sign the papers for him to join before he was 18--even though he would be barely 17 when he graduated high school. Unfortunately, his dad was not there when someone had to sign the papers.

    My mother-in-law also passed away young, but she and I were very close and she talked to me about the decision to sign those papers on more than one occasion. My husband ALWYAS wanted to be a Marine. His mom swore that his first sentence was "I want to be a Marine." So, when the time came--less than a year after his father's death, right after high school graduation--she signed those papers. She did it with some hesitation, obviously...who could "sign away" their child's life. But, he was going to do it anyway--his 18th birthday was right around the corner. He came from a family where they could not offer him financial help to pay for college or give him much more. So she felt that giving him an early start into the Marine Corps (despite her reservations) was the best thing that she could do for him.

    Turns out, it was. My husband was accepted into a commissioning program after a deployment to Afghanistan which began when he was on a MEU during what we all thought was a time of peace. He moved from Staff Sgt. to 2nd Lt. while I was pregnant with our little girl. Now he's a Captain, all of his own merits, all because his mom let him follow his dreams... His mom passed away during his first deployment to Iraq when our daughter was 1.

    We always joked that my mother-in-law was still looking out for us, trying to keep us together by leaving this earth while he was away on deployment--forcing him to come home to say his last goodbyes, a little too late. I will never forget the call saying she was gone--or having to speak with my husband a world away and discuss his mother's death.

    She was a selfless woman. She gave all that she could to anyone she loved or cared for. So, when I think about this issue, I can't imagine having a child in the military. I think being a miltiary wife is much easier--and I think this is a TOUGH gig!. But this isn't about us--it's about something bigger. Something I don't fully understand. I suppose it takes a women bigger than me. My mother-in-law gave her son to his country, and I truly believe our nation is a better place for it--she gave her heart to her son to let him have the career that wanted, despite her person wishes; but she had pride in her decisions and lived those years knowign that she helped make her son a bigger man, giving his country and his family an amazing life--she gave me my husband. I don't know how she did it, but I am glad that she did.

  2. Beautiful post! It's not something I can begin to think about....

  3. I already told Prince Charming he can be in the Air Force like in Poppy (grandpa), but no Army like Daddy ;) Of course, I am just joking. I am the same way. That is my baby boy. He love to wear his "army clothes" like daddy. Heaven helo my heart if that boy grows up to defend this country like his daddy. I will support him with my every fiber, but I am in tears thinking about it...ya know.

  4. oops...I am terrible about proof reading...."like his Poppy"..."loves to wear"..."heaven help"...sorry to sound like some goof on your blog!

  5. Queen: You made me laugh out loud. And I know exactly what you mean.

    Wife: Thank you!

    Beth: Thank you, thank you, thank you for sharing. I am so very sorry for your husband's parents' passing but his mother sounds like an incredible woman. What a heavy load to carry and it seems like she did so with such grace. C's mother had to sign the same paper when he was seventeen. Their situations and reasoning were/are very similar. She sounds like she was a beautiful, beautiful woman who you learned much from. Thank you so very much for sharing, Beth.

  6. So I totally wrote about that last month. My hubby also enlisted at 17 and since he was the 5th generation in his family to do so, I have no allusions that one of my 3 will most likely choose that path. My oldest has already told us he will (that being said, he's 9).
    And since it's far enough away that I can think of it rationally before it gets closer and I think about it hysterically, I wrote about it now.


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