Logan turned four this past week.
Time goes by so quickly.
C has a pair of dogtags that he has had since basic fourteen years ago. They are like any other, two thin pieces of metal with black rubber surrounding them. Attached is a tag I sent him during his first deployment that is scratched almost beyond recognition. If you look hard enough you can just barely see the simple cross on the one side and the words "I Fear No Evil" on the other.
The instant I heard the light clanging of the metals clinging against each other I knew what Logan had in his hands.
"I'm a soldier, Mommy" he said placing the dogtags around his neck, letting go so they hung to his waist.
I smiled - a thin, tight smile while the cling-cling-clinging continues with every tiny movement of his little body.
"I'm gonna be a soldier, Mommy. Just like Daddy. I'm going to be a soldier."
The same thin smile holds on my face while I search for the air that has left my lungs again. He smiles wide while pulling up the dogtags, trying to raise them higher on his chest. They slip back below his waist the moment he lets go.
"Just like Daddy!" he reminds me, "I'm gonna be a soldier."
"Just like Daddy," I nod.
C's mom will have both her sons deployed at the same time (for the first time) in the future. Two different branches, two different locations, but for the first time, their deployments will overlap. For the first time, both of her sons - her only children - will be in harm's way.
I don't know what that must feel like.
Looking at Logan and looking at Eli I cannot begin to comprehend how much that must hurt. How empty that must feel - to be helpless.
To know that your child - who will always be your child - will be going where you cannot protect them, or jump in front of them, or hold them, or keep them, or fight for them.
I am so very proud of my husband. I am so grateful to be married to such an incredible man. I am humbled by the life we live, blessed by the lessons it provides, strengthened by the people it has surrounded us with. I am honored to belong to this community.
But for whatever reason, the idea of Logan or Eli entering into it as soldiers and not just existing in it as military children ...
It leaves me searching for breath every single time. Leaves me aching with every innocent "just like daddy" comment. It cuts in the deepest way.
But goodness is Logan proud of his daddy. Every soldier he sees he calls, "Daddy's soldier," or "Daddy's friend," or "Daddy's buddy." Every helicopter is one "Daddy can jump out of." Every airplane holds a different meaning for him.
Because Daddy is his hero.
And he loves his daddy. Thank God C is a man that in every way I would be proud to have a son just like him - proud to have two sons just like him.
C is a good man. A good father. A good husband.
Every part of me would be so proud to raise two young men who are good men, good fathers, good husbands. It is my purpose as a momma. : ) My goal.
Their role model - their daddy - is a good man, a good father, a good husband.
But day-in and day-out he is also a good soldier.
Of course they want to be just like him.
If there is ever a day that I look at either of them and hear, "Mom, I want to be a good soldier" ... I hope that with the greatest grace and the smallest smile I can hug them, kiss their cheeks, and remember the words of this little boy.
"Just like Dad."
The blog was nominated as a "Best U.S. Military Spouse Blog" for the 2012 MilBlog Conference. If you are a supporter of TLAS I would appreciate your vote! You can find the nomination on the first page.. A few other nominating comments have been left but they are being deleted as there aren't supposed to be multiple comments left for the same blog.
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