A First Letter
I don’t know where to begin this first letter to you. I am so conflicted on your departure. On the one hand, I know you have trained very hard for this – everything you have done for the past 15 months was leading to this day. I know that you want and need to be there for your brothers. Not something I will ever fully understand or appreciate because I have never been or will ever go to war. So that intensifies my fears. Dad understands and fears all the more for you.
And he and I are indescribably proud of you for all you have endured and achieved. I know at times you don’t understand why people thank you for your service, but I think some day you will. More than pride, however, is our love for you. You are the single most precious thing in our lives (as is each of our children.) So, of course, we have spent our lives leading you, teaching you and protecting you. These fuel our fear. We have faith in you, your abilities, your skills – but there is nothing you can say or do that will alleviate that fear -- a parent's fear -- until you are home with us again. It is the law of nature and God’s Law.
While I am a pretty non‑violent person, I discovered long ago that my love for my children is so fierce – so deep and overwhelming – that if I were asked to kill to protect you, I not only could kill – but I would actually enjoy it if it meant your or any of your brothers' or sister’s safety. That’s Mom’s Law!
I know that our country has a mission in Iraq; I know that the Army and your unit also have their missions… Just don’t confuse those missions with YOUR principle mission – which is to come home safe to us. Your job is to do whatever it takes to accomplish YOUR mission. If it's you or them -- make it them.
I know that you will, in the next year or so, experience many, many things you have only heard about or imagined (and about which I am already having nightmares!) When you think you’ll be overwhelmed by any of it, just bring it back to a manageable chunk – TODAY I WILL DO WHAT I CAN DO TODAY. This moment only… the rest later.
We will think of you many, many times every day you are in harm’s way. We will pray for your safety and your return. Remember how much you are loved by all your family and friends. And remember that if you want to GET mail, you gotta GIVE mail! :-D
Write and call often. If you email me, I will send it on to your aunts, uncles and your buds! Lots of people will be sending you and your “crew” things – so be sure to send thank you notes or emails (however brief they may be) and they’ll keep sending stuff! :-D
I believe your Dad and I love you more than you will ever know… but I also know we get that back from you ten-fold! Keep your eyes open and your head and ass down! Remember that alert today = alive tomorrow!