color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: Welcome to The Club, Mary-Jo

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Welcome to The Club, Mary-Jo

I read over at my friend Andi's World about a Marine's mom who wrote an OpEd piece about her son's upcoming deployment to Iraq. Ms. Cooney gives us a small glimpse of her son's younger days and then provides the obligatory bashing of President Bush and the "this war would never have happened if it was your child" meme. (Sigh).

So as a mother who has actually sent a child to war, I'd like to answer this mother.

Dear Mary-Jo:

Welcome to membership in a very elite club -- one you did not ask to join but one in which you should take immense pride: Mothers of those in the military. Imagine, Mary-Jo -- less than 1% of this country's population serves in the military -- so that sets you -- and us and our sons and daughters -- apart from most others. It is never more true when they say "You did not enlist, but you still serve."

We are an extremely diverse group: young and old, rich, poor and in-between. We are bankers, lawyers, stay at home moms, scrub women and some of us are retired. We have every skin color that God put on this Earth and some we made for ourselves.

We practice every faith, some practice no particular faith and some have no religious beliefs at all.

We are Republicans, Democrats and Independents while some have no political affiliation at all.

Some of us are married, some widowed, some divorced, some just single. We live border to border, coast to coast, and some live beyond our borders.

Some of us support the mission in Iraq and others, like you, do not. There is a very large group who do not care how or why we got there, but we have skin in this game and we want to be assured that when our sons and daughters come home -- when the military and not the politicians say the mission is complete -- that they never have to go back. And all of us never want to have to fight the enemy here. I suspect that your son shares these last two goals. I suspect that he supports the mission in Iraq as well.

While we may be a diverse group, we have a few common threads that run from and to and through each of us: we love our children and we worry when they are in harm's way. There is no group more united in its anti-war core for we know better than any other the price of those wars... but most of us understand that sometimes war is necessary. Lastly, while we may be divergent in our locations, faiths, economic standards, our races.. we mothers are a sisterhood like no other and we will support you while your son is deployed. We will be "here" for you while he is "there". Nothing else matters to us except that your child is serving. Through this club your son has become our son, and we hope our sons will be yours.

I hope Ms Cooney will revel in every minute of the pre-deployment leave she has with her son -- making memories that will last until he is home again... and then gone again.

I hope she will read
So Your Child is Being Deployed for some practical advice about things she can or should do before he leaves and also while he's gone.

I hope she will take the time to read
Thoughts of a Soldier's Mom in a Time of War in which I said (among a number of other things),

We mothers joke that we would go over and cook, clean and do laundry for our sons and daughters, but the truth is, we would trade places with them in a heartbeat to keep them safe. To keep them from being hot, cold, hungry, tired, sore and from being shot at or being blown up. I have never had more enthusiastic agreement from military moms than when I say that sending a child to war really is the most counterintuitive thing a parent can ever do. We spend the first 18+ years of their lives making sure they are not too hot or too cold; making sure they are protected from biting bugs and making sure no one is shooting at them. And now we are called upon to wave and smile as they leave for places that are always too hot, too cold, they have bugs the size of small dogs and people are shooting at them all the time.

I know this is exactly how she feels... how I feel... how we feel... Welcome to The Club.

The burden of having a loved one at war is without a doubt one of the heaviest burdens a mother can bear... but we will be here with you and for you, Mary-Jo to help you through until he is home again.

10 Comments:

At 7/10/2007 6:30 PM , Blogger Stacy said...

Thanks SSM. You are right, sending our sons/daughters off to war has to be the absolute hardest thing we as parents have ever had to do, but we do it, and we stand behind our soldiers. It's a long road, but I for sure could not have done it without you, nor could I continue to go through the after Iraq without you to lean on.

Thanks for sharing this with us. You ROCK...

 
At 7/11/2007 8:12 AM , Blogger David M said...

Trackbacked by The Thunder Run - Web Reconnaissance for 07/11/2007
A short recon of what’s out there that might draw your attention, updated throughout the day...so check back often.

 
At 7/11/2007 8:25 AM , Blogger Stan68ar said...

Very well said - I have two children in the Military at the moment - and have served myself - Moms will be moms - Mine worried about me - but she respected my choice and reveled with me in being part of that club of special patriots that shoulder the burden for our country.

 
At 7/11/2007 9:09 AM , Blogger joyce said...

I have a son serving in the Air Force, and a son at Warrior Forge, ROTC camp. I can understand if the Army does not want to bother with mail for the month they are at camp, but why tell them they can have mail, then say they have not "earned" it. I am confused. Thanks for the help

 
At 7/11/2007 9:24 AM , Blogger Some Soldier's Mom said...

Joyce... Because he has a NCO (or higher) who has decided that this is a way to "make them tough".... or punish the cadets because someone didn't do something someone (higher) wanted them to do in the time or the fashion he wanted it done... And as a Mom I know I'd be ticked, as well, but there are many ways to motivate and teach and the Army (and the AF, the Marines, and Navy) have them all. Your son will be fine -- and the mail will be that much "sweeter" when he gets it. Hang in there, Joyce... he'll be fine.

 
At 7/11/2007 12:47 PM , Blogger joyce said...

Thank you. I enjoy the military blogs like yours and spousebuzz so much. You are a great encouragement to us. It has been thirty years since my husband was in the military (Army) and even then it was the end of the cold war. Blogs are such a wonderful way to encourage each other, and compare notes. Only through the military blogs did I find out why my sons's underarmor underware was pilling so badly.

 
At 7/11/2007 5:51 PM , Anonymous Susan said...

I agree with you. I hope she finds comfort in knowing her son has made a decision that he can be proud of...to join the ranks of men and women who sacrifice so much to keep our liberties. I pray she will come to understand why it is so necessary we have such brave people defending us.

 
At 7/12/2007 4:59 AM , Blogger Claire said...

Bravo, and once again you have said it well and hit the nail on the head.

 
At 7/12/2007 7:24 AM , Blogger Dixiechick said...

I do not have a son being deployed out to war but I do have a son who has made a very brave decision to serve our great county.

He will ship out of Parris Island on July 23, 2007. I have my son for 11 more days.

I have been looking for a blog for moms of soldiers and found yours. I'm having a difficult time right now.

Any hoo... I've taken enough of your time. Just wanted to post and say hi and that I'll be back.

 
At 7/12/2007 8:02 PM , Blogger Marine Wife said...

That was a beautiful response and one I hope Ms. Cooney sees. She can use all the support she can get. Deployments are hard, no matter how you approach them.

btw, found you thru Andi.

 

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