color: SOME SOLDIER'S MOM: Outside Looking In

Monday, May 04, 2009

Outside Looking In

Except for the occasional (negative) story buried somewhere on page 25 (or unless you read Milblogs), you hardly ever hear about Operation Iraqi Freedom any more. No one even calls it that -- it's just called "the war". But it is important to remind people that the War goes on and that there are still soldiers -- importantly, Citizen Soldiers -- who are still deploying and leaving This World for That World... and leaving loved ones to carry on Between Two Worlds.

Talking to Stacy and her new daughter-in-law Kristy today and reading Melinda's posts made me all teary-eyed and I was reminded of that idiot Pennsylvania Congressman's comment a few years back about how the War "needed to get personal". How much more personal can it get than mothers and wives and children saying goodbye to their much-loved soldiers? How much more meaningful can it be for those who must sleep alone and/or be the single parent or to worry about their sons and husbands and daddies for the next twelve or fifteen months??

Stacy and I talk regularly and I am in touch with a number of other milmoms and milspouses via email... and while I have most definitely "been there, and absolutely done that", I am not "there" this time as I have no relations deploying this year. I am not discounting the Navy son's current at-sea deployment... but he's not boots on the ground and neither he nor we will worry whether the contracted and meagerly-paid Ugandans providing security have been adequately trained and armed, nor will we worry whether our son will have hot meals, safe showers, or whether he will have to duck for cover. Nor will we worry whether his combat or security operation has all the requisite Iraqi approvals. (As if just serving in a combat zone were not worry enough!!)

Of course, we and our daughter-in-law and their daughters miss our son (and he, us and them) while he is deployed; and, of course, we worry because being on a large Navy ship has its dangers and perils. But this time -- with these deployments -- I feel on the outside looking in. Yes, my heart speeds up when I think about Stacy's son Michael going again (he was last deployed when Noah was in Iraq) and when I think about Melinda's DH; and yes, I am often misty-eyed trying to find the right words of encouragement and solace for my close personal friends as well as for any number of moms, dads and wives (even a few sisters!) who have emailed.

My heart especially hurts for Melinda's daughters who must do without their Dad's loving arms and whispered encouragements and who cannot fully understand their father's Mission and commitment to it. I am saddened that Kristy will miss out on this most precious first year of marriage and I pray that this deployment will serve to strengthen their bond for all the years to come.
I worry for Stacy and Melin and Kristy and all the other moms (and dads) and wives and children (and brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins) who will have sleepless nights, and suffer through the agonizing days, weeks and months of counting down to redeployment and homecoming. I do not envy them the hours of waiting on the beeps and boops and rings of telephones and computers to talk to a loved one and to know that they are OK.

Make no mistake: talking to Stacy and thinking of Kristy and Melinda brings back every twinge, palpitation, caught breath and skipped heartbeat of deployment. While all of us who have experienced the part of being HERE while they are THERE like to fool ourselves that we have buried and dealt with those emotions, they are never far away; the waves of fear and the tingling of tears are much closer to the surface than we care to admit, and they rush up and smack us and consume us with the least bit of prodding. when your Guy is here.

I will most definitely be there for Stacy, Kristy, Melinda, M1 and M2 and their Guys just as they were there for me and My Guys. I have fired up the old supply cabinet and replenished my boxes and labels. And I ask each of you to re-commit yourselves to taking REAL efforts to support our Troops overseas and let them know that we have not forgotten them. You can start by stopping by Stacy's and Melinda's blogs and letting them know that they and their soldiers are in your thoughts and prayers... and then GO HERE. You can make a difference.

x-posted at ParentsZone

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At 5/05/2009 11:29 AM , Blogger Stacy said...

I could not do this without you. You are the best. Kristy is learning the ropes about being a military spouse. Today she was tested. She was informed when she went to get her ID renewed that they were not in the system. She learned that she really needs to carry a copy of his orders everywhere she goes. Thank goodness they took a faxed copy, otherwise she would have had to make an appointment and come back. This is going to be a mess. They told her that 90% of the soldiers that have orders for May 1st are affected by the TRICARE problem. Welcome to the military world Kristy.

She stood her ground with them. Was proud of her.

At 5/08/2009 5:45 AM , Blogger Guard Wife said...

"Thanks" just never seems quite enough with you, SSM. I remember very clearly my very first contact with you. My husband had not 'been there' yet, but Noah was & I remember reading every word & then finally getting over feeling goofy & actually e-mailing you.

The rest will go into the annals of Friendship History. :)

You are a wonderful resource & an even better shoulder. :)


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