First sight

I can’t stop looking at him. You know when your baby is born, how all you want to do is stare into their little face, examine all their fingers and toes and just hold them? That is how I feel. In all of his growing up I have never felt such inexplicable, overwhelming emotion at seeing his face.  All 400 of them came running up where all of the loved ones were lined up.  I was searching for him. Frantic. I just wanted everyone to move so I could find him. And then I did. He was beautiful (sorry Tyler). I had seen a picture of him but nothing compared to that first sight of real flesh and blood. It sounds strange to say, but he exuded power. I had never seen him like that. I snapped picture after picture. I wanted to touch him but I couldn’t. He had to run…literally.

They took off on their 3.3 mile motivational run and we waited (impatiently) for the second pass…and then the final return.  As they came back into formation, I saw that he was barely sweating. He had just run over three miles and he looked like he had been on a leisurely little stroll! It was amazing.  Brad was on the other side of the formation and I could see him right behind Tyler.  I don’t know how he kept himself from reaching out and touching him.  I could not have done it.  I would have brought the wrath of the DI’s down upon us because I would have reached out impulsively to put my fingers on his warm, flesh and blood skin.  As we waited while they went to clean up and get into their uniforms, I heard the best thing I could have ever hoped to hear.  The Drill Instructor gave orders that the first hug go to the moms. 
When they marched back in for liberty formation, I saw a new person.  I didn’t understand just how much three months would change him.  He was taller, stronger,  bigger,more confident.  He still walked like Tyler but it was different somehow…and so perfectly aligned with his new brothers. 
The dismissal caught me off guard.  It came sooner than I expected.  I was video taping their formation and all of the sudden they broke ranks.  I stopped filming.




I WENT RUNNING.  I got that first hug and it was the best one I’ve ever had.  He was solid, like a rock and I cried.  I just hugged him and cried.

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Going

Here I am, a bundle of nerves and excitement.  When Tyler first left I was so melancholy for several days…time just seemed to drag.  And then I got my first letter on my birthday…what a joy that was!   Now here we are, packing up the van to head to California.  I try to picture him in my minds eye.  I have seen a quick video of him a couple of weeks ago, but I know nothing will compare to wrapping my arms around my son in person and looking at his beautiful face.  I have not felt this kind of joy since the day he was born.  There are so many different kinds of joy that go with raising kids…its hard to describe!

I have decided that time travelled the slowest at the beginning of this journey and at the end, during Crucible week.  The middle was just that…the middle.  But now at the very end, we are flying again.  I hope the drive goes this fast! 🙂

There have been so many people, known and unknown, friends and strangers who have made it possible for us to go see this momentous occasion in our sons life.  Finances have always been a struggle for us this time of year but God has just completely overwhelmed us with his provision from the most unlikely of sources.  Brad said to me the other day, “I just keep praying for what we need, not what we want.”  Well I guess the Lord put this occasion in the need category. (I did too but wasn’t sure if God had or not..lol) I don’t know if I would have ever gotten over it if we could not have gone….so thank you P (you know who you are).  From the bottom of our hearts…you took up our burden and you made it your own and walked with God to make a way where there was no way.  Thanks will never be enough…I love you!

Coming home

It’s funny how things run parallel in this life.  I have a friend who I have know for many years.  She has been through some big struggles in her life, but no matter what she has come out on the other side so much stronger.  Yesterday, as my son was becoming an official Marine, she welcomed her husband home from Afghanistan.  As I watched those men and women travel down Main Street a this morning, flags and arms waving, I was struck by the irony of the moment. One comes home and another is on his way out.  This happens over and over and over again….every day of the month, every month of the year.

At the welcome home ceremony there were many things said, but none rang more true than the words of one.  I cannot quote her exactly but this is what I took away.  We as civilians will never truly understand the sacrifice of those who serve.  We go about our lives, forgetting that troubles exist outside of our bubble because you keep us safe.  You are the ones who leave home.  You are the ones in danger.  You are the ones that fight instead of us.  We could never do what you do.  You do it for us.

So for Rachel and Vern and their family, words are small, but thank you from the bottom of my heart.  You are the reason that we can live in our safe little place, the reason that my children know God without government limits, where they can play outside without worrying about suicide bombers and war, where we are all safe, no matter where we live.  You have the courage to do what the rest of us cannot.  Without you, we are not the United States of America.

I pray a blessing of prosperity and love over you and your family.  Where there has been strife, let there be peace.  Where there has been anger, let there be joy.  And where there has been struggle, let there be freedom, in Jesus Name, Amen.