In the spring of his second college semester,  the boy told us of his plans to become a U.S. Marine.  During his high school years he thought and dreamed of proudly wearing the title of Marine, but we wanted him to at least get some college hours under his belt, and he complied. This year of college was a ‘growing year’ for him.  He knew he needed some discipline, and maybe just some years to prove to himself what he could do.
He shipped in November 2015 for basic training, even with this mama’s held-back tears at the realization that he would miss both Thanksgiving and Christmas with us.  We were an Air Force family.  We know what it feels like to be far from loved ones during the holidays.

We could handle this first holiday without all the chicks in the nest, or so we thought.

Our oldest, also in college,  journeyed home for the holidays and when Christmas Eve rolled around, the three girls suddenly realized that the vacuum created by the boy’s absence.  See, they’ve always bunked together in preparation for Christmas morning.  Even with their adult sized bodies, they slept together, on beds, in sleeping bags on the floor, in the same room, just together, so that they could all wake up together.  I had forgotten.

So there was a strange gaping hole on Christmas.  We chased joy in the remnants and still found laughter, but perhaps just a little ‘off’.

His recruiting platoon was gifted with phone calls Christmas night.  When the call came in, we heard his voice break along with our hearts.  And the dammed up river of tears also broke as we sat and listened to him say how much he missed us.  

We bucked up and kept our voices upbeat and positive and encouraging, though tears were rolling softly.  He CAN do this!!  Once off the phone the dam burst for all of us and we let the tears do their natural healing work.

Since that night, the oldest daughter has married an Army lieutenant and is also stationed far across the ocean.  This marks our second Christmas without them as well.

Insert sniffle here.

Having grown children requires much from mamas.  I’m only now tasting what our own mothers endured when we married and the Air Force took control of our lives.  Serving requires sacrifice from families.  Period.  

I’m also learning that it’s a different sacrifice as a mama than as a wife.  Perhaps as a military spouse I have some part in the decision making process, even if the decision is whether to marry this uniform.  As a mama,  I don’t.

This mama gig just requires extra faith when the babies are grown.  Letting God have them, daily, is honestly a struggle sometimes, and along the way  I must learn to temper my mouth in their decision making process.  I must trust in what we’ve taught them, and more importantly, what He’s taught them.

We CAN do this!!

This mama can do this.

Perhaps pray for our military today who serve far from home.

And their mamas.

 

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