I think it was last spring, in his second college semester, when the boy told us of his plans to become a U.S. Marine. Though he had been thinking and dreaming of this for years, we wanted him to at least get some college hours under his belt, and he complied. It was a 'growing year' for him.
He shipped in November 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.
Christmas Eve came and the girls suddenly realized that the boy wouldn't be there. 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. He CAN do this!!
We CAN do this!!
This mama can do this.
Perhaps pray for our military today who serve far from home.
And their mamas.