I couldn’t be more proud of my son for serving his country in the United States Army, but as a mother, I must tell you, it was gut wrenching. From the time he said he wanted to do it, signed on to do it, took his oath, got on the plane, the letters from basic training, the letters they withheld from sending in basic training (they do that!), all of it-ugh!!! IS he eating ok? (not like he’s used to) Is he sleeping? (nope, not in three and a half years) Then the dreaded deployment. I can’t put into words how that felt.
I try not to think about any of it because when I do I get the lump in my throat. The tears well up, and my body-heat is like fire from the anxiety. You hope they didn’t change him too much, but they did. Some things for better, some things for worse. He’s more detached. I’ll have to undo some of the HOOAH with a nice Italian mother’s love and prayer. It worked to get him through it. He will never know the tears all dried up in those pews at Saint Mary of the Lakes, or the Michael Jordan precise aim I had for the little pieces of paper I threw in the prayer basket for him. I don’t need him to know, I’m glad he’s on U.S. soil. He’ll be home tomorrow. He’s safe…and he’s mine again.
I Give To You, My Son
I held him as an infant; I hugged him as a boy
and through the years he has become my greatest pride and joy.
I love him more than I can say, his life more precious than my own,
but gone are the whims and notions of the little boy that I had known.
For the years have passed so quickly since the time it all began
and now he stands before me with the conviction of a man.
He wants to serve his country, he states aloud with pride
as I try to sort out the emotions that I’m feeling deep inside…
a union of the uncertain fear, which I cannot control
and the allegiance which lies deep within my patriotic soul.
I trust that my years of guidance will serve as a strong foundation
as he performs the duties requested from his beloved nation.
God please guide him as he travels to the places our soldiers have bled
and walk with him through pathways where those heroes’ feet have tread.
Oh Sweet Land of Liberty, humbly I give to you, my son
praying you’ll return him safely home when his work for you is done.