Typically, the month of May is all about honoring mom with Mother’s Day, but with Armed Forces Day being May 15th, I absolutely want to honor two of my sons who make me so proud serving in the Army and Air National Guard.
I won’t lie … when our second oldest came to us in his junior year of high school (11 years ago) to tell us that he wanted to join the armed forces, my heart sank. This meant that the summer before his senior year, he would leave us for boot camp and then after graduation, he would leave us again to complete his advanced training. To me, he was still so young and hadn’t experienced much of life yet. But he felt a deep calling that he was determined to walk out. Then my youngest son decided to enlist in the Air Force right after high school, a few years later. He served active duty for several years and then switched to the Air National Guard. Being in the military has helped him be able to graduate college this year with no student loans and has helped shaped him into an incredible young man I am deeply proud of.
In getting back to my second oldest, his sacrifice continues. Currently, we are in the middle of his second year-long deployment, this time with an incredible wife and baby at home. Before he left for this deployment, he was away from home most of the year prior, tending to tornado relief, rioting in DC, and COVID testing support. Every phone call I would receive from him letting me know where he was going next filled me with equal parts pride and fear.
- Would he be okay?
- How would my daughter-in-law and grandbaby do with him gone?
- He must be so tired.
- I hope he can go home soon.
- When will I get to see him again?
- He must miss his family so much.
As I received my vaccines for the COVID-19 virus recently, I was helped by many National Guardsmen and women who shared with me about being away from home over the past 6 months to a year in order to help our country get vaccinated. I know that even I have taken this sacrifice for granted in the past as I have seen men and women in uniform in airports, restaurants, and even the grocery store. They choose to serve us, our country, our leaders, and our communities to ensure our safety while putting so much of their lives on hold in the process.
Whether our kids are overseas or not for their deployment, they are away and it’s never easy. On this Armed Forces Day, I’d like to share with you a few words you should share with any moms whose son or daughter are deployed to help encourage them along the journey.
Encouraging words to say to a mom whose child is deployed:
- I hung a yellow ribbon in honor of your child’s sacrifice.
- I’m flying a flag in my yard in show of my support.
- You must be very proud. (Oh, I am. Ask to see pictures and you will see me smile!)
- I care and I see you. (Thank you. These words mean so much and we never tire of hearing them!)
- Please tell your child “Thank You!” (I will. He’s modest. He didn’t do this for glory, but I know that it is important for him to hear that people back home appreciate what he is doing.)
- Can I send him a letter, card or note? (YES! He’d love the support and if you are feeling generous, please tuck in an extra card or note for one of his buddies who doesn’t get much mail from home. You’ll brighten both of their days.)
- Can he get packages? What does he need? (Absolutely. They LOVE to get care packages. What he needs may vary, so ask me. Thank you for helping our troops!)
- Can I pass their name on to my prayer circle? (ABSOLUTELY. But please don’t just pray for my son, please pray for ALL the sons and daughters, wives, mothers, husbands and fathers serving. They ALL need our prayers!)
- How are your other kids? (THANK YOU FOR ASKING! I am incredibly proud of all of my kids and this is hard on all of them. It would be great if you’d offer them some words of encouragement, too!)
- I’m here for you or your family anytime, even if you just need a listening ear. (Thank you, you have no idea how much that helps.)
Do you know someone who has a son or daughter serving in the military?
Sometimes we forget the sacrifices that parents make and it especially tugs at a mama’s heart, whether it’s her child serving, or her spouse who sacrifices for her and their kids. If you know a military mom, please intentionally encourage them tomorrow, Armed Forces Day, and often. It will mean more to them that you could ever imagine.