Monday, May 26, 2008

Memorial Day

Today is Memorial Day.
Today we honor all the soldiers who've died defending our country.
As a wife of a former Navy man (fourteen years and two wars worth of Navy man), and the daughter of a Navy man (two wars worth as well) and the mother of two sons, the days is especially poignant for me.
I am thankful every day that my husband came home from his last deployment in Cuba. Without his return, I would not only be without him, we wouldn't have our baby heathens either.
I am grateful that my daddy lied about his age to enlist in WWII. And again that he served in Korea.
And I am praying that all the madness stops before it touches my boys. I pray that I will never have to bury my son, a flag draped over his casket, because he felt compelled to serve.
And I am both grateful and ashamed that I feel this way when i look into the eyes of a mother whose only physical reminder is a flag in display box.
I always want to ask what her son, or daughter, was like. and to compare her story with my own children.
Was he blond haired and brown eyed? Tall and thin? Or was he dark haired and blue eyed? Did his cheek dimple when he smiled? Did he leave sticky fingerprints all over your fridge? Did he still have a spot on his neck where you could smell that baby boy smell? Was he like my own baby boys?
But I don't ask. I don't ask for fear of upsetting her, and for fear that the similarities might make me cling even more tightly to my sons when I should be letting go.
I am grateful, but I am also greedy. I want my children to outlive me, and to one day be old and gray when their own child must bury them.
I want a world free of fear and war and death in a faraway land. I don't want to wonder if my baby called for me and I wasn't there.
So this Memorial Day, remember all those mothers who've lost, who've sacrificed the unimaginable. And hold your own babies a little tighter.

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