I have always had an appreciation of our Armed Forces, but it wasn’t until my oldest son took his own oath of enlistment that I adopted a different perspective of the military.
In my younger years — and up until the past few months – I may not have been as knowledgeable about our military, but my reverence was always there. Still, the appreciation I feel has grown tremendously. You may be wondering, why the change? Simply put, I, too, now get to call myself a part of this great, big military family with my new role as a Blue Star mom.
Last fall, my son raised his right hand to join the Massachusetts National Guard. When Zachary shared his interest in becoming a soldier, we were not too surprised. It wasn’t until he began meeting regularly with a recruiter that things started to become serious.
As proud as we were at the beginning of this journey, there has been a learning curve for us in learning how to best support his commitment. Along with supporting him, there was a need for me to gain a stronger grasp of his new experience. As I yearn for more insight about his choice, my spare time consists of reading, researching and writing. I tap the keys on my trusty keyboard and an assortment of thoughts, feelings and emotions emerge as a proud, new military mother seeking to connect with an audience who relates and appreciates.
Since our son has been away at basic training, my appreciation for things big and little have so much more meaning and value, like the American flag proudly hanging near the front of our home. The red, white and blue has taken on a completely new meaning for our family.
I began forming appreciations when I was young. My parents taught me about practicing gratitude and lending a helping hand to those in need. I grew up knowing that soldiers had important roles and responsibilities to protect our nation and other countries aboard. We learned about Veterans Day at home and at school. My family attended parades, at school we held moments of silence for fallen soldiers, and our community paid tribute to all who served.
A generational connection to military service
As a young adult, I recall hearing bits and pieces about my father’s involvement in ROTC and as an officer in the Army. Now that my own son is a soldier, I listen much more carefully to what my father recalls about his military experience. Through those conversations I learned that he was a member of the chemical corps, earning rank of Captain.
While we chatted, my mother chimed in to share memories about being a military wife at Fort Detrick, Md., a responsibility that included washing, starching and ironing my father’s military uniform. Besides the role of full-time mother and proud military spouse, she recalls tales of living on base and the friendships she made with other wives. One of the most impressive points about those relationships is that my parents have maintained many of those connections today. It is comforting to me, especially as a new Blue Star mom, that the military family holds such strong bonds.
The time is almost here for Zachary to reunite with our family after completing basic training. I know that in the midst of his transformation, he will have gratitude for the influence my father’s service had on his decision to enlist. And I have begun thinking about what’s next for me in this new role. I plan to continue sharing my thoughts, feelings and appreciations – in person, through writing, a handshake or through volunteering my time with the Veterans Association.
As a mother to a newly-enlisted soldier, my pride is in full force and I appreciate those who share in my journey. I am thankful to family and friends, near and far, who have called to check in on our son and our family’s well-being. I appreciate the letters care packages that have been sent. In his letters to us, he expresses how grateful he is for the support. And most important to me is all of the care, love, and support. It reassures me that there is an enormous team of us who support and appreciate those who served and who are currently serving in the Armed Forces, which I can now boldly say includes my own son.
Thank you, soldiers, past, present and future, for your service.Read comments