I am officially an enormous boob! I THOUGHT I was doing pretty awesome at getting adjusted here - I have "the message" on my phone that I refer to frequently, I have my 'matrix' that shows me all the stuff my son is doing that I know HE will think is "fun", I finally go the plt # from the recruiter (no form letter yet), I am able to discuss "Marine stuff" with loved ones and be happy about it..so I was sideswiped today when I went to the grocery store!
As I approached there were VFW's out front taking donations. Now that I'm an "MM" (military mom) people in armed forced garb stand out to me from a mile away - I notice them before any of my friends or family and ususally can tell what branch by the attire from a reasonable distance. This is all new to me so I am in the "information gathering" phase and have made it my mission to locate every possible resource for Marine/Military families and learn everything about the corps my brain will hold. I know none of you guys get this (wink wink!). This said I feel I've put my "big girl pants on" and bellied up to the bar so to speak.
I made eye contact with the veteran at the table who was clearly beyond 70yo and offered a hearfelt and sincere "Good Morning" and "God Bless" which was immediately returned along with a smile. Having no cash on my person I proceeded to enter the store to pick up the items for my 4yo's preschool grad party today.
About two steps past the donation table it hit me full force in the gut - he was a VETERAN, my son is in BOOT CAMP, he is GONE, there is a WAR, this is REAL. I was immediately totally overcome with sobs and hyperventilating and paralyzed with emotion! OMG!!!!
I literally ran to the back of the store to dodge curious onlookers. It seemed the only logical solution was to run out there and throw my arms around this man and THANK HIM for his service and vomit my whole new recruit mom fear experience all over his beautiful suit leaving tears and snot everywhere for the whole glorious world to see.
After I pulled myself together a little bit I realized this could be potentially embarassing when they called security to remove the crazy lady that had tackled the VFW, so I elected to just offer a nice calm "Thank you - I appreciate your sacrifice - God Bless" as I left the store.
The closer I got to being done with my task the more difficult it got to go toward the door. I was completely overcome with the realization that if I looked at this man again I would not be able to control my emotional outburst and literally had to force myself to exit - and to accomplish that I had to turn my head away and run to my car.
Once I got inside the vehicle I had an all out breakdown complete with dry heaving on my sobs. I tried calling hubby - no answer, tried calling daughter - no answer. I pulled it together and left the parking lot only to find that there was almost literally a soldier on every corner in dress - apparently some event for the holiday weekend that they were preparing for that I didn't know about, and as I spied each one I was washed in flood of sadness for every mom who has ever lost a child to war, for every soldier that has been spit on or treated poorly by oblivious "hippies" who couldn't make the connection that these servants preserved their right to act that way, for every ill educated dork who has ever grimaced at a new recruits mom and said "I'm sorry" when we shared that our kid was going to be a soldier - it all just came bursting out!
Finally I got hubby on the phone and got a grip. I was completely shocked that something SO INNOCENT would affect me in such a HUGE way. I am PROUD, I am CONFIDENT in my son, his decision, and the USMC, I VALUE my freedom and THANK GOD that somebody is willing to fight for it 'cuz I'm a chicken - I can't think of anything more honorable. And as my hubby reminds me, this isn't any different than if he were a cop, astronaut, or fireman - I JUST WASN'T EXPECTING THAT!!!