Worry… We Worry
Last night on SpouseBuzz Radio, two of my fellow contributors here at Parents Zone and I talked with AF Wife about what it’s like to have a child in the military and the fear we feel for our adult children (LAW and I managed to monopolize the conversation and Tammy, we sooo need to make this up to you!!) In the 4 years that I have been blogging and through Lord knows how many troop rotations to Iraq and Afghanistan (I don’t think they’re adding numbers to the OIF____ label anymore), I realize and completely accept that it’s universal. Every parent has the same fear for their child/children… and it doesn’t make a difference whether it’s their first deployment or their third. We worry.
Back in December 2004 — before my son even left for his deployment to Iraq — I wrote a blog post about how You Always Worry and talked about how our worry changes as our children grow… as they learned to walk, to run, to ride, to drive… I was talking with a dear, close friend whose Army National Guard son is scheduled for his second deployment to Iraq in 2009 and who recently learned that his unit might go months earlier than originally scheduled. You could hear the worry in her voice and we talked about “the last time” when both our sons were deployed at the same time. I went back and read some of my blog posts back during that deployment, and I discovered how often worry was a topic. Just weeks before my son was wounded, I explained:
It’s a constant 24 hour a day worry that wears on you, grates on you, weighs on you. It’s physically and mentally exhausting. I don’t always realize it but sometimes I wonder why I’m so tired some nights or why I can’t sleep most nights… It’s the worry. The wear and tear of it. It’s like the drone of a motor always on or the hum from fluorescent lights… always there… always present… even when you’re doing other things or thinking other thoughts… it’s THERE. The worry is always there. I know other moms and dads and wives and husbands and sisters and brothers will understand what I mean.
Last year I was speaking with a Major General who is the son of a retired Army Colonel and who is also the father of a fairly new Army Lieutenant. He told me that he had been in the Army 32 years and married for 31 of those… and through his many deployments over his career, he always told his family not to worry as he waved goodbye for one assignment or another to dangerous parts of the globe… but he said it was a whole new world when it was he who stood on the front porch as his own son told him not to worry as he left for his first deployment to Iraq… he told me that sending his child off to war was the hardest thing he had ever done.
So, while the media may be ignoring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan (unless, of course, there is some political point to be made), I know in hearing from parents, spouses, friends and families of our Soldiers and Marines that these are still universal emotions for the families of those who serve. And it matters not whether our children are single, married, divorced, have children of their own… parents STILL worry.
I also know from experience, that a burden shared, is a burden lightened. I know that right now people are consumed with worry about the economy and the election… Lord knows there is plenty of worry to go around. I just ask you to take a moment and remember our troops deployed around the world, about to be deployed and those who are home (because we know that for some the battle doesn’t end on the battlefield)… say a prayer, have a good thought, generate positive energy — whatever it is you do…. remember our Guys… and their families…. thank a veteran… say a kind word… call someone you know who is worrying. It will make your day.
x-posted at Some Soldier’s Mom