About 14 months ago our son announced his intention to finally join the military. While the prospect was scary to me, I knew that he had wanted to do this since 9/11 and that he had almost enlisted several times but, for very good reasons, had not gone through with it. I also knew that if he didn't finally do it this time it would be a regret he would carry to the end of his days. I didn't want him to have that regret.
So began our year of living with anticipation....the anticipation of getting all of their things dealt with--selling the house, moving all of their things into storage/our house/her parent's house. Moving themselves into our house when their house sold. The anticipation of the holidays--which we knew could be the last holidays we would spend with them for a few years. The anticipation of J completing his civilian job. The anticipation of the day when he would finally board the plane to California. The anticipation of his first (and only phone call...this ain't the Army, folks!) home that night. The anticipation of his first letter so that we would finally have an address to start writing him letters. The anticipation of his first letter (many weeks later) indicating that he had finally began receiving our letters. The anticipation of hearing how he did completing the many challenges placed before him. The anticipation of finally seeing an updated photo, either on FB or when the "video" finally came out. The anticipation of his completion of his final test...
The anticipation of getting on the road. The anticipation once we got there of actually getting to physically see him. The anticipation, once we saw him, of finally getting to wrap my arms around him and see him up close and personal. The anticipation of one more night apart. The anticipation of finally putting him in the car and coming home for 10 days.
The anticipation of putting him back on a plane for more training. The anticipation of his graduating from that training. The anticipation of his going to the next place for even more training. The anticipation of waiting until that training could begin. The anticipation of a quick trip home over the 4th of July. The anticipation of putting him back on another plane to head back to training. The anticipation of his finally starting the next leg of his training. The anticipation of getting to see him again over Labor Day. The anticipation of putting him back on another plane.
Now...the anticipation of waiting to find out where he will be permanently stationed. And, so, we wait....
I pray for my son and his wife, the separation has lasted far longer than they were told it would. If I struggle with anticipating what is yet to come, I can only imagine what they are feeling deep down inside.
Change, waiting, anticipating....none of those come very naturally for me. However, I am learning that those are the three of the biggest challenges of being a military family.
Change...nothing ever seems to stay the same. One day you think it's going to go one way and the next day, orders have changed. Missions have changed.
Waiting...the concept of "hurry up and wait" carries so much more meaning for us these days!!
Anticipation...there has yet to be one day since all of this began that we haven't had a heightened sense of anticipation, good and challenging.
He ranks up today. I am very proud of the effort he has put in and the success he has been having. He had a dream and he is following through, despite the difficulty in being away from his wife, child, and the rest of his family and friends. Sometime this week we should know where his next stop will be. Maybe then this sense of constant anticipation can calm itself down into a bit more normalcy....but, I doubt it. We are now a military family after all and it comes with his job.
So, I will do what God has been teaching me through this...I will trust Him, I will rest in His peace and the knowledge that He has this all planned. Without those things, I would never have made it through these first few months as a new military mom. I am so very thankful that the "Prince of Peace" goes before me and my son, his wife and daughter, and our family.