He honorably finishes a six year enlistment with the Air Force. They teach him to be a carpenter. He likes to build things.
After the Air Force he finds the 8 to 5 work day world not so fulfilling and enrolls in college.
He misses the camaraderie of military life and joins the Army National Guard… it helps with school expense too.
One year later he’s in Iraq… during the 2007 Surge… manning a gun turret… running convoy security.
He’s a carpenter, people! In what world does this make sense? This is the type of thing which makes a mother pray. A lot.
He comes home and finds it hard to fit in… a chronic problem of guard troops I’ve met. They serve in war, are sent home and told… “Thanks. Go live your life. Don’t call us – we’ll call you.”
But how do you live a life you haven’t built yet? Many young veterans never figure this out.
So he begins with all the optimism a body can muster. Because that’s who he is.
He makes plans. People walk away. He struggles. He keeps on. He makes more plans. They fall apart. He keeps on. He does it again and again… but I worry he’s loosing ground.
I’m not surprised that he volunteers for another deployment. And he’s gone.
He makes it safely home again… we meet at his apartment one day. He needs a kitchen table, a good lunch and we plan to find both.
His apartment is neat. Clutter distracts him. On the fridge – a small, erasable white board with grocery items listed. On the wall nearby – a large erasable white board. I don’t remember exactly what was on it, but things like : Go to gym – pick up class schedule – buy groceries – Call for appointment… etc.
Pretty basic stuff for such a big board. I didn’t ask questions.
He answered anyway.
The list made him focus. He had to do what was on the list that day. He didn’t worry about the next day. The next day would have it’s own list. It was kind of like his “orders” when he was deployed. And he was never one to shirk orders.
Except these orders he gave to himself.
It must be working for him. He’s in his junior year at a well respected university. And he still takes time to help his crazy parents with the house remodel that won’t end.
Life building is a slow process, but he’s doing it day by day, goal by goal, with a smile on his face.
Awhile back I whined about how hard it is to keep myself organized. I start the day with great intention and end it with almost nothing done.
“I have two words for you, Mom – – –White. Board.”
Linked with The Nester and the 31 Day bloggers.
9 thoughts on “31 Days of Aging Grace ~ Army Strong”
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You guys raised one of my favorite people in the world. He never ceases to amaze me.It makes me smile to read what you write because I see him doing those things and I can literally hear his laid back voice pointing out the obvious to us all 🙂 I, too, am a fan of the white board but somewhere along the crazy path my life had taken I have lost the skill of organizing myself with “orders” listed. I need to heed the advise and focus myself on the 2 word answer to my chaotic life…”white board”.
Thanks for your sweet words. Here’s to more organization and less chaos in our lives…. We’ll get there 🙂
Life building is a slow process. We still struggle with it, even at our age! I do feel for those that come back, who have given so much and are given so little in return. The recruiters promise so much…Our seventeen year old is wrestling with this right now – join, or begin building his life? His siblings, who have been there, say it is worth it to join. But, they are all struggling, too, as your son is. They are in college (thank you for that, Uncle Sam) or re-joined the Natl Guard and work full time. No easy answers. Wise choices your son is making – smile, one day at a time. Good for all of us.
Yes, one step at a time. Hope your son finds his path too.
I love this, Brooke! I can hear your held breath (for years) as you worry…and see your smile when he gives you your orders. 🙂 I’m enjoying this month of Aging Grace–thanks for sharing!
I’m glad you’re enjoying this:) Thanks, Lisa!
Brooke, I’m glad you discovered the love letters post at My Place to Yours earlier today so I could find you! I’ve been reading of your challenges with aging parents, and my heart goes out to you. But only now, when I read this post about a military son, do I feel compelled to comment. My “creative caring” post tomorrow is Military Families. My youngest daughter married a military man, and I’ve watch him and many others struggle at times with just the things you’ve mentioned. May your son find the path that fits him perfectly!
So glad to hear from your Susan 🙂 I’ll look forward to your post tomorrow. I’ve always felt a bit on the fringes of military families… just being a parent of adult service men. I can’t imagine how hard it must be for spouses and children. It was hard enough just being a mom! Thanks for your kind words for my son.