Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Places of the Heart
In the midst of the sadness in New Orleans and the continued separation from our soldiers I wanted to share a “sweet” story about love of family and caring for others, even when we feel at times that we do not have anything more to give.
My nine year old son Little Manly asked me in the beginning of the summer if I would take him back to Fort Drum, the place we left his Dad to leave for Iraq. I kept saying “maybe.” I knew in my heart that I was going to avoid it as much as possible because when I thought of going there it made me sad.
Somewhere around the beginning of August, after being asked numerous times by my son to go and my soldier saying “think about it,” I was able to verbally tell them both that the thought of going back there made me sad and uncomfortable. Last summer when we were able to visit our soldier at Fort Drum we had some wonderful family times there, I wanted to leave it at that and just remember.
On the weekends we would visit our soldier, we would go into Sacketts Harbor (outside of Fort Drum) and listen to concerts on the battle field, see the cannon reenactments, walk the streets, sit by the water and watch the sailboats and ducks, eat ice cream, go out to dinner and dream about when this deployment was over how we would “definitely” come back to the harbor, and of course the “pool” at the Days Inn where we would swim with some other military families and their children.
That was normal last year and felt really good; Little Manly got to be with his Dad. When we would arrive on those weekends we would all give each other hugs and kisses, excitement to share the details of our week, like a vacation, no outside stresses, phone calls, people coming by, JUST US, having fun.
My son said that I should try to go back with a positive attitude and remember the good times we had…..we went. We went Labor Day weekend. We first went to the base, rode by “Dad’s housing,” walked around all the military equipment in the park and read “each and every sign.” We stayed at the Days Inn, we swam in the pool, we ate ice cream, we sat by the water and watched the ducks, we ate at the restaurant we all enjoyed. I pushed myself to focus on “how fun this was.”
There were not any familiar faces, my heart ached and the tears flowed, that was the first day and I kept smiling outside but wanted to run on the inside. What occurred to me on the second day watching my son joyfully running around, swimming, and hopping over rocks and eating ice cream, this was not about ME. It was for Little Manly. It connected my son to his Dad in a way that I could not.
It may be a place that Little Manly will go to as adult to “reconnect” with a familiar feeling, the love of his Dad. It just happened to be at Sacketts Harbor, it could have been anywhere. My discomfort, my adult feelings, were put aside and I will never regret going back there for my son, and experiencing the sadness and the pain that kept me from bringing him back.
The joy that was on his face the entire weekend will forever be worth it to me. I asked on the way home, “Did you have a good time?” He answered, “MOM, it was the BEST! Can’t wait to go when Dad gets home!”
Me too, Little Manly. It won’t be long now….. It truly will not be long now.
Links: Covered Dsih Supper at Basil's Blog, bRight & Early, Mudville Gazette
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