My Little Patriot
Guest Post by Virginia Frazier
Tonight, while giving my oldest, four-year-old son a bubble bath, I was suddenly overcome with a bittersweet emotion. As I watched him strategically maneuver his minute green Army guys in and out of a toy boat, I imagined him one day becoming a man of the military. A man of war.
Although I am a combat veteran of the U.S. Air Force, and my husband is still currently an Active Duty Air Force Officer, the idea of one or all of my children one day joining the military and being sent off to war, is difficult to process. Don’t get me wrong. I would be a proud mother to learn one day that they had the heart and drive to pledge to serve and defend our country among the thousands of military professionals in uniform. It is an extremely honorable and selfless career path and lifestyle. However, to imagine my boys being sent off to war, with the possibility of them returning with limbs missing or in a flag-draped casket, is an incredibly huge pill to swallow.
In reality, if one day my sons signed their name on the dotted line, I wouldn’t be all that surprised. When parents dedicate their lives to serving in the military, their children are not only surrounded by that way of life, but they are no kidding affected by it. We live on base, they have friends whose parents are also members of U.S. Armed Forces, some of whom are deployed, my oldest attends the elementary school on base, and we participate in events that support the military. Too often, I find myself reminiscing about my days in the war-torn country of Iraq, and my oldest son is completely intrigued by the stories. Some of the stories are good, while others are the complete opposite. After all, we live in the real world, and not every experience is a sugary-sweet one. I want my children to have a broad understanding of the world around them, so I have no qualms about explaining difficult subjects, even if they might be too young to fully understand the meaning behind everything I say.
During my oldest son’s bath, he told me that he wanted to be an Army guy, just like the one he held in his hand. While I dried him off with his Winnie the Pooh towel, I told him about the long line of family members who have been to war. Both of his great-grandfathers fought in Korea, his grandfather fought in Operation Enduring Freedom, his mother fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom, and the list goes on. He replied with, “That’s so cool!”
It’s funny how we can perform acts that may involve risking our lives, but we can’t imagine those we love doing the same. I suppose the best thing I can do as a mother, is not only love my children, but teach them, and trust that they will choose the path that is right for their future.
Virginia Frazier graduated with a B.S. in Biology from the U.S. Air Force Academy and an MBA from the University of West Florida, and is an author, OIF veteran, military wife, and mother of two young boys. Her novels include the Iron Sights series and the young adult suspense novel, Wavering. http://www.virginiafrazier.webs.com/