Cracked Open

On Becoming a Grandmother

There are those moments when life opens you, breaks you into pieces, and you get to experience wonderment.

Avery Mae.

Avery Sweet Mae

That’s the wee baby who came to us, to my son and daugher-in-law a week ago.  Avery Mae took her first breath in the world and started her life journey November 20th at 9:15 pm.

9 pounds 5 ounces of grace and beauty.

It was a tedious labor…24 hours it took her to get here.

Her mother was strong. Her father right by her side.  Avery’s two aunts… sisters supporting, waiting, texting.  She was surrounded by love.

I also was waiting…minute by minute at the end of the phone….the text messages were like gold nuggets for me.

The words would pop on the screen:

4 cm.

now at 6

When things got hard, I saw it on the text. When the doctor came in, there was my text.

I felt slightly bonkers, dizzy, gaga, ridiculously inept to focus on anything.

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Stayin Alive on the 4th of July

I wrote the following post back in 2011 when my son, Rob, was deployed to Afghanistan.

Today, I am privileged to be working with Soldiers who recently returned from Afghanistan. Their stories are chilling, young men who know the horrors of war and are trying to make sense of it all.

As we celebrate our nation’s birthday, I hope that all of us remember our service members & their families.

The ones who are still deployed, still in danger, the ones who are struggling, and the many who are wounded warriors.

Think for a moment about the ones who did not return.  Think about their families and take a moment for gratitude.

Send those families some love.

July 4, 2011

I wonder what Rob & the other Marines will be doing on this day when we celebrate our nation’s independence and freedom. How many patrols will he be out on today? Will he be in a humvee or on foot?

Just exactly how hot will it be?  I think about these things as we go to the 100 degree mark here & my house is 87 degrees inside tonight even with A/C , I’m hot. I imagine he would smile if he heard me complain, especially since I don’t have to strap on 80 pounds of gear to begin the day and think of air conditioning as some distant luxury.

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The Women Behind the Scenes

                   What it Really Means to Wear the Uniform

I am the mother of 2 active duty Marines.  Each of my sons have strong, patient women waiting for them.  These women & I wait for them to return from war, from deployments, from dangerous and faraway places.  We have been waiting 7 months.  We have been waiting 3 weeks.

We are waiting women.  We wear the uniform, too.

I remember back in 2007, when General Peter Pace was serving as the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staffs, he said, “Thank you for your service.  You are serving in the military even though you don’t wear a uniform.”  He was speaking to a rather large audience of family members on an Army base in Hawaii.  All of them had a loved one deployed, mostly to Iraq.

At the time, I didn’t get what General Pace meant but I thought, hey, that’s a nice thing to say to the families.  My sons were new Marines and so we had not experienced a deployment.

Today I get it.  TOTALLY.   When I saw my daughter-in-law bravely send her husband off to war, just 6 months after getting married, I knew she would be wearing the unseen uniform.   That was their first goodbye.  My son has just returned from his second deployment in less than 2 years.  Since they have been married, they have spent more time apart than together with his 2 deployments to Afghanistan.

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Thoughts from a Warrior Mom

The phone rings. It’s 3:30am and as I pick up the receiver, I’m already thinking bad things. What goes on in a person’s mind when they think they’re going to hear really horrible news in the middle of the night?

“I cannot do this,” I thought. “It can’t be, no, wait, I’m not ready.”

And then I hear a recording, not a human voice: “Your credit card has been frozen, Press 1 if you want to unlock it.” I slam down the phone and feel relief mixed with confusion and then anger. The pulse in my ears is loud. I’m shocked to feel how fast my heart is beating.

My son is in a war zone.

He is a Marine. Marines go to dangerous places. They say that the worst time is just before they leave on deployment. The waiting and the anticipation is dreadful. You say goodbye and wonder. You try not to cry but you do.

Afghanistan:  Not for sissies or sissy families.

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