Remembering to Honor the Fallen

Memorial Day, I've learned, is a grossly misunderstood day of remembrance. As veteran's, my husband and I receive countless messages thanking us for our service, but we always find ourselves confused. That's what Veteran's Day is for, not Memorial Day. For those that don't know, Memorial Day is meant to honor those who have paid the ultimate sacrifice for our freedom. We celebrate their lives and remember with utmost clarity and sincerity, that freedom is not free, no, it cost their precious lives. Those brothers, sisters, daughters, sons, wives, and husbands kissed their loved ones goodbye, left home with hopes of returning, only to never grace their own doorway again. It's a sad truth, but one we must remember.

In our home, we take the time to remember out loud those we served alongside, those whom we left home with and came back home without. There are too many to count, but a few that we knew personally, and we ensure their memory lives on through us living our lives. After a few precious hours with fellow veterans and friends, watching our kids play and splash in the pool, we had a long drive home. As I found my way down the highway, racing the sunset, I was struck with how many years since my first battle buddy deployed and was KIA. PFC Avery was the first from our basic training unit to deploy from all of us at C-795, most of us who now have at least two deployments under our belt. He died only months into his time in theater, blown up by an IED. He was 18 years old. I was 18 years old. My heart sank as I realized in a brief instant, how much life I've lived since then. How much has happened, how much I've grown. That I've been able to see my parents grow old, create a family of my own, and experience life outside of the military. All the things that Avery would never get to do. 

I held back the tears as my husband and I talked over the next 90 minutes. I watched the sun set, sinking below the trees, carried my sleeping children to their beds and tucked them in, then lay down next to my husband and kissed him goodnight. I think of these things often, how these little snippets of time are what add up to the biggest ones in our lives. 

There are countless others I took the time to think of. Friends who are still suffering from the guilt of coming home, from surviving when their battle buddy next to them didn't. There are no words. And so, I choose to live for them. I will thank God for another sunrise and another sunset and remember that not all are so incredibly lucky. 

RIP

When Motherhood Breaks Your Heart

20180520__RKR8702.jpg

Motherhood is not often as beautiful as our social media squares lead us to believe. I keep thinking, though, that I'm fortunate to have good kids, to be navigating all three ages with some semblance of grace. Until a day comes and it all feels like it's crashing down on you and you wonder if you've been wrong all along. Deep down we know that answer. It's not all your fault, mama. I graciously try to remind myself of that each moment I feel so unbearably overwhelmed and consumed.

Our current struggle has been those our children are choosing to surround themselves with at school. Today, I hit a point where I was ready to never take my child back there. I want to blame other parents, but I know that isn't fair. It can be frustrating though, to have the so much of his day more or less out of my hands. The solution is simple, right? Homeschooling is a valid option. I've been talking about it for so many years I've lost track. It's never been quite right, though, and so we've done our best to be involved and apart of the public school culture, and hopefully, the bigger influence in our children's lives. My husband reminded me of something we've always held value to in our parenting journey, as we were talking this morning, he said, "We just have to be the better example to those kids. We have to show them what good, involved parents looks like."

It's proven to not be enough for us with our oldest, and so we're navigating a new and difficult terrain. Motherhood is nothing, if not one GIANT lesson in life. I hope to find a smooth path as we continue figuring things out, but I just want to say -- you're not alone mama. We are all in this together and I promise, some days, weeks, months, even years, are hard for all of us.