I’ve been a little weepy this past week. The strangest thing triggered it, too.
My very first LONG road trip was in December, 2002. Maybe 2003, I’m not positive. A mother should remember things like that, but then again, my memory isn’t the best at times.
My two younger sons and I drove from California to Georgia- to see my oldest graduate from boot camp. I encouraged him to see the world through the Army after graduation, so he took my advice and left for Germany not too long after this photo of us was taken.
I’m deathly afraid of flying (which I’m determined to get over very soon!), so getting there via wheels was a necessity. It was a wonderful and memorable trip that I’ll NEVER forget. Fort Worth Texas was one of our stops and they had beautiful lights up, and a horse and carriage trotting through the street. It was magical!
That’s about the only photo that I still have where you can actually SEE some of the lights that were on the buildings. I’ve always LOVED this picture. It speaks volumes.
Anyway- to the point. I have one photo that I took of my three boys at the base, after the ceremony- just after I pinned my son’s Infantry Blue Cord onto his uniform. My boys were all smiles in the photo. Not until later did I notice another soldier standing behind them, to their right. Everywhere else in the background you see families, happy and hugging, and there was this young man- alone, and staring ahead- with his cord still in his hand. I’m not sharing it out or respect for his anonymity.
I don’t know why but I’m in tears even now when I write this! His face, for some reason, is forever etched in my mind. I have no idea what his story was, or where his family was, but I know that if I had noticed him at the time- I would have gone over to him. It’s one of those things where you wish you could go back and do a do-over.
So… anyhow, I cried for him the other night when I saw that photo again. It’s likely he ended up being shipped to Afghanistan, and I just prayed that he’s alive and happy somewhere.
I know… strange story. It’s been on my mind for a week now and I needed to write about it and get it off of my chest.
All in all, the trip is another precious memory I hold on to. And this story itself is a great reminder to me: Be grateful. Love and hug your family often- and never take your life- or theirs, for granted. Always be kind and look out for others, even strangers. They may not have what you have, and be in dire need a smile, a hug, or just an encouraging word.
Or maybe someone to pin their Infantry Blue Cord onto their uniform.
And my son? He is now the proud father of my three beautiful grandsons, and he’s an awesome dad.