A black Jeep Cherokee pulled into our driveway, close to where I was standing. Nathan, our oldest son, stepped out and wrapped me in is powerful embrace. He was home. Not on a long pass, or because of deployment leave. After 5 years in the United States Marine Corp, Nathan is home for good.
“Well, Mom,” he smiled. “This is the end of an era.”
I felt giddy. It was an end of an era for me as well. The mother of a Marine. The one who sent care packages of homemade cookies and warm socks. The one who wondered if she would be brave enough to handle the news delivered by a military chaplain should the unthinkable happen.
I thought of an Old Testament verse found in Ecclesiastes, “There is a time for everything, a season for every purpose under heaven…a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance.”
I hugged Nathan again. All the fears I had while he had been in the desert of Afghanistan or on patrol melted away. My son was home and he was whole. For now, the season of weeping and worrying was over.
He was home and it was a time to laugh.
Motherhood is full of surprises. Some good, some difficult. There are moments you wish you could capture the good times in a jar and savor every drop. There are also times it feels like whatever we are going through drags on like a bitter cold Minnesota winter. One of the things I learned during Nathan’s enlistment was that laughter and dancing are made sweeter and more precious by the weeping and mourning. While I am so thankful Nathan is home and is being reunited with the civilian world, seeing him drive up our driveway would not have been the same had he not been gone.
It is said “Once a Marine…Always a Marine.” There is a camaraderie that is forever with those who have fought and served together. But this season of daily routine, camouflaged fatigues and regimented training is now in Nathan’s past. He has new season unfolding before him. I took a few pictures before he packed away his dress blue uniform. The medals pinned to his chest rep representing more than I could ever understand. It was a part of his past that has helped further define his character.
Before this season fades I want to say, “Thank you, Nathan, for your service. You followed your heart and did what you felt was right with honor, dignity and courage.
Welcome Home, it’s time to dance.”
This Veteran’s Day take time to thank those who have dedicated themselves to preserving our country’s freedom.
“Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
John F. Kennedy