Parents Coping with War

I am writing this for the many parents who are facing their child’s first deployment. Parents have been sending emails and asking “How do you stay sane while your son is deployed?”

First and foremost ~ I am not sure that I was sane before he left. -D Therefore, I am simply at a different state of La-La land living. (That sentence would make perfect sense if you could climb in my head) 

Coping with my L’il Trooper at war is a daily challenge. I have learned from his past deployments to avoid most media outlets. No more do I sit in front of the TV 24/7, afraid of turning away and missing something important. 

In the past, when I heard of a Soldier being killed, I would hyperventilate while searching the Internet for details. A knock on the door (by anyone) while I was trying to make certain that my son was ok, would have caused a complete breakdown.
 
To be perfectly honest, the panic attacks still happened while he is away  as do the burst of anger, the tears for no known reason… 

…And I did not get over the sickening feeling in the pit of my stomach (the feeling that I had lost him forever) until he came home on his first mid deployment leave.

That is when I was finally able to rationalize: They leave, they come home, they leave, they come home… But always… THEY COME HOME!

I had to focus on the reunions and avoid letting the fears overwhelm me.

It is not easy, I have had many nights when I was awakened with horrible nightmares.

Times when I was sure he was calling out to me.

… I know it sounds bad, but honestly, we tend to make it much worse than it really is. 

Parents who are facing this for the first time have asked if it gets any easier. Yes, it has for me.

I still miss him like nobodies business… But, I seldom have melt-downs anymore.

I have learned to make myself incredibly busy, so that my mind does not have time to wander, time to imagine the worst.

And when I am really low, I find another parent and we talk it out.

Lean on us, we are here for you!

Laughter ~ Seriously is the best medicine! Find things to help you laugh and don’t feel guilty that you are enjoying life while your child is at war.

My son would be really upset if he thought I put my life on hold and am sitting here crying and worrying day in and day out.

I am not suggesting that you stop thinking about your child (that would be an impossible task). I am suggesting that you think about the funny times you had together. Plan for your child’s Christmas package, your child’s Halloween goody bag, your child’s return party…

Drop in at the local elementary schools and ask if they would like to draw pictures or write letters for your child’s unit.

Stop in where you bank and ask one of the bank officers if you could leave a large poster board at the bank for customers and bank employees to write well wishes to your child’s unit.

Use your imagination… Every little thing you do to get the community involved makes you feel better, makes those who participate feel good, and brings a smile to your child.

A few months ago I sent out a request for email messages of support for my son. I posted the request on message boards, at church, and to those on my email addy book.

I was able to print out over 100 emails, some with pictures. I put them in a scrap book that I decorated with stickers and fun notes and sent it to my son.

He was amazed! The email from Ted Nugent and his crew was an added bonus.

What I am trying to say, is take your mind off of the uglies by doing something positive.

Also, be sure to send your child happy goofy mail. Things that will make them laugh.

I love sending cartoon movie packages with popcorn, movie candy, and drink mixes. When I sent the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie I added a Ninja Turtle action figure.

When I send toiletries I throw in a Scooby-doo tooth brush and a little ducky wash cloth.

They like to laugh about which parent sends the oddest things. I think I am winning!

(his next box will have a giant size Sombrero from our trip to San Antonio. ) Big Grin It will look so nice with his Sponge Bob boxer shorts!

If our kids can find ways to laugh in the war zone, then certainly we can muster a grin here at home.

 

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15 Responses to Parents Coping with War

  1. Cavmom,

    Here’s a something you might consider sending him:

    http://www.pplmotorhomes.com/parts/recliners-chairs/148067.htm

    It’s sure to improve his aim.

    Cheers

  2. Heck, as a teacher I’ve had female students having a tough time with their loved ones going off to war.

  3. cavmom says:

    Doc ~ I am ordering those for several of our guys! Thanks for the link. They are perfect!

    In fact my adoptee, the beautiful Ms Morgan, mentioned in an email that the wasps and flies are taking over. I might need to send her one for each hand.

  4. cavmom says:

    TT ~ How are you doing? I need to pop over to your place and catch up.

    I can only imagine that the pain and worry is as rough on the spouses who are left behind. And I cannot even fathom being a young child, worrying about a parent who is at war.

    I suggest to your students that they too reach out to others who are going thru the same thing. It is a big help to know that you are not alone in your worries.

  5. Great advice Cavmom! I’ve found that prayer, prayer and more prayer is what works best for me. I also think you are SO right about talking to other parents. Our support group has meant the world to me. Plus we get together as a group to send carepacks, write cookbooks, all sorts of stuff. 🙂 Keeps our minds busy and positive.

    On the note of other family members, I’ve noticed that sometimes my daughters get really worried about their big brother. We tend to forget that siblings can have a hard time with it too.

  6. cavmom says:

    Always praying Semper Fi Mom. 😉

    I would like to hear how you help your daughters work thru their worries.

  7. […] “How do you stay sane while your son is deployed?” […]

  8. yankeemom2 says:

    Bless your heart, Cavmom!

    PS linked to you ~

  9. Cavmom, one website I’ve found that’s really neat for kids is http://www.deploymentkids.com/index.html It’s aimed at kids whose parents are deployed, but it has some good stuff that my girls like too. They also each have a “deployment pillow”. It’s a pillow made out of the marpat desert digi fabric. The pillow has a clear pocket with a picture of their big brother in it. They sleep with them every night. I also encourage the girls to write to him and pray for him. They are doing pretty well. I think the main thing is just to acknowledge their worries and let them know that it’s ok to talk about it. I also have a teenage son at home who worries too, but he handles it much differently. He wants to know all the “cool” stuff his brother is doing and like to read books about Marines. He plans to enlist when he is old enough. (That will make 3 Marines for us!!!!)

  10. cavmom says:

    Yankee Mom ~ Thanks for the link. I am heading over to your site in a few. 🙂

  11. cavmom says:

    Semper Fi Mom ~ You family is blessed to have a strong Momma to guide them! I love the idea for the Deployment Pillow. Another parent mentioned that she had her son’s picture put on large T-shirts that the younger siblings wear for jammies.

    Three Marines!!!! Good Golly they are going to keep you hopping for years to come.

  12. snooper says:

    cavmom…rough-tough cream-puff Snooper here…

    I was a Soldier once and it never dawned on me what it did to my parents those many years ago when I first deployed and again and again and again…….

    Like you said, I always came home.

    Now that I am a parent and our eldest son just deployed with the 101st last Friday and arrived in Kuwait the next day, I finally realized what that did to my parents.

    I saw this link at yankeemom2 and I came over to read your piece.

    It was most timely. I guess it is true, what they say…the Lord works in mysterious ways.

    I don’t like having the shoe on the other foot, as it were.

  13. cavmom says:

    Snooper ~ Thanks for stopping by. Please send your son an extra hug from us.

    It is tough to sit back as a parent, hoping and praying that the years of guidance that you provided were enough.

    It is like spending years of your life creating the perfect flying machine and then standing with your hands tied as the Government puts it to the test, by launching it off the face of a cliff.

    You have faith in your work, but want to be there in case there is a problem.

    I guess we have to let them fly!

    *side note: My favorite Veteran is a Screaming Eagle!*

  14. DNR says:

    Such a great list and sooo many ideas. I wish I would have had them while my brother was in the sand box.

    If (‘when’, he keeps volunteering) my son goes, I’ll be back, looking for this post. I think that year, I will go crazy!

  15. cavmom says:

    Aw DNR ~ You know we will be here if you need us. 🙂

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