Dear Son, Love Mom

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Dear Son,

My thoughts were of you this morning. I was thinking about how you feel when you come back home. This can mean coming back stateside or, if you are lucky enough, coming back to a place you called home with people that matter to you and where you matter to them.

What an interesting time for you. You have been gone so long, and the world you are stepping into almost seems like foreign soil though you have been waiting forever to be here. People might greet you at the airport and hug you with tears. But though you are happy to see them, you feel like you’ve forgotten how to match their joy at your return openly.

Son, you are ok. You aren’t doing anything wrong. We are thrilled to have you home. Yet we recognize some things: You have been living in a world where outwardly expressed feelings are very subdued. You have been trained to observe situations and emotionlessly act on everything coming at you. Also, we recognize that you haven’t been touched, cuddled, and taken care of in the way we have longed for ever since you left home.

So thank you. Not that “thank you for your service” statement that makes you cringe on the inside because you aren’t sure how to respond to the stranger being nice to you. But rather, thank you for understanding that I really needed to hug you tight, that my Momma-self wants to wrap you up, tuck you into bed tonight, and watch you sleep. Also, for understanding that your sister will hug you and touch you every time she walks by you for the next three days until her “love bucket” is full again after missing you.

And know that we love you even if you are quiet, even if you seem like you aren’t happy to be home. We want to let you know that this may have been the first time in forever that you didn’t have some place you were told to be, how to act, and what to feel. We recognize that your next duty station or assignment is still in the back of your head, and the memories of the people and friends that you made are still part of your being, but you may never see them again. We recognize that you are starting over in a new place, having to be the newbie and earn the trust of everyone around you.

We recognize that you came home with not just a heavy duffel and rucksack but all of what you left behind and all that you made familiar because you had to do so to succeed.

You can just be you today, Son. You can rest for a moment and process. You are worthy of the peace you are looking for when the transition seems too much. You are valuable, and you are loved.

I’m here to listen. I’m here to be silent. I just want you to know… I’m here.

Love, Mom