Ah, day 4 of the 19 day blogging spree!!! If you get a sec, go vote for Military Mom Blog of the year! No, seriously, go do it, because this is a collection of women who hold it down on the homefront, and a click is an easy thing to do! 😉 >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
Today, my oldest “graduated” elementary school.
Don’t get me started on the insanity of graduating anything younger than high school, but I loved getting to see him perform his concert at the same time. Also, starting middle school at 5th grade annoys the crapola out of me. Come on, 5th grade, and he’ll have a locker, a 9 period schedule and no recess? UGH. Okay, back to the happiness of his ceremony!!!
The gym was insanely loud, and Brody was up past nap time. Because his seizures are triggered by sleep deprivation, I always stress when he misses nap, but there are some things I’m willing to test his limits for. Aaron’s ceremony was definitely one of them. Now, sitting through an hour long graduation with a temperamental, nap-deprived pre-schooler? That’s something else.
Aaron marched in, took his place on the risers and immediately swept his gaze across the bleachers, passing over us a dozen times. I watched panic settle in over him until he found us about five minutes into the program. Nothing like watching your little man visibly relax just because they see you there.
Once the principal started the ceremony, she called down 8 special children to lead the pledge of allegiance, and Aaron was one of them. It caught me off-guard, only because he hadn’t told me about it. It took me a minute to figure out why he was chosen, why they all were chosen.
None of them had a dad there.
They were all deployed.
The realization sucked the air from my lungs, and the beauty of the moment was replaced with a moment of sheer anger. Jason should have been there. He should have seen Aaron sing, and play the recorder he’s been torturing us with at home. Jason should have seen Aaron’s smile when his teacher called his name, and watched him shake hands with the principal as he got his certificate stating that he’d finished elementary school. He missed it. I know it killed Jason to miss it, and it made me unreasonably angry. This is our life, what we signed up for. We both knew what it entailed, but sitting there alone, without Jason to share a “aren’t we proud” glance at our firstborn, it felt so bittersweet and slightly empty. Jason missed his first day of school this year because he was TDY at a school. He’s missing the last day of elementary school because he’s deployed, and he’ll miss the first day of Aaron’s middle school next year. Add that to missing Chase’s first day of kindergarten this year, and Brody’s first day of pre-K next year, and the time away starts to add up quickly.
And the kids are losing.
But when it comes to our boys, we do our best NEVER to let it show. No, we smile, even though parts of us are shriveling into unrecognizable, bitter little pieces, because we want them to be happy. So I sucked up my little pangs of heartache, took pictures, recorded video, hugged my guy, and took him home, our little soon-to-be-middle-schooler. When Aaron told me that he wished Daddy was there, and that sad little look came over his face, I pulled him close and told him that Daddy wanted to be there more than anything, and it was the truth. But, at the same time Aaron was walking across that gym floor, Jason was up flying over Afghanistan.
Again, sometimes these kids just get the short end of the stick.
They’re so strong, these military kids we raise. He bounces right back every time, but I can admit I’m scared that one day he won’t. But today he did, full of smiles, giggles, and tales of how awesome the lunches are at the middle school. Sigh. Apparently packing him paleo lunches isn’t quite so fashionable at the oh-so-cool middle school. Man, his smile just kills me every time.
So congrats to our first-born, our amazing Aaron Jason. He’s the guy who’s been with me since our first deployment started when he was a little over 5 weeks old. He’s been through every up and down with me, and he’s growing into such an amazing little man. Gorgeous too, though I’m pretty biased. 😉 He’s smart, and a book-worm like his mama, but thank God he gets his sense of humor from his dad. No, Mom still does not find bodily functions funny, especially as revenge on a brother.
Congrats, baby. You’re going to rock middle school next year.