Little Bears and a Big Voice

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Okay, I promised if you guys remembered to vote for the Top Military Mom contest every day (once a day), that I’d blog for 19 days straight…  PHEW!!!  Day 2 is a little late because I was chatting with Jason, and hey, from Afghanistan?  He wins.  😉  Oh, go VOTE!!!  >>>>>>>>

Here we go.

The sound of Jason’s voice does miraculous things for me.  When I’m stressed out, ready to snap, it’s something that can bring me back from the brink with just a few words.  His voice is home to me, almost as much as the rhythm of his heartbeat.

 I have a really hard time sleeping when he’s deployed. I can’t seem to shut my mind off from the possibilities enough to let go, unless I read myself to exhaustion, usually about 2 a.m..  But during OIF 1, we didn’t have phones, or internet (like the stone-ages here people), so Jason and I used tape recorders to pass back and forth tapes.  When I couldn’t sleep, even after reading until indecent hours, I turned played his tapes, the recorder on his pillow, and fell asleep to the sound of his voice.

It was all we had.

Fast forward a decade later, yes, people A DECADE, and Jason’s still at war, but our technology is gorgeous.  Yes, he switched branches from cavalry to aviation, so his digs are considerably more cushy than his 19D days.  He laughs when he gets stuck on a mattress on the floor, and jokes, “hey, it’s better than OIF 1, sleeping on the floor of an abandoned train station, or OIF III, building our own plywood house.”  With this technology are blessings I couldn’t have imagined a decade ago.  Jason carries a cell phone now, and we text whenever we want (and cringe at the bill).  He is almost never out of my reach.  For someone who went 6 weeks without phone calls 10 years ago, this is a miracle to me.  We have Viber, where I can upload pics to him immediately, and he can see our kids in real time when we’re out on adventures.  We have Facebook, where he can hop online and see the hundreds of pictures and videos I post for him… yes, I’m clogging your newsfeed, but I love Jason more than I care about annoying you.  😉  And we have SKYPE!!!  I can actually hear him and see him at the same time! I can’t tell you how many times I’ve wanted to crawl through the computer screen and kiss my husband…

But this.  This, I love.

Build-a-bear workshop drove up from Syracuse to host a special stuffing party for Task Force Tigershark.  The kiddos knew that they were stuffing build-a-bears, but what my little guys didn’t know was that when they pressed the paw, they were going to get a special surprise.

  Jason was in each bear, giving each boy their own little message.

Excuse the camera-phone videography.  Jason, and other Tigersharks, recorded messages for their kiddos in Afghanistan, and mailed the recorders home to be stuffed.

Listening to their messages, in that moment, they had him.  They listened to his voice all the way home, through dinner, and took their bears to bed.

But this is what got me.  While I was stuffing a bear for a friend who couldn’t make it, I look over and see Aidan, my little tough guy, curled up on his bear, just absorbed in his dad’s voice.

And you know what?  I got it.  I understand how something can make you feel so good inside, to hear them, and yet be reminded that they’re so terribly far away.

Sometimes, military kids get the short end of the stick.  Sigh.

In keeping with my “We will not Hermit” promise, we grabbed haircuts,

And did the kids’ summer pictures, this evening too!  We were hopping around fools.

So thank you to build-a-bear workshop for driving an hour North to bring some joy to some little guys who sorely needed it.

And what did this mama get?  Well, as I cooked dinner, I heard my husband’s voice all over the house, coming from different rooms as if he was actually here.

That, my friends, is as close as we get to a little piece of Heaven.

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