Thursday, September 26, 2013

My heart aches

Last week we were getting out to eat at El Fenix and across the parking lot there were a car full of soldiers in fatigues getting in their car to leave.
Maddox was saying, "hurry daddy!" while frantically trying to get out of the car.  He finally broke free and yelled, "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!!" across the way.
I did not think that they heard him, but the female in the back seat opened her door and said, "you're welcome" and they pulled away.

It made me proud.
It made him proud.
I think it may have embarrassed Lance a little... but he was proud too.

Maddox has been obsessed with "army soldiers" for a long time....
(remember his favorite Christmas gift a couple of years ago was his Ricky Thibeault figurine that Santa snagged from the Dollar store for a few bucks... and the time that we were on vacation and one got into the elevator with us and left him speechless.)
but he doesn't "get it"...
the whole soldier thing--
what they do, what they stand for, WHO they stand for, what they put on the line, what they give and risk and how little reward they reap.

Honestly, it is a lot to get...
and the whole discussion overwhelms me too.

Exactly one week later, Lance reads me a status from our community's Facebook page.
A mother posted that her son had passed away over the weekend in Afghanistan and she needed rails for a queen size bed so that she could house his family coming in.

He was only 23 years old, a father to 3, and his brother is also a soldier.

Of course it made me a mess of tears.
I just can't imagine the pain.
When I try, I get sucked in to a scary place where I want to control my children's every breath, become overwhelmed, anxious, and just cry.

My heart broke for her.
And for his wife....
and for his 3 young babies...
Into a million pieces.

Immediately people start coming together, to get her the rails and other things through Facebook--
and then more of us chime in and come up with a plan.

Someone was able to get in touch with the Optimist club and borrow one hundred 3X5 American flags, people brought ribbon and beautiful bows, tools, and man power.
A lady donated hundreds of car flags...
The Haslet Volunteer Fire Department brought trucks...
And people came together.

There were men and women and children who had never met, pulling together for a stranger...
Lance needed some tool, and blinked and Buster was there with it.
I needed scissors and someone offered.
Kids had pride in their bows...
people pulled over and asked what they could do....
Everyone wanted to help.

It felt good.


but still good.

After 9:00, hundreds of our neighbors and friends and people that we had never seen before, came back and lined the streets with our cars, flashers and headlights on, and we stood on the edge of the street and waved our flags for them as they made their way from the airport with the rest of their family.

It didn't change their hurt.
And it certainly didn't bring him home...

but it brought people together in his name,
and hopefully it gave them a moment of comfort.

It certainly gave us a moment...
to be grateful...
and humble...
and instill some life lessons in the boys...
and be proud.

Today we went with Lance to drop off a catering.
On the way, we saw a soldier and his family getting out to get frozen yogurt.
Maddox asked us to unlock his window,
he rolled it down and shouted, "THANK YOU FOR YOUR SERVICE!"
And we smiled.
Today was different...
because yesterday was different.
And hopefully he remembers yesterday for a long time.

We definitely will.

And hopefully I can channel my little Maddox the next time I see a soldier, and thank them too, without reservations... or assuming they know.

They deserve that.

My heart aches for this family...
but is proud of my little community.

You can watch channel 5's take on the story here::
(and you might recognize a sweet boy or two)


  1. Cried through your post. I love your guys are amazing examples to your boys. So proud of your all.

  2. Beautiful Holly, just beautiful! These are the things our children will remember and will mold them into the adults they are to become. You have a great family!

  3. I cried like a baby thanks a lot.


  4. I am in tears. It is heart breaking. Your sons are amazing and so are you for honoring the soldier who you did not know in your blog. The photos are amazing. Thanks

  5. so sweet...this brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful pictures Holly

  6. I read this the other day and didn't comment, but it's been on my mind so much. I absolutely LOVE what you are teaching those sweet boys of yours. This post also makes me proud and sad! xo