Yesterday at noon I heard the sound I had been longing for, “hey mooooooooom, I’m in the states”. After an hour of advising him to keep his stimulation down, stay out of Wal-Mart, don’t go to any bars, and stay away from loose women (okay, I advise of him like that even when he hasn’t deployed) and listening to him talk about his commute, he boarded one more flight to get him home. At 6:47 I received the text: Beer is delicious. My baby boy was safe and sound in his condo at his home base. After another 1/2 hour of advising, keep your stimulation down, don’t drink more than 2 beers, keep processing and stay away from loose women he was off to bed and I slept like a baby for the first time since the early spring. I know it won’t last, this feeling of safety that I have when he’s on US soil, but he’s here NOW and I’ll get to put my hands on him in a couple of weeks after he’s in-processed and he’s ready for me to PUT my hands on him. I posted a picture of him smooching me when he was a toddler on his Facebook page this evening, just to hear him chuckle. He’s still my little boy. We don’t see these warriors as civilians see them. When he sends me pictures of himself standing in the desert in BDU’s holding a machine gun, I see my little boy in a ninja turtle outfit jumping off of his red bunk bed. Today I had the blessing of a long conversation with a dear friend, a mother of four. She is my hero, raising 1 very special little girl along with her 3 beautiful boys in such a lovely zen mom way. She asked me “what is it like, to know your son goes through everything that goes along with war?” ” Michelle, it is every terrible thought and feeling you could ever imagine, it never goes away when they are gone, it just sits there waiting to pounce on you”. You “zen up” by staying busy and trying to be worthy of his sacrifices for you. You tell everyone you come into contact with that he’s there. You make every civilian see the sacrifices by wearing his unit pin or plastering your vehicle with stickers that shout out your pride. You take every moment to educate 99% of the rest of the country about what it is REALLY like to be a military family member. You try to comfort your daughter, his big sister who still calls him “bubby” when she looks up at you like she’s 3 years old again and says “he needs to come home now”.