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I've always been in awe of military moms. They are a strong group. Because underneath the intense pride that comes with watching your son or daughter defend our country, there's a fear rippling below the surface that most of us can't identify with.
And yet every military mom I know stands tall and keeps a smile on her face. The average empty nester is worried about how little snookums is going to make it in the big, wide world. But a military mom knows her child has chosen a path that will likely put him or her in harm's way at some point. So you had better believe when a phone call comes in from her soldier (or sailor, or airman, etc.), there's nothing that can keep that mom from the phone.
Now imagine the boss who says, "Sorry, lady, but you can't talk to your child who is calling you from Afghanistan today and doesn't know when he'll get to a phone again because work comes first." You're thinking he'd be a complete jerk, right?
The boss at Crane Interiors of Woodbury in Tennessee went even further. They suspended Teresa Danford for three days for answering her phone during working hours when her son, Lance Cpl. Mark Rhyne, managed to grab a few moments to make a satellite call from Afghanistan. Pressure on the business since her story went public has made them retract the punishment, but it speaks to a national problem. Soldiers need their moms too!
Sure, we like to think of the members of our armed forces as these strong, macho types, prepared for battle. Nothing should faze them. But you try telling a military mom that her baby doesn't need her anymore, and it may come to blows. When a teenager walks out the door and heads for boot camp, he or she may be shedding childhood, but they're still somebody's little boy or girl.
When the going gets tough, the average human could use a little bit of moral support from mom -- especially when you're an 18-year-old away from home for the first time. And in military moms, you find a special kind of toughness, the kind of "buck up, we can get through" attitude that a soldier worn down by war could use.
Want to help the young men and women of the military to succeed? Give them phone calls to mom, and don't punish her for taking the time to answer. She's doing a service to the country too.
Know a military mom? Go give her a hug today!
Image via Chris Breeze/Flickr