To My Children,
The world calls him a warrior, both feared and respected across the globe. He has a noble calling, one he willingly fulfills. His appearance projects that of confidence and might for the entire world to see, yet in our home and within our walls he’s as gentle as can be.
Long before you blessed our lives, there were a million “see you laters “ and hundred “goodbyes.” The story began when he decided that he would be a little different from the rest. He raised his arm and swore to protect and defend all that he loved with every ounce of breath and courage he possessed. He did so knowing that there would be rough patches ahead. Smooth sailing wasn’t in his blood, his heart longed for adventure.
The days passed quite quickly as I prepared for our first real test. I hugged him long and hard. My eyes filled with tears, as our embrace came to an end. I half hoped those puddles appeared in his same stare, but I knew better. Confident and excited he picked up his pack. I watched him walk away knowing he’d be a little different the next time we met.
I sat amongst a crowd with feelings of elation and excitement in the air. They were finally finished. Mere boys they left their homes and transformed so that only men were now standing there. I found his face in a sea of greens, and browns, and suddenly my heart began to swell with anticipation for his arms. He was dismissed and then I ran to be right at his side. I found him, and held him so tight I thought my arms might break, and once again my eyes resembled that of the kitchen sink. I pulled back a little to meet his glance, wondering if tears would appear but only a wide eyed-grin was present there.
We knelt across an alter promising an eternity and more. I held his hand and began to think of everything that lie in store. Sheer happiness filled my heart as I agreed to be his wife. Surely now he would shed even the faintest of tears, again it was no surprise to see not one little faint of wetness, just his famous grin. I contemplated digging my nails into his wrist while our hands were entwined just to make him squeeze a token tear from his beautiful eyes.
Years later with news of a baby girl, we found ourselves in a hospital room waiting for her arrival. I pushed long and hard and was sure she wasn’t coming. Exhausted and defeated I began to close my eyes until I heard his voice in my ear telling me he loved me and that he was so proud of me. That small message was all I needed to finally get her here. I’ll never forget her cry; it was literal music to my ears.
They placed my new baby on my chest and there we both admired the beauty of something so small and pure. He leaned in to kiss my cheek and tell me how much he loved me and that’s when the tears fell down and landed so gracefully beside me. He held her and memorized every wrinkle and stray hair. As I lay there and gazed upon a scene fit for Heaven I saw the man I loved in a new light. A daddy. Protector had a new meaning.
Uncle Sam moved us hundreds of miles away and there we welcomed baby number two. A boy this time would grace our home. We sat there together and watched the machines track the faintest of contractions. We guessed what he would look like, and wondered about his demeanor. It took far less time for him to make his appearance in comparison to our first; we heard the sweet sound of him announcing his presence.
Again I watched as I met my sweet little boy for the first time. “My boys,” the term was now a reality and my heart was so grateful. I watched as they both stared into one another’s eyes. My big boy smiled and talked about all the things they would do together. As he whispered into our new baby’s ear I was careful not to stare, but even the faintest of glances could identify tears falling there.
We moved again and years flew boy, our family was our greatest prize. Amidst all the happiness we knew someone was missing. Our hearts swelled and our prayers were answered as we received confirmation of our caboose. Another little boy, we would add to our story. There we sat in a familiar room waiting to meet our new miracle. As I pushed and finally held the missing piece to our puzzle, the same feeling of peace and contentment filled both our hearts as well held him and cried sweet tears of happiness.
Weeks after the arrival of our fresh babe we received the dreaded call. Our protector and our hero would leave to fight a foreign foe. Weeks of anticipation, fear, and heartache followed until finally the nightmare came true. I witnessed the hardest thing I‘ve ever seen when I watched your daddy say goodbye to you. He held each of you close and expressed a love only a father could posses as your heads he kissed and your hair he caressed.
He prayed you’d be healthy and strong and remember how loved you are. He told you how much he would miss you and think of you while he was away. He held you for as long as possible as if gathering all your sweet scents and sounds to last for his absence. Together in his arms we cried as we felt the sting of his goodbye and it was then I knew. When daddies cry the meaning of love is displayed in its purest form.
Today and always we praise those men that fight so hard to defend not only nations and strangers but those souls that call them daddy. We thank them for their honor and for being an example of nobility and purest form of charity. We also praise those valiant fathers that protect the home front while their partner’s serve our nation. Finally we praise anyone that has fostered enough care and devotion to love a child and serve as a protector.