For the past several years I have had the great joy of being greeted each morning with hugs and smiles offered by little tykes. My job has many benefits, but certainly, these small bits of affection are by far the greatest. I often wonder what career could be more wonderful; summers and holidays off, snow days, and all the hugs you could imagine. It's hard to believe a better career could exist. If one does, I'm all ears.
When I first started my job, my aunt had suggested I keep a journal of all the things the children said. I laughed at the idea and gave it little thought. Now, as I look towards a new chapter in my life, I wish I had. With stories such as the ones I will later share, I think I could have had a publishing deal and people around the world could've enjoyed a few laughs at our expense. Though some of the stories I'd share are worthy of a good chuckle, some would draw tears. The kind of tears that make you want to grab your children, squeeze them tight, and linger a little longer after turning out the light. One story in particular, continue to weigh on my heart.
Once, there was a young boy, full of energy and spunk. With a head full of moppy, blonde hair and sparkling blue eyes, this young child was the perfect image of a happy kid. And he was. And still is. His family, I've never met, but I'd like to.
His father, according to the young boy, "Doesn't kill the bad guys. He doesn't even shoot them." But, what he does is important and the sacrifice is great. His father "works on the aircrafts", he tells me with a shrug. As if, him being gone, is just as simple as me stopping by Starbucks every Friday. It's that very reason my heart aches. This young child, is as comfortable with his father being gone, as we are with our every day freedoms. And though I use the word comfortable often, it is only to describe my sweatpants and hoodies. And here he is, comfortable.
"Every night" he tells me, with a smile larger than life. "Every night he calls to tell me he loves me." He knows my husband also serves our country and he asks if I also get calls. I do, but not as frequently. (I want to be positive in this blog, but I also want to be honest. And the truth is, some days I'm actually human. Some days, I'm just a woman who misses being able to share everything, even the mundane. Some days, I want to come home to a card or a letter, even when I know they are practically impossible to receive at this point. And yes, selfish or not, I want this knowing he has little downtime and knowing that the time he does have, needs to be spent sleeping or planning. I know. I know and I still want it.) He hugs me and tells me his dad must love him more. I chuckle, ruffle his hair, and agree. His dad does love him, that's why he's there when he'd rather be here. It's why he misses holidays, birthdays, and the first day of school. It's why he calls every night. He loves his son. He loves our country. And the boy? He loves his father. Not the hero, not the man in uniform, but his father.
Years from now, I will remember these conversations. I will remember the young boy full of energy and spunk. I will remember our military families who are not just fighting for our freedoms, but fighting to show their children they love them more than anything in the world.
The things kids say...