Military moms: Sharing the holidays with a soldier

Nickie Shawley Somerset, Pennsylvania

How do I feel having my son in the United States Army? I am so very proud of his service, dedication, and commitment to his unit — the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, ‘Rakkasans,’ 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). Just because we are in the midst of the holidays does not change that at all; however, it does intensify some of the other emotions that come with being an Army mom — anxiety, loneliness and the ever-present desire to have my soldier home.

Army moms think about their soldiers all the time, but the holidays seem to hold more ‘triggers.’ For example, seeing his special ornaments on the tree makes me wonder what he is doing now. Making cookies fills my mind with memories of baking with him in the past. Looking at his empty stocking simply brings me to tears knowing that he will not be there Christmas morning. Do I miss him? Yes! Would I ever ask him to give up his military pursuits? Never! No matter what time of the year it is, my heart will always be with SPC Phillip Shawley, but this year I am especially grateful that my son — along with many other service members — is standing guard so that families all over the United States can experience a peaceful Christmas. I respect his decision to serve at this time and will continue to support him all year long.

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