After her son enlists in the Marines, a mother finds support and encouragement in a surprising place.
Posted in , Apr 30, 2018
I’m not a big fan of bumper stickers. To me, they seemed to give a car an untidy look.
That all changed when our son joined the military. Our son chose to enlist instead of attending college. This meant that while he lived on a military base, we were isolated in a community with nothing military around us. Information about his new life was hard to find.
We had encouragement and support from friends, family and our faith community. But most of them were as clueless about military life as we were. We scrambled to find accurate information and many times it felt like we were feeling our way in the dark. I prayed, asking God to send me someone to help me navigate this new life circumstance.
He answered that prayer one morning when I pulled into a grocery store parking lot. As I walked past a car, I noticed it had a bumper sticker announcing “Proud Mother of a Marine.” I looked around, hoping to see someone coming toward the car, but there wasn’t a soul in sight.
I walked back to my car—just two spaces down—and waited. Surely the woman who owned the car would be able to point me to some resources. It became kind of a game. I’d see a woman leave the building, and I’d try to discern if she looked like a military mom. Finally a tiny woman made her way to the car. When she pulled out her keys to load her groceries into the trunk I approached.
I’ve never felt so awkward in my life, but I was desperate. I explained to her that my son had just enlisted, and I was searching for other moms. In an attempt not to sound creepy, I gave her way too much information. She took it all in and smiled. “You’re not alone,” were the first words out of her mouth.
I promptly burst into tears. She’d seen to the heart of my request and answered. It was through her that I discovered our local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers. This group helped me learn the lingo, understand the etiquette and held my hand when I thought I wasn’t going to make it.
Long after our son left the military, I kept a bumper sticker on my car. “Proud Mother of a Marine.” And I’ve been approached more than once by a panic-stricken woman just beginning the journey.
The month of May is designated the Month of the Military Family. So whether or not you have a loved one serving, stop and look around. You may spy a bumper sticker of someone who is. Take a minute to reach out. Let them know you’re praying for our military and thank the family for their service too.