Give a warm welcome to my special guest, Denise Pierson. Denise has been a school teacher for 25 years. She is the mom of two wonderful boys and two extraordinary step children. She currently lives in Alexandria, VA with her supportive husband, Chris. Thank you Denise for raising a courageous young man, who strives to make the world a better place. Thank your husband and your son for their service.
This is her story:
“Mom I have been selected for OCS” (Officer Candidate School), my oldest son Chris relayed to me several months after college. With many job interviews and not many prospects of gainful employment, my son was accepted in the Army.
It doesn’t hit you all at once; it takes several months and many opinions from friends and family to finally realize the ramifications of this decision. Probably the hardest part of all of this is that our country is currently at war in lands foreign to us. We have become all too familiar with noticing the burden born by the sons or daughters of other parents. When the call comes to your door and it is your son that takes the challenge, everything immediately changes for you.
The initial feelings of pride and excitement are coupled with the heart stopping feeling that at some point my son will be put directly in harms’ way. Never a moment goes by without being attached to my cell phone. There are many sleepless nights. This has become my normal.
The process of becoming a military family starts immediately. Thankfully my husband Chris, my son’s stepfather, is a retired Navy commander whose sound judgment during all of these stages has made the adjustments somewhat easier for me. However, when it is your child, it is a completely different feeling. As mom’s, one of our main jobs is to protect our kids, not to send them to a place where they could be harmed.
From Basic to OCS, to the most arduous instructions for nine weeks at Ranger School, continuing to Airborne training, just begins to get you accustomed to your soldier living far away. Chris’ journey continued from Fort Jackson to Fort Benning and eventually landed him at the 10th Mountain Infantry division at Fort Drum, New York.
At Fort Drum, Chris has been leading a platoon of strong and courageous men that have been training to get ready for their deployment. While he was there, we were able to enjoy some home visits that allowed us numerous opportunities to catch up.
All this training, coupled with the worry of what comes next, almost makes you ready. I made sure to have as much time as possible with my soldier before his departure. The day he was leaving, I stood back and watched. I noticed that the boy I raised had become a man.
His leadership skills were respected and the traits we all love about Chris are the same reasons why his men seem to appreciate him so earnestly. I was grateful to have the ability to have this time together before he left. It did seem to make it somewhat easier to say good-bye.
Not that the tears don’t come, they come later when you aren’t prepared. They feel like waves of sadness. With this sadness, you have to muster up courage from reservoirs of strength that you initially couldn’t even imagine you had.
As his deployment continues, and there are months between seeing him in person, I have become a stronger mom. I have become a better person and the challenges that I didn’t think I could survive—I have done just that.
I do feel very fortunate to be at the heart of our military in our nation’s capital. I need to stay extremely busy by surrounding myself with many activities that have meaning to me. The best part of my week has been in becoming a volunteer at the USO Wounded Warrior Center at Fort Belvoir. By supporting these brave men and women who serve here and far from their homes, it makes me feel closer to my son. Therefore in return, I know that his service will be appreciated and thanked by another volunteer somewhere else in the world.
My Dearest Son, I love you more than you will ever know and words can’t adequately express the deepest feelings I have for you. I pray every minute that you will return to us soon and unharmed. I remain grateful for your service, courage and commitment to make the world a better place for all of us.
Love Your Proud Army Strong Mom
Please pray for Denise, her son Chris, and all of our troops that they may return safely to the families that love them.