The Friday entries of "The Powder Room" are currently from a journal which I started when we found out our son was going to be deployed with the United States Marine Corps to Iraq. The journal was not written with the intention that it would ever be read by anyone else, much less published in any way. There are feelings in the journal that are deep and true and I wasn't sure at first I wanted to share them. But there are many sons and daughters still serving in our armed forces and I think it might be good to share "a mother's heart" with you what those other mothers may be facing. The entries are shared as a tribute to my son and his service to our country, and to all those sons and daughters who continue to willingly place themselves in harm's way for the protection and preservation of liberty.
April 19, 2004
Noah is still home. But Noah is not home. The closer we get to his departure date (whatever it is, because we don't know), the more away from home he is. This is just a depository for his things. And even when he is here, I feel like he isn't here. There seems to be so little emotional attachment for him here that I wonder just how long it has been since I have touched the "real" Noah -- you know the one -- the tenderhearted, witty, laughing, Noah.
Does the prospect of war loom so heavily upon him that it oppresses his thoughts even now? Does the specter of separation from those he loves haunt him so much that he has already begun the separation himself? Is there some knowledge, some fear, some question that presses so hard and so heavily on him that he must keep a distance from those who love him so much? I have no answers for these questions, but one of my favorite pictures comes to mind.
In this picture I am sitting on the bedroom floor in the old house, doing something like putting on makeup. Around my neck is a pasta necklace, obviously a present crafted from little hands. Sitting next to me is a young Noah. In this picture it seems as if he is telling a story and I am listening while going about my activity. I love this little glimpse of life passed by when Noah loved to relate every detail of every event. He was such a wonderful storyteller -- no twist in the plot was left unveiled, no detail, no matter how trivial, was deleted. An oh, those marvelous little boy sound effects! How do little boys learn to mimic cars and boats and engines so well? You could always depend upon Noah's stories to somehow make you laugh. Not that the stories were always funny, mind you. It was just that he took so much joy in the telling of them and that joy would spill over into your own heart. Oh, to hear one more little boy story!
But that isn't what makes that picture so special. Nor is it because a little toddling Emmie is also in the picture. It is because in this picture Noah is sitting as close to me as possible. Our backs are propped up against the wall and our legs are outstretched and Noah is sitting close to his Momma. Ever since he was old enough to walk away from me, Noah loved to be physicially close. There could be an abundance of couches and chairs in a room, but Noah was going to choose to sit right next to you -- in your lap if at all possible. Even when he became a bigger boy, too big for lap sitting, he would edge his way as close as possible. But by this time he had learned to ask for a back scratch as well, and he usually got one!
I knew the day Noah left in that van for boot camp that my "little boy" was gone forever, but little did I know the tenderhearted laughing, loving son would be buried so deep beneath the Kevlar and cammies. These days Noah walks around with a sort of Rhett Butler-ish swagger that gives the world the impression he is saying the same thing that Rhett did, that "Frankly, Scarlett, . . ." Well, you know the rest.
I can only pray that one day Noah will take that turn in the road most young adults do and realize the people who love him most in the world are the ones who have prayed for him everyday of his life. Perhaps one day Noah will come in and sit close to me again, just for the sheer pleasure to sit next to his Momma. And you can be very sure he'll get a back scratch out of it, too!