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.
June 22, 2004
It has been two weeks now. In some ways it seems like it was just yesterday that Noah left and in others like it has been much, much longer.
It has been nice to get emails and calls from him, although they are very short, and he has even sent a few pictures. As nice as those things are, when you have someone like Noah -- who can make you laugh at every turn in the conversation -- you miss just sitting around and joking with him. There has always seemed to me something forced about a telephone conversation, as if you are trying to fill up every space with words lest you experience the awkwardness of dead air. When you are together, however, the silent spaces can be for reflecting or resting or thinking or perhaps looking at the same thing. Sometimes it can be for that silent communication that knows none nor needs no words.
I think this time is different too because we are not on the top of the "Noah" ladder. I am sure he is missing us, but he is really missing Aimee. It is a difficult place to take that step down in your child's life, but it is also so normal and so necessary.
I guess the thing that bothers me most is that I feel so totally helpless to do anything. I don't know what to send him while he is still here in the States and I don't know how often he reads his email. So I work on my "Noah quilt" each day knowing that the time I spend on that is for Noah.
The quilt has six sets of six colored stripes. At this point (as far as I know and most of my information is from Aimee), there are five men on Noah's team plus the leader. So there is a color for each man and each color is found in the Marine Corps flag. Noah is the light yellow. I guess because yellow is a happy, fun color. Maybe it is because Noah's first bedroom was a bright yellow. I just now I think of (and pray for) Noah when I see that color -- like the yellow ribbons on our doors and oak tree.
The red is for Alan. I think of Alan as a strong, good to the foundation kind of guy. Perhaps his dark hair complements the red color, but I think of Alan when I see the red.
The white is Jay. I don't know Jay, but I think he enjoys outdoor things like hunting and fishing and the white knit (like a polo shirt) material reminds me of a casual, outdoorsy guy. Too, I know his wife is pregnant and the white reminds me of a baby blanket. I try to remember to pray for her, too, when I pray for Jay.
I know little about the fourth and fifth men of team, so one is the gray-silver silk, sort of like a foggy cloud. The other is the black stripe, since I know absolutely nothing about him, not even a name.
The cream colored Asian pattern is Foster. He is the leader of the team. I assume that as leader he has more rank, more experience and more knowledge. So the rich feeling, textured and patterned material is his. It is also the most difficult to sew.
As I sew each color, I try to pray for the man (and his family) that color represents. The six colors represent things as well. They represent the six things I have chosen to be my main prayer for Noah and his team and his platoon: strength, wisdom, accuracy (not only regarding weaponry but also coordinates), endurance, integrity and faith.
I have decided on the center to quilt an Eagle, Globe and Anchor. Quilting the pattern won't be a challenge -- after all, I've quilted a china pattern before! But getting the pattern onto the quilt has proven to be a great challenge, especially when you consider all the different colored materials. So far I have the pattern of the eagle, so one third is done.
This is something else I can pray for Noah, that the things which he finds as unexpected challenges, he will know how to break into smaller parts and overcome and that through it all he will maintain a positive optimistic outlook, his integrity and and that his faith will be strengthened.