A Mother And A Soldier

Mother and solider Coach Lila Holley

As we prepare to celebrate Mother’s Day on Sunday, my thoughts ponder over the joys of motherhood. Then I think about the sacrifice of being a Military Mom.

I joined the military as a single mother of a young son. While my family really supported me in my decision to serve, I mostly felt like it was me and him against the world. His father was not in the picture. And my military assignments took us far away from the familiarity of family and friends. He served as my motivation to really ‘Be All That I Could Be’ in the Army. My main purpose was to provide a better life for him than I could have had I remained in New York state.

My military career allowed me to literally show him the world. My son played baseball in the European World Series in Poland!! That was an incredible experience and an amazing opportunity for a child of a teenage mother. Yes, he and I against the world.

Then 18 years later, I again became a mother to a daughter. I was thrilled! A mini-me! She was perfect! Chocolate skin tone, dark hair and eyes that swallowed you up! Yes, I was in love on a whole other level, all over again – nothing like the love between a mother and child.

Celebrate!

I remember celebrating her first birthday and having to prepare myself for deployment to Iraq shortly thereafter. The pain of this separation was so intense. It was nearly unbearable, but I made it through and returned home. My concern then became – ‘Will my beautiful Baby Girl remember me?’ “Will my daughter know who I am?’ I was really concerned.

My concern was unwarranted because before night fall we were laughing and playing ‘peek-a-boo.’ While we were able to immediately bond and reconnect, she had grown so much in that year I missed with her. This was time I could never get back – time that was lost forever. My husband and his support system did a great job raising my baby in my absence. She was walking, talking, and loved books and the Shrek movie. Nonetheless, she was still my beautiful Baby Girl.

There is a lot of sacrifice involved with serving in the military, especially for Mothers Serving. There is a lot of discussion in society about balancing all the responsibilities we have as working women. We even discuss it in my book Camouflaged Sisters and on the latest episode of ‘In Session with the Camouflaged Sisters’ internet radio show. Balancing is a tough thing to do as a working mother or mother serving. Nonetheless, we do our best and enjoy all our many roles and responsibilities as women. I would even go as far as say the most rewarding title held is that of mother. The reward far outweighs the challenges or the sacrifices.

I wish all my #BattleBuddies and #CamouflagedSisters a wonderful Mother’s Day. And if you happen to be far away from your children, take a time-out and ponder over the memories, then smile and enjoy your day Mom!