31 Letters to My Mother {Day 20} Your baby is a Solider, Part II

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Good Morning Mom,

Well I promised you that I would write all about graduation day so here I am, true to my word.

Caedmon woke me up early and then Noelle followed shortly thereafter.  The kids and me headed down to the hotel lobby for breakfast.  They charmed the ladies serving breakfast. Noelle pretended her apple was a camera and proceeded to take pictures of everyone in the room.

After that we all got a little crabby as we rushed around to get ready and pack out of our hotel room.  It’s amazing to me how quickly our family of 4 can scatter random stuff to every corner.

We finally got loaded up and arrived at the theater where graduation was to take place.  There was a line out the door, so many people, all there for the same reason, all shoving each other for a good seat.  Herding my kids through a crazy crowd is a sure fire to give me a panic attack.  Add in the emotions of the day and you’ll get an idea of how I felt as we took our seats.

I don’t think any of us knew what to expect or how to feel. Proud? Yes! Afraid? Yup, this is the military after all, a world I am just not accustomed to.  A group I appreciate with a language and culture I truly don’t understand.

When we entered the auditorium all the graduates were sitting in the center of the theater in their dress blues,  Starting straight ahead, expressionless, serious, ready.  I stood in awe.

The ceremony moved slowly, and the kids didn’t do well.  Caedmon threw his mamake over the balcony and it landed on some lady’s head.  She did not find it cute, I hurried down to retrieve him, mortified.  Eventually Kel had to take them out and he missed the whole thing.

The highlight of the ceremony was when each graduate marched forward, recited their name and hometown and shook hands with the upper ranking individuals on stage.

 I was looking down at my program, distracted, when I heard it.

Private Brian Verkaik, Hudsonville, MI.

His voice, the one on the other end of the line, the face on the other end of skype, the little boy I grew up with, fought with over the last piece of apple crisp, felt called to protect, there he was marching across the stage vowing to protect us all.

Now he’s off to learn how to guide soldiers who emerge from battle emotionally scarred.  He’s using our family story in a new and unique way in hopes that many families can be spared the loss of a loved one from mental decline.

Mom, we’re both dedicated to see our story redeemed, I write and connect across miles with the hurting.  He will sit across the room from them to heal the wounds of battle. Something I can’t pretend to understand.

Here we are, your kids, praying that God restores and redeems our painful past.

I wish you and Dad were here to see it,

I love you, I miss you,


  • http://h2ochurch.tv Pam Worcester

    This blog has me in tears because as a mom, there are some things I can’t help Adam deal with after his tours in Iraq & Afghanistan. As a mom, it’s a helpless feeling not knowing how to nurture a son who has experienced what no one should experience while on the battlefield. So I have to trust others to help him deal with those emotions and scars that no one can see. So it makes my heart a little lighter knowing people who have experienced things like Brian has in his life – things no one should have to experience while in real life – are dedicated to helping our military deal with the emotional wounds of battle. Thank you, Brian, from a mom whom you’ve never met, but appreciates your service!

    • http://leannepenny.wordpress.com leannepenny

      I’ll make sure he reads this Pam, emailing it to him now. Thank you!