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Soldier Mom
Soldier Mom Enjoys Special Mother's Day
Sees Maturity Military Service Has Sparked in Her Son
By TRACEY CALDWELL 05/16/2007 7:03 PM ET
I got to spend Mother's Day with my son, and then one day later, his mid-deployment leave over, he left for Iraq again.

We enjoyed a nice Mother's Day. We ate brunch with my mother at her nursing home, and the smile on her face at seeing her grandson was wonderful. She excitedly showed him off to all her friends.

My son had brought a "swim noodle" with him. Cutting it into pieces, he skillfully fashioned them into a more comfortable armrest for my mother's wheelchair. Several of the residents came over to admire his handiwork. I guessed that kind of creative ingenuity develops when one lives in a war zone.

His two-week leave went by way too fast, with too many people to visit and too much shopping to do. While we didn't have enough time to do everything we had planned, we did do much.

My daughter is a photographer in a portrait studio. She got him into her studio and took new pictures of him--something we do every time he comes home, just in case we never get the chance again.

His sister also dragged him over to see her new apartment. For the first time in her life, she lives by herself in her own little studio apartment, and was eager to get advice from her brother on how to make everything fit in the tiny space. Six years of military living has made him somewhat of an expert on living in tight quarters.

My son, being the computer geek of the family, found everyone he visited had something they wanted him to do on their computer. As he explained how to do different things, I saw a confidence in my son that he didn't have when he was younger.

He is twenty-seven years old now, no longer a kid. The man he is today is the result of life in the military. Most of the changes I see in him are for the better. Confident and resourceful, he has the tools he needs to go wherever his life might take him. But now it takes him back to Iraq--life in a war zone.

After putting back on the uniform he had arrived in, he gave me hug and said goodbye.

Then he was gone.

He should arrive in Kuwait sometime today. I don't know how long he will be there before he goes back into Iraq, and won't know until he has opportunity to email me and let me know he arrived safely.

Life now goes back to what has become normal for my family. My son lives in a distant land under an omnipresent threat of violence, trying to perform the job his country has asked of him. All I do is wait--fearing each knock on the door and ring of the phone, scouring the news for every tidbit on Iraq.

I wait to hear from him that he is safe.

Tracey-Kay Caldwell is the mother of a soldier, Democratic Party Editor of, and a freelance writer. She can be reached at


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