Proud Military Mom

I wrote this article a few years ago, and it was originally published in the Detroit Free Press Twist Magazine on November 10, 2007. Earlier this week, one of our youngest son’s friends left for the U.S. Air Force-BMT. Late last year, the daughter of another family we know enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. To these young people – thank you! And to the military moms and dads, we are here for you!

Proud military mom – BY LYNNE COBB

Last Veterans Day, Lynne Cobb wrote about having her husband away at war in Iraq. This year, Lynne tells us about the mixed emotions of her son joining the military. This is her story.

Labor Day weekend, as many parents were packing up their kids and sending them to college, I watched my oldest son, David, scrutinize his very short list and place his few authorized belongings into a nondescript duffle bag. No microwaves or futons going with him. He was off to U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT).

BMT is a whole new world. Your child leaves with one bag — no computer, no cell phone — no texting, instant messaging or calling. You do not get to talk to your child until he or she has the opportunity to call you. The first call will be about two minutes — enough for you to get an address. Mail service is slow. I found the lack of communication to be unnerving. Not quite a year since his dad’s return from Iraq, my son was off and running on a new adventure. Excitement and apprehension ran high for the family. I wrestled my emotions — pride, fear and the realization that our family would never be the same.

As the weeks of training continued, I found myself wondering what was more difficult — being a military wife or being a military mom and sending my son to training and possibly war. The first few days of my son’s departure, I was in tears. When I went two days without crying, I felt I had made progress. There were days I would hear his favorite song and smile; other days that song would reduce me to tears. I’d see his truck parked outside and think, “He’s home,” only to realize a split-second later that, no, he really wasn’t.


I never realized just how much I’d miss him, that the ache would be so intense. It was like an emotional replay of my husband’s deployment. And, as with that deployment, my emotions ran the gambit between pride, lonely emptiness and worry. The emotional parallel is nearly identical, though I felt the need to go and rescue my son.

My husband has been supportive of my mixed bag of feelings. There is great comfort in having such a close source to answer my questions. We joke as to whom I should root for during the Army-Air Force football game.

My husband and I were blessed to be at our son’s graduation from BMT. It was an experience we’ll never forget and an event I wish every American could witness. To see almost 1,000 recruits graduate and take the oath to defend our nation is a moment I’ll never forget. While hearing the national anthem, seeing the U.S. flag as well as the flags of the 50 states and U.S. territories waving in the warm Texas breeze was a sight to behold. Not only was I a proud mother, but a proud American.

I am so very proud of the decision my son made to serve our nation. I am humbled by, and I thank, those who have made the same decision, and for those who will do the same. I thank the parents who supported their child’s decision.

No matter what the future holds, with faith and prayer, we will survive the miles between us, wherever he may be called to serve.

Are you a military mom? Have you experienced sending your child off to boot camp? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments section. And again, thank you for service as a military family!

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

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Opening my mouth by closing my wallet

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“Vulgarity begins when imagination succumbs to the explicit.” – Doris Day

You know, I didn’t want to be another commentator on the recent MTV Video Music Awards show, and yet, here I am, typing away from my little corner of the world. Since I can’t watch the news without being constantly reminded of this ridiculous dance routine, I just can’t stop thinking about how disgusted I am with the vile performance by Miley Cyrus, Robin Thicke, and all those involved in such a complete display of vulgarity.

Maybe I have just reached the end of my proverbial rope with the shock-pop culture and the double standard of it all. Everyone is quick to jump on the bandwagon and wag their fingers at Ms. Cyrus, but that is really unfair.

Most likely, some smooth-talking producer was stroking this young lady’s ego, promising her the moon and the stars, fame and fortune. And let’s not forget, there was a married man on stage, singing as she was twerking, back-up singers and dancers who were just as vulgar, and many folks behind the scenes. Sure, she could have said “no” to the pornographic performance. But she didn’t, as she, like many other young ladies, can’t seem to shake the “Miss Goody Two-Shoes” image fast enough.

But why? When did being a good person with decent morals and values become such a bad thing?

We can sit and blame her parents, the media, the music industry, the choreographers and a litany of others, but really, if we are going to be honest, we need to take a harsh look at the image in the mirror and put the blame where it belongs – on ourselves.

For decades, we have watched the erosion, as television, Madison Avenue and the music industry have added an edge to sitcoms, movies, videos, reality shows, commercials and the Super Bowl half-time shows. On the slippery slope of being edgy, each performer or commercial has to one-up themselves for the next round. And yet, we keep watching these shows and videos, and purchasing their music and products.

Look at the Herbal Essence commercials, where the gorgeous model with a magnificent mane of hair is having an orgasmic experience in the bathroom of an airplane (I mean, really? You can hardly turn to flush in one of those insanely small flying-port-a-potties, let alone wash one’s hair. But I digress…) And let’s not forget the big-chested, bronzed-up model seductively eating burgers and fish sandwiches during last year’s Super Bowl commercials, or the insanely provocative commercials promoting a Website hosting service…the list is endless.

Seriously, when one needs to sell talent, a product or performance with a large set of breasts, six-pack abs, heavy breathing or twerking, there must be no other value in said object.

Reality shows? Don’t get me started! We watch as babies are paraded around in beauty pageants and dance shows. What message are we sending little girls? And let’s face it, those are little girls that are being made-up in make-up. They are being sexualized for what? Potential scholarship money? A shot at stardom? A mansion?

If these little ones do get a shot at stardom, then what? We watch the train wreck that becomes their lives after their 15 minutes of fame ceases, or their first pimple appears? Then we read about their drug addictions? Or tabloid stories about who they are sleeping with? Or their stints in rehab, so they can be demoralized and humiliated by late-night comedians?

And yet, we continue to watch these shows, buy these products, and go along our merry way, until one of these child stars grows up, gets outrageous – either onstage or off – and we get all holier-than-thou and judgmental. We’ll drag his or her name through the mud for a few days, until the next child-star-gone-wild makes headlines.

And then, we will go through this insane charade again.

If, in fact, we are tired of this, and we are concerned about these kids as well as our own kids who are watching this disturbing trend in our society, then we, as parents, need to band together and make it stop.

How? Let’s hit the television and video producers and marketers in their wallets by keeping our pocketbooks closed. If they really think we are going to continue to allow them to line their pockets at the expense of our children and our society as a whole, they are wrong. If we demand something better, then they will have to deliver something better. Until then, they will continue to pump vulgarity into every aspect of our lives, because by our actions, and by our not taking a stand for decency, we allow them to deliver filth.

What do you think? Let me know in the comment section.

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

 

 

 

The World’s Most Beautiful Woman and the Sexiest Man – um, no

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“Sometimes people are beautiful.
Not in looks.
Not in what they say.
Just in what they are.” – Markus Zusak

A few weeks ago, I watched the Dove Real Beauty Sketches video, (httpssss://www.youtube.com/watch?v=litXW91UauE&feature=youtube_gdata_player). This is pretty profound, as a sketch artist draws women based on how they describe themselves. Not surprising, the women are very critical of their own looks, and really don’t see themselves as others see them.

So this morning, while on Facebook, I saw the Dove Sketch once again. I scrolled further and learned that a Hollywood actress has been named by People Magazine as “The World’s Most Beautiful Woman.” I am not naming her, as this commentary isn’t about her at all.

It is about the wrong messages we continue to pump out to our children and teenagers.

I guess I am just reveling in the irony.

We tell our little children that beauty is skin deep, and it is what is on the inside that really counts. And I believe that. I believe that the more beautiful and confident you are in yourself, the more your beauty is projected to the world in through your actions, your smiles, your attitude, your eyes. It has nothing to do with the size of your nose, the space in your teeth, the color of your hair or the size of your chest.

Beauty lies deep within your soul.

So, just how does an actress get to be the “Most Beautiful in the World?” Or, for that matter, what makes an actor the “Sexiest Man Alive?” Let’s face it. Physically, if I had a trainer, a personal chef, a make-up artist, a clothing coordinator, etc., I, too, would have a shot at being the most beautiful woman in the world.

I guess my “most beautiful person” check list is different from a magazine’s, or society’s in general. Especially when the person is given the additional “Of the World” title.

I define beauty in many ways:

Beauty is: staying up all night with a sick baby, a distressed friend, a dying parent or grandparent, a stressed-out spouse. Beauty is seeing a child pick a dandelion and run to give it to mommy. (Have you ever seen the look on a mom’s face? Or the child’s? Watch it – that is beauty!)

Beauty is seeing your husband hold that baby in his arms the first time.

Beauty is celebrating someone’s accomplishments even when your efforts have failed.

Beauty is watching your sons and nephews cry at their grandfather’s funeral.

Beauty, in my opinion, is character.

My thoughts are the same about the “Sexiest Man Alive.

To me, sexy is also character. How does a man treat a woman, or a woman treat a man? With respect? I have heard beautiful men and women chastise, curse and otherwise “be ugly” to their significant other. In public! I’m thinking that isn’t too “hot” or sexy…

Sexy is confidence, without hanging the goods out for all to see (yes, this applies to men and women…)

Sexy is respecting one’s body, as well as others.

Sexy is character.

I know these magazines name the Hollywood types “most beautiful” and “most sexy” to sell more product. I get it. But the problem is, we are sending mixed messages to our kids. We celebrate exterior beauty by placing these folks on the covers of magazines, in centerfolds, on the big screen and so forth.

It would be so refreshing to see someone on the cover of People Magazine who was being honored for character.

Maybe that would help send the message to our kids that character counts. That being beautiful and sexy is only as good as what is on the inside.

It’s not just a few exterior assets that make one beautiful or sexy. It’s the whole package.

What are your thoughts? Do think we emphasize physical beauty more than we should?

© Lynne Cobb – 2013

Being a guest blogger!

Very excited to announce that I was a guest blogger on “The Your Resume Consultant Blog.” 

Here’s a link to the post!

httpsss://blog.yourresumeconsultant.com/?p=401

Thanks for taking a moment to read about another trip down memory lane!

The Mom Who Cried, “Pizza!”

“If you want to recapture your youth, just cut off his allowance.”  Al Bernstein

What started out as a little joke was rather revealing. Now, to preface all of this, I’m a mom of four, two of which are out the door and married; and two teens who are still at home.

It’s an awesome time, in their lives and mine. And I do mean that! It is a time of tremendous growth for the kids, and, at the same time, it is a time where a tremendous number of gray hairs grow on my head. There are plenty of stressful issues: driver’s training and sports injuries and teenage angst and such. But there is a lot of fun, and joy, too, in watching my teens turn into young adults.

We teach each other lots of things. I have shown them how a washing machine and a vacuum cleaner work. They patiently work with me on new technology, like how to use my cell phone. And how to Twitter. Plus, I’ve had some real deep conversations via text, too. So it’s all good. But I’d be lying if I said I didn’t miss them all being little, home around the dinner table and tucked into bed by 8 p.m. each night.

This summer is giving me a peek into the future. Between their work, social, and – dare I say – sleep schedules, I don’t see them much. My husband and I are getting used to dinner for two. Come fall, when they are back to school and on a schedule, I’ll see more of them, I’m sure.

So… here’s my weekend faux pax using texting: purely by accident, I found a sure-fire way to get a teen home for dinner.

Picture this: a wonderful dinner of barbecued pork-chops, seasoned grilled potatoes, fresh pineapple slices and veggies was being served at 6:45 p.m. One teen was at work, so I sent the obligatory text to the other available teen. And here’s how it went:

Me: “Will you be home for dinner?”

Teen: “Doubt it. What are we having anyway?”

Me: “Pizza.”

Me: “But does it matter, you aren’t going to be here anyway.”

Me: “Oops – I mixed up the “P” meal…it’s Porkchops, Potato, Pineapple.”

And that was it. No reply at all to any of my texts.

It looked like another quiet dinner for two.

But in what seemed like seconds, here is my beautiful teenage daughter, in person, at the table.

Teen: “Where’ the pizza?”

Me: “Didn’t you get my texts? I was joking.”

Teen: “No, I was riding my bike home. I can’t believe you did that. M-o-o-o-o-om! I could have had pizza with my friends! That’s what they were having!”

She said it laughingly, not appreciating the joke but totally appreciating knowing that her presence is missed at the dinner table.

Since she is a whiz on her phone, without ever missing a text, I never dreamed she’d read “pizza,” shove her phone in her bag, jump on the bike and head home without a text response like, “Pizza? Really? Awesome! Can my friends come, too?”

Wow – I totally underestimated the power of pizza.

Seriously, she really was a good sport about the whole incident, but I wouldn’t dare do that again.

I could get the reputation of “crying pizza.”

So the next time she texts, “what’s for dinner,” I’ll text back, “Chinese food.”

She likes almond boneless chicken as much as pizza…

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb

This one’s for you, Dad

There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens… Ecclesiastes 3:1

My favorite time of year is upon us. School is starting to wind down, the weather has been spectacular, and the strawberries are beginning to ripen. Those beauties in the photo came from my yard!

A few years ago, I bought four little strawberry plants. Because I really have no idea what I am doing in the yard, I planted the them behind the garage. Apparently, there are better ways to boost one’s harvest if you just, um, do the research. But even with my mix-up, the plants are taking over that patch of ground and we are getting some decent-sized berries, which are absolutely delicious!

June has always been one of my favorite months, and one of the main reasons: strawberries. For me, just going to our local farmers’ market is like visiting a small space in heaven.

Growing up, these little tastes of heaven were a mainstay in our home. With Father’s Day and my dad’s birthday about a week apart, it was a sure guarantee that something bearing strawberries would be on the menu.

Our family has a rough stretch to get through in the very near future. This will be our first Father’s Day without Dad. On June 25, he would have been 77. And just a few weeks after that will mark the one-year anniversary of his death.

It hasn’t been easy, and I imagine it won’t be easy in the weeks to come. I seek comfort in prayer, in my family and friends. I look for joy in the little things – my granddaughters’ laughter, a pathetically bad joke, a sunny day, flowers in bloom.

I found joy in the warmth of a beautiful and sunny day in May, picking the first two berries of the season, smiling at the little miracles in my hand: from the frozen ground to the leaves pushing through the damp earth, to the pretty blossoms to the berries in my grasp. Life, indeed, goes on.

So, Dad, here’s to you! I will consume as many as possible in your memory

… a time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance. Ecc. 3:4

© 2012 – Lynne Cobb