With Mother's Day around the corner, I thought I'd share my wish list so you know what I want. It's a simple list, really. Even if Daddy isn't here to help you pick out a gift, or even if you feel bad if your teacher didn't let you make a card for me, it's going to be okay. There are better things you can give me.
Here is what I really want:
I want you to be the best person you can be, whatever (and wherever) that may be.
I want you to remember that every time Daddy has been gone, you were first and foremost on both our minds.
I hope you will serve others, just as we have done. You don't have to serve our country like Daddy did, but promise me you will do it in some small way. Start with your family and build up from there.
I want you to be yourself, as long as you aren't a jerk. Just because someone was a jerk to you doesn't mean you get to do it too. This world doesn't have room for more jerks. Daddy and I have enough of them to deal with as it is.
Your life in the military teaches you resiliency. Teach it to others. It's a gift that you can give to everyone, at any time and in any place.
Being nice is contagious. Help spread it to others.
I want you to ask for help when you need it. We all need our turn doing it.
Offer help when others need it. They need their turn too.
Travel the world more than you have already done. It's a big world and you are a small part of it. It needs you.
When Mom is sad, it's not your fault. I often miss your Daddy. Just like you do. It's okay to be sad sometimes.
Sometimes I am our Commander in Chief. Sometimes Daddy is. Either way, you are always an important part of our team.
I want you to play nicely with others. I know we have to move a lot, but this is your key to making new friends.
I want you to respect everyone's right to be who they are. The more you do it, the more others will do the same thing for you.
There is no one else like you. You aren't expected to be perfect. You are awesome just the way you are. Remember that.
Be interested in others, more than you are about yourself. Let others be awesome too.
Sometimes you have to be the leader and walk point on a mission. Sometimes you have to take orders and follow. Learn how to do this in every situation. (HINT: Sometimes you have to do both!)
Rules are in place to be followed. Rules are also in place to be changed for the better. The only way to change the rules is to follow them in the first place.
I want you to know deep down inside that your Daddy and I will lay our lives down for you. That's a promise Daddy made not only to you but the rest of our country. You are the reason we make that promise together.
Daddy is a hero. You are my hero too. Remember that.
I want you to remember that even when bad things happen, you are still the luckiest person in the world. You may not feel it all the time, but you will feel lucky eventually. Let yourself feel it when it happens.
Sometimes Daddy comes back different than when you last saw him. The good news is, his love for you gets stronger every day. That's the most important change you need to remember.
Sometimes we have to fly information. Remember that you can count on me to lead the way.
Be good to yourself. Relax and slow down when your tummy says things aren't right. Even better, tell me when you need to do it the most.
Weapons are more than just machine guns. Don't use your words as weapons.
It's okay to be angry. Just make sure you use the most honest words you can find when it happens.
Life can be really hard sometimes. The good news is your life in the military will prepare you and it will get easier with time. Hang in there.
Let yourself be happy. If you aren't feeling happy, make it your mission to find it.
Be helpful. I need your help sometimes. I always appreciate it.
Most importantly, I want you to know I love you even if you hate me the most. I always will.
See? It's a simple list. I have faith you can do it.
You are the most amazing Mother's Day gift I could ask for. Please remember that.
Torrey is the wife of a wounded veteran and Blue Star Mom. You can learn more about Torrey by visiting her blog at TorreyShannon.com. You can also follow her on Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest.