Old Glory

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

A visit from our "Bonus Boys"

The guys from Chad's Battalion were released on June 3rd for post deployment leave.  Five of his closest friends decided to take a road trip to AR to see us before going to see their own families.  It was four Mairnes and two wives that made this trip to see us and then a fifth Marine came down from Missouri to join us on Sunday.  They drove 23 hrs from San Diego, CA to Bentonville, AR.  I thank their families from the bottom of my heart for allowing us to steal some of their family time when I know they were just itching to put their arms around their sons.  They arrived ahead of schedule (they tried to blame sweet little Ashley for speeding, but I'm pretty sure it was the boys)... :) arriving around 7:00 PM on Saturday night.  We had a great long weekend.  Tebo cooked for them and just catered to us all.  Thank you to my precious husband for that.  He was amazing.  My sister flew in from NC and my other sister and parents came over from OK to join us.  We just sat around and visited and let the guys just relax and do whatever they felt like doing.  It was wonderful.  On Monday Tebo and I took them to the cemetery so they could pay their last respects to Chad and it was the most tender time I've ever experienced.  They each had their chance to say good-bye and just loved on Tebo and I.  After their time there we went to eat lunch and Tebo took us all to Fast Lanes to ride go-carts and play laser tag.  So let me describe the fun we had.  First they road go-carts and I didn't drive the first time, because I wanted to take pictures (which didn't turn out so good since it was so dark, but I gave it a shot anyway).  They had so much fun, but all these Marines and Lindsey let the tiniest girl beat them!  You go Ashley!  Then we played laser tag.  I didn't intend to participate because I had never done it before, but Tebo convinced me to and it was more fun than I expected.  What was really fun is coming around a corner and hearing RoRo scream like a girl (sorry RoRo).  LOL!  Who knew I was so quiet?  Anyway, I don't know who (if anyone) I shot, but the cutest thing ever was not one of those Marines could shoot me.  Every time they would come up to me they would say, Oh sorry mom, and pull their laser guns back to their chests.  It was so sweet.  I did have to fuss at Zach because he kept running in front of my line of fire and I got tired of shooting him!  :) 
Monday evening Seth, Shawn, and Lindsey left to head to their families in OK.  Seth bought Chad's motorcycle so he road it over there and I have to say... as much as I hated that bike it was much harder to watch it drive away than I anticipated.  I couldn't imagine anyone else buying it though than Seth.  He just better be super careful or else!  Then Zach, Ashley, and RoRo stayed with us until early Wednesday morning.  We just hung out and had a good time.  I did get some one on one time with each of my bonus sons and we got to share our hearts and just make sure each other was okay and it was so needed by me for sure.  It was so hard to watch each of them leave, but that was me being selfish.  I just wanted to hang on to them as long as possible.  I know their families were glad to finally get their hands on them and I will forever be grateful for them giving up some of their own precious time they had with them for us. 
Once they left the reality sunk in that now I don't have an event or visit or ceremony to prepare for and look forward to.  Suddenly it became real and it scared me to death!  I'm so blessed to have my bonus kids from Tebo and will always have my Marine bonus kids and my husband and family and close friends, because they truly carry me through each day.  Most of them probably don't even realize how much they actually help me, but they do.  Just knowing they are there when I need them is enough.  I guess it's just time to start facing this awful truth and focus on our Wings for Our Troops foundation.  Once we purchase that first ticket for a Marine to go home will be a great day!  I can't wait.  This is us paying it forward and those will pay it forward and so on.  How wonderful is that?
Boys will be boys

Angelina, Butters, & Paige

Just chillin on the deck

Pretty sure she is telling big stories :)

Poor RoRo, they wouldn't leave him alone

It's go cart time (btw, Ashley won)

Hey Mom!

No Lindsey, you can't take the Jeep home

Just having fun

Me and two of my boys

Ashley & Paige

What a great night

Solving the world's problems

With friends like these they need no enemies (ha!)

Trying out his new bike...


  1. God Bless you and your family. It is wonderful to know that these Heroes will always be in your heart.

    From an Arkansas Army mom... Thank you for all that you do for our troops.

    aka Cavmom

  2. They truly always will be. Thank you.