When he first joined the Army...he looks so much younger in this picture.
Mr. Cool Ben holding Jonathan
This was the Christmas before Charlotte Claire was born, when we had fourteen kids. Benjamin was 17 and had some curls going on. (wasn't Jonathan cute?)
Little Aaron, Joseph, and big brother Benjamin. Trouble, oh they were something...
Visiting me in the hospital after Margaret was born, Mr. Ben had just turned 8 the month before...
Emily 12, Abigail 10, Benjamin 8, then Mirielle 7, Joseph 6, and Aaron 4, then Mali 3 and Sam 2, then baby Margaret...
Benjy was around 8 here, with Sammy.
Benjamin Bunny didn't actually vacuum when he was that young, but by the time he was three he did. He was always so energetic.
I knew the time would come for him to leave, but the military has done what it does best, change the game. Two times, he has learned he is leaving earlier than he thought. He gets his weapon issued tonight, departure tomorrow. He has been gone from home, all grown up in the Army, for well over a year. But this new thing, this going to Afghanistan, is different. I knew he was going there, but it sneaked up on me. I knew he was going, but I didn't fully understand how I would FEEL about it. He is all grown up now, but he is still my little guy. Years fly by, but to a mom, years are just numbers, those memories of our kids when they are little can't possibly be of things that happened so long ago, they are so fresh and vivid. I am not afraid for him, really, because I know God will watch over him. But that knowledge is like everything else, subject to temptations of thoughts of horrible things happening. And it didn't help that he called me a little while ago and explained that if anything happens to him, official Army guys will come to the house...basically, don't believe anything I might read on facebook or anything else. I asked him not to tell me this right now, I was seriously going to lose it. But he said stranger things have happened, and sick people have tricked families. blah. So my boy, my 6 pound 3 ounce baby, is all grown up and going to war.