As many parents do I made mistakes in my parenting. Sometimes to harsh and other times to lax. I would try to teach him right from wrong, pray for his heart to be protected and not to be broken. Sometimes we put them a bubble and then other times let them out of the bubble to learn some hard lessons. It doesn't matter how hard you try, what you do you can't always protect them. No matter what the circumstances if he did good or bad, if he was happy or sad I always wanted him to know that we loved him no matter what. He truly was the best kid anyone could ask for. He always minded when he was younger. We made it through elementary with no real big problems. We made it through middle school, with the acne, heartbreak from girls, not understanding what the teachers were explaining, but again with no major incidents. We then hit high school and I fully prepared myself for anything that would come our way. We had more heartbreaks from girls, same thing with each teacher doesn't know what they are doing says the teenager but he started JRROTC and he excelled at it. We moved 6 times during his school years. He would start his junior year at Choctaw High School in Oklahoma and would continue ROTC. Like I said he excelled in it. Probably because the "military" lifestyle is what he knew. Having a uniform around him was a normal everyday attire to him since his dad was in the military. He graduated in 2011 and there is was....we made it through high school without any major incidents. I wondered how in the world did we get this lucky lol.
In August of 2011, Jay and I drove our only child to Norman, Oklahoma to attend OU where he had chose to do AF ROTC. Oh my gosh I remember how my heart broke the day he drove off for the last time to start college and we had orders to move to the opposite sign of what felt like the world to Washington DC. When he drove out of sight I remember my knees buckling and sitting on the sidewalk so incredibly heartbroken and sobbing so hard that my baby boy was grown up and leaving the nest. As I type this, that emotion comes flooding back, if you are a parent that has had a kid leave the nest you know exactly what I am talking about. For 18 years, I kept that promise to God the best I could as a human with flaws, to protect him, to fight for him, and raise him to be a God fearing kid, husband and father one day. In a matter of driving across the Oklahoma state line in our move I felt like I could know longer physically protect him. Where would he go when he was upset, who would he have to comfort him, how would he cook for himself and how would he survive. I look back and think we have all had to make that move on our own but it is different when it is your kid. This world is a hard in this day and age. Before we knew it four years flew by and we made it through college with no major incidents. Matter of fact that boy made the dean's lists most of his semesters and graduated with honors.
On May 8th, our son Hunter, was commissioned as 2 Lieutenant Kalin into the United States Air Force as a Logistics officer, following in the footsteps of a wonderful example he has in his father. The next day on May 9th he graduated from college with a Business degree. On October 5th, 2016, my once little baby boy that fought for his life, his healing was prayed for by many, who has one amazing heart, was at his first duty station and officially on his first day of work. Like so many milestones before I was so blessed to take that cross country trip with him to his first base. I remember getting up in the TLF (base hotel) cooking him breakfast and hugging him to send him off on his first day of work. As I watched him drive off through the window I broke into tears....there I was again, sending my now older boy in to the real world to start his own life. This time is was for real. It was not college where he could come home every Christmas break, summers etc but truly into the real world. This is where my son would start his chapter in this thing called real life. As I reflected that morning on moments as he grew up, my heart was truly feeling so many emotions all at one. I thought of so many milestones and moments while he was growing up. I laughed, I cried, I took a sigh of relief that we made it this far (he turned out pretty good lol) and then I cried tears of gratefulness to God. My heart felt so much pride that God chose and allowed Jay and I to raise him. The boy that was born so many years ago very sick had turned into the most wonderful young man that a mom and dad are so incredibly proud of.
Like so many of us he has walked through love and been broken hearted. He has seen how hard work pays off. He has seen how his parents tried to parent the best way we knew how. My prayer is that he can see how much God loves you, to seek him first always and how thankful we are to God that we were chosen to be his parents. He may not just be in the next room anymore, he may not be just a drive away, he may not be my little boy physically anymore but in this mom's heart he will always, always, always be my sweet baby boy.
23 years ago at 9:03 am you stole my heart......23 years later you still have this mom wrapped around your finger and always will. Hunter, I love you and to say that I loved you to the moon and back doesn't seem enough. In the famous words of Buzz Lightyear....I love you "to infinity and beyond."
Happy Birthday to the most handsome, funniest, wittiest, kind hearted son that a mom and dad could ask for. We love you to infinity and beyond, forever and always!!!!