Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

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Recruit Pick-Up Van, 1 June 2014  ©2014 Suzanne G. McClendon

1 June 2014

This big green van came to get our youngest son to take him to start his career with the US Marine Corps.   How can a heart be so proud and so devastated at the same time?  We stood in the driveway waiting for them to arrive to take away my very breath.

We took pictures.  We talked.  We all wanted to cry but were doing our best not to.  There are smiles on the faces of hearts breaking inside. We wanted a happy send off for the send off that we didn’t bargain for in the first place.

I wanted him to stay here, with me, where I could try to protect him.   He wanted to go, out there, where he could protect us.  All of us.  You and me and the other people of the world.  There’s nothing for young people here, no promise of a happy or successful future in a town full of drug dealers and convenience stores and not much else.  It was right that he should go.  But it is also right for me to want him here.

His life started off with me trying to keep him safe inside.  His head was born 20 times before I finally relented and let him be born.  I was too tired to fight the inevitable anymore.  I had to let him go then and I had to let him go now.   Into that big green van…the one that crushed my heart as it crushed the gravel beneath it when it took my breath away.





About Suzanne Gunter McClendon

I am a South Carolina native now living on the Texas Gulf Coast. I have been married to David for just over 33 years. We have 4 surviving adult children and two children-in-law. At this point in our lives, we are adjusting to an refilling nest. I enjoy reading, writing, photography, digital art, fiber arts, and much, much more.
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22 Responses to Not-So-Wordless Wednesday

  1. rosemawrites says:

    this is just… heartbreaking. 😦

    Liked by 3 people

  2. {{{Big Hugs}}}—let God control it now, you raised a good kid, Suzanne…smiles

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Suzanne, Oh, you poor dear! I just can’t imagine the hurt and pride you felt in those moments. I’m proud of your brave and marvelous son for wanting to keep America and her citizens safe. God bless him! My prayers will be with him every single day and for you guys, too. Thanks for sharing such a tender moment with me and for the link up today!

    Photo-editing flowers and mountains

    Liked by 2 people

  4. To be a mother is in truth “the hardest job you’ll ever love”. If we do it right, they leave us and go on to live the lives that were meant for them, but the love between you and him will be the tie that keeps him strong. We can all join you in praying for his safety! I’m sure he makes you very proud!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Oh yes, he most definitely does. 🙂

      For those at the beginning of motherhood, hoping for the terrible twos or whatever to be over with, thinking it gets better as they get older…it does not! I don’t have to change their diapers anymore, true, but the worries only get bigger as they get older. I will take dirty diapers and temper tantrums over an Uzi or a tank or a submarine any day!
      Thank you so much for the prayers. We appreciate them very much! Have a blessed day. 🙂


  5. Thank you for sharing this bittersweet post. Please tell your son that I thank him for his service, even as I wish it were never necessary for any young man or woman to be called to serve in this fashion. I send prayers for you both – and for his father as well.
    (Madelyn Griffith-Haynie – ADDandSoMuchMore dot com)
    – ADD Coach Training Field founder; ADD Coaching co-founder –
    “It takes a village to transform a world!”

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Madelyn. We appreciate the prayers very much. We’ll pass along your message.
      By the way, you and my mama have the same name, only hers is spelled Madeline. She was named for an older cousin and both of them were called “Mal” (my mama being called “Little Mal”.)
      Have a blessed day. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • I hopped over to read your husband’s blog and read the post about your “3-way” Senior Prom – lol. What a wonderful man to have agreed to escort you and your best friend – no wonder you decided to make a life with him.

        I doubt that anyone really thought anything kinky was happening – teen aged attempts at bravado can be cruel, but I doubt they really intended cruelty. At least I hope not. I have sympathy for the insecurity of some of the girls who couldn’t understand why you’d want to extend the experience to your best friend. In any case, it sounds like the three of you had a wonderful time.

        The spelling of my name was my mother’s idea – in case I grew up to hate my name, she figured I could always truncate to “Lyn.” Since we moved practically every year of my life and I was always “the new kid” (Air Force – never on base), I figured I’d try it out for a year when we moved to Fairfax, VA. (beltway D.C.)

        Wouldn’t you just know that THIS assignment was much longer term (Congressional liaison). Until I went away to college I was stuck with a nickname I quickly discovered I didn’t like at all, afraid of how I would be perceived if I attempted to change my name BACK.

        To this day I don’t like anyone aiming a nickname my way.


        Liked by 1 person

        • We did have a fun time. He danced the slow dances with me outside the main dance room and the fast ones with her in the main room. It worked. I am painfully shy.
          The kids that I went to school with were very cruel to me throughout the five years I was in that school district (8th grade in middle school and 9-12th for high school). Torment would be a good word to describe what they spent their days doing to me and my brothers.
          It sounds like your mama thought things out. I’m sorry that you didn’t like “Lyn”. Did she give you a middle name? My sister and I did not have middle names. Mama figured that when we got married, our maiden name would become our middle name and that four names would be too much. I overcompensated with our surviving daughters. The each have 4 names (including the surname).
          Aside from starting out in first grade, I have only been the new kid twice. I changed school districts for 7th grade to avoid a dangerous situation. Then, my family moved in time for me to be the new kid in 8th grade. 7th grade was emotionally easier than 8th grade. I was in 7th grade in a private Christian school that did not tolerate meanness. My last school district seemed to thrive on meanness. Even some of the teachers tormented me, one pulling his chair up to my desk and making kissing faces at me, causing the whole class to laugh at me. I was humiliated and angry. But, that’s another story and a long time ago.
          Have a blessed day.

          Liked by 1 person

          • Few things get my dander up faster than bully behavior – even as a kid I stuck up for underdogs. It makes me furious to even read about an incident years ago. I want to grab that teacher by the ear and haul him or her into the principal’s office! (see what I mean? 🙂 )

            Teachers who tolerate bullies – and ESPECIALLY those who promote humiliation by engaging in it – need to be called out publicly, IMHO, and fired in extreme cases like the one you experienced. I’m so sorry you had to endure their cruel behavior for so long. Today, that kissing face behavior might even be considered inappropriate sexual behavior – and that particular “adult” bully could even be brought up on charges for it. I expect better from 10 year olds!

            I compensated for always being the new girl with a ready sense of self-deprecating humor, and developed an extremely outgoing facade. Most of my teachers were kind & supportive, and usually seemed fond of me – only one ever picked on me (and only one other teacher knew how mortified I was by her behavior – thank God for him, his kind understanding and his perspective). This Miss Wigand taught algebra and wore T-strap shoes, and I can’t stand either of those things to this day! Cruelty of any kind always leaves scars.

            Nope – no middle name – my Mom and yours had the same rationale (although perhaps they thought better of it once my late sister was born. She did have one). My own long story is the genesis of my hyphenated last name – but compensating for a lack of a middle name was never part of it.


            Liked by 1 person

          • This teacher was a man and my Government teacher. Maybe he is why I hate politics so much. One of my cousins said that he inappropriately touched her. She supposedly reported it, but nothing came of it. He’s dead now. I don’t know how he died, but I like to think some mad daddy got a hold of him. These things and others in that school district anger me to this day, too. I am glad that you understand. I am sorry that you had one that picked on you. I never liked Algebra either, but at least my Algebra teacher was a nice man. 🙂
            How did you develop an outgoing facade? No matter what I try, I end up slinking back into the corner hoping to be invisible. They always found me. I don’t like being shy, but I can’t seem to break out of it. I feel too vulnerable and exposed when I try to be outgoing.
            I am sorry that you have lost your sister. 😦 Are you glad that you didn’t have a middle name? The lack of one always got me teased. Nobody believed that I didn’t have a middle name. They thought that it must be so horrible that I was too embarrassed to tell them, so they teased me for that, too. There was no winning with that group!

            Liked by 1 person

          • SHAME on your school district for not investigating that teacher at the very least! (and I rarely use that “S” word)

            As a card-carrying member of the ADD club, I was probably born more outgoing than you seem to be – and a natural actress (my first career, btw). I just forced myself to use it to my advantage in new situations to keep from being lonely and miserable for my entire childhood. You have found a way to be forthcoming on your blog. Maybe that’s your way of connecting.

            My advice? Stop trying to be outgoing and embrace who you are. In public, try to think of yourself as reserved or private rather than shy, since you already seem to have a negative association to that word. I’ll bet your intimacy skills are far superior to mine – significantly better than most of us who seem to be most comfortable “playing to a crowd.” We’re shy in our own “safety in numbers” ways.

            I have also noticed that there is rarely only one reserved individual in any “crowd.” Perhaps you could reach out to another person who seems to be “slinking back into a corner trying to be invisible” – like with a brief comment such as, “You don’t seem to like crowds any better than I do.” I’ll bet they’ll respond gratefully to kindness and support. Don’t you? There’s nothing wrong with admitting that you are uncomfortable in crowds to anyone who “finds” you. If they make fun of you for that, say OUCH (aloud – straight at ’em) and move on.

            In any case, relax into your spectator status – as the song says, “How can they have a parade without a crowd?” Who says everybody is supposed to be outgoing anyway? I’ll bet God made you the way you are for a reason. He loves ALL of His children – and seems to be especially fond of the “meek.”

            PS. Thanks – I’m sorry you lost your daughters too.

            Liked by 1 person

          • Thank you for your understanding and compassion on all of these matters. I have tried to have my granny’s “to heck with them” attitude and it works for awhile, but then the old me comes back. It is difficult to embrace who I am and accepting of myself when there has been so much negativity cast at me from the get-go. I don’t know how to erase the “you are nothing” tapes. I know that Heavenly Father set my value when He sent His Son to die for me. He said I was worth it. But, it is humans that I have to live with on this earth and they are the ones reinforcing the “nothingness”.
            I will try to remember your suggestion of “reserved and private” instead of the word “shy”.
            I think you are right, at least in most instances, of the other shy person being happy that someone noticed. But, if they are like me (and it depends on the situation) they might would rather that I let them be invisible, too.
            I like what you said about the parades and crowd. Very true! Not everyone can be in the parade and there has to be someone for them to parade in front of. Just leave out the clowns. They are evil. 🙂
            I know that He made me for a reason, but here lately, I have been questioning a lot what that reason is.
            David and I are complete opposites. He doesn’t mind putting on a show for people. I’d rather hide behind the curtain. 🙂
            Thank you. We have had several miscarriages and our 2nd daughter was stillborn. The other two have now made it to adulthood as have two sons. We are blessed here and have angel babies awaiting us in Heaven. Nothing can ever harm our angel babies or bring them sadness. They never have to doubt love or motives or anything of that nature. They are happy and healthy. I wanted all of my babies, but I know those waiting for me up there have it better than those here on this earth.
            Thank you for everything. I appreciate it. Have a wonderful weekend. 🙂


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