A boy who loved Barney


When Nate was a wee lad, he loved Barney and guns. That is an odd combination if you ask me. Barney is creepy and I am not a gun person. Things that explode or shoot scare me more than a huge purple dinosaurs.  

I love the skinned knee, he was so proud of himself
for being on top of a mountain. Holding a plastic airplane
feeling like a tough guy, Nate is truly a gift from God. 

As a young mom, I remember saying, “Nate, you can’t have a gun and I don’t want you playing guns or anything like that.” I tried desperately to cull his firearm fascination but to no avail. One day, Nate, being a obedient and resourceful boy, found a way to satisfy both his mama’s request and his personal interest. Astonished, I watched him take a bite off the corner of his peanut butter sandwich (with NO jelly!) and turn the sandwich to the side. He then placed his finger in the sandwich trigger and pulled the “switch” directly in the air. 

Should I then be surprised that this child would decide to become a cadet at the United States Military Academy? What’s a mama to do?

Nate is a man’s man there’s no denying it!

I’m learning albeit sometimes begrudgingly to mean what I say when I tell my boys that I want them to live THEIR lives. Even if it means they do things that are dangerous or far away, they are entitled to go where they want to go, do what they feel called to do as long as it’s pleasing to the Lord. As my OSs get older, this proves challenging because their decisions are significant. My middle OS feels called to the ministry, he’s going to school far away to Chicago; the orange hair freckle face OS is only 15 and not sure of his destiny. Alas the oldest is a Soldier and I’m discovering truly putting personal interests aside is much harder.    

Watching my son march by me on R-Day
was far more intense than I could
have anticipated and trust me,
I anticipated it being very difficult. 
Next Saturday, the journey to and through West Point will be complete.  (Insert deep breath) My oldest OS will graduate from USMA. The sweet spot I have enjoyed, being part of the Long Grey Line but not having to think about him actually going in harm’s way will be over. The next journey as a military mom starts. Things feel surreal and overwhelming. With that in mind, it’s no surprise that when the Hubs said he wanted to buy a shotgun for our OS as a graduation gift, I did not react favorably. Frankly, it’s not anywhere near the top of my list of things to get my kid. But the boy who fashioned a gun out of a sandwich would love this and I need to measure my response. Chalk it up to another new moment as the mama of a Soldier.

My boy and his bonita in El Salvador. Nate is becoming his own man 
and I rejoice over him being a person of honor, faith and integrity. 

A few weeks ago the Hubs got an email from our cadet informing him of Nate’s potential deployment location. When he told me, I cried. This is where my faith in Jesus must prevail. I have prayed over, for and with my child. I do not come naturally to being the mama of a Soldier but this day has been in the works for nearly two decades. I am as prepared as I can be and should have seen this coming Let’s do this. 
 Matthew 6:34
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”

8 thoughts on “A boy who loved Barney

  1. My mom shared your blog with me(she is also a West Point mom, my little brother Andrew is a Plebe) and I have greatly enjoyed reading about your beautiful family. Our prayers are with your son and family as he embarks on this new part of his journey. God bless.

  2. So similar to my own son. His favorites growing up were Barney and GI Joe. Now, he's at West Point and still enjoys singing all the Barney songs with his little sister. I'm only the mom of a plebe, but I feel the anxiety for the future too. Congratulations to your son on his gratuation and congratulations to you for surviving the roller coaster. Relax and enjoy the excitement of the next week. I will keep you and your family in my prayers.Go Army!

  3. Cindy, your beautifully written sentiments are mine exactly! My son, too ( Firstie) also made guns out of peanut butter sandwiches, and I,too,tried desperately to keep all sorts of gun "toys" out of our house, but alaa, the Lord called him to be a soldier. As we approach the ending of our days at West Point, my heart grows heavy beyond belief at the possiblities of what lies ahead. So we pray on, confident of the Lord's plans over their lives, and confident of His strong grip, no matter what lies ahead. Yes, you and I have become Army moms, Army strong, but more than that, seeing the strength of the Lord! hugs to you!

  4. Cindy,….how beautiful written and how you described my boys too….The other day I was going thru childhood items, and came across of the Barney blanket. It's beyond warned out and I asked my firstie mid. "What shall I do with it? It's clean now, but it will not survive another machine wash." He just said "Keep it!" he also wanted to make sure I still have the "Zazu" little pillow (Lion King character). I hung up the phone and cried. My little boy is a man. A soldier that slept with his water gun (that's the only kind I allowed in the house) under his Barney blanket!Unlike you Cindy, I have little more time. One year and half he will be going to flight school. God knew I needed more time…with both boys in academies and going almost daily thru some kind of roller-coaster,I didn't have time to think.I trust God with my boys' lives and one thing I know, and it's been true in my life: God will only allow as much I can endure and He's with me every step of the way.Congratulations to you and your son Cindy. Enjoy the celebration of yet another mile stone in your life.Hugs,Manuella

  5. Cindy, such sweet memories of your son. I have one the same age, but not entering the military. My daughter's boyfriend will graduate with your son, so I've been cranking up the prayers for him. After Leonard Wood he'll report to Bragg, and then who-knows-where.Actually, GOD knows where so we pray and trust Him. Praying for you during this bittersweet time!!~S

  6. All of your comments are such an encouragement! It makes me smile to know that my Soldier is not alone and neither am I. Nate wore purple overalls and had a celebrity encounter when "Barney" stopped by for his third birthday – HA! I so appreciate you taking the time to write!

  7. Here's something ironic from this West Point mom recently turned Army mom: I let me son play with guns, but I hated Barney. I let him watch Barney sometimes but drew the line at the Barney shoes he so desperately wanted… ha ha.What a wild ride these past four years have been. I can't believe it is over. I loved meeting you (in the flesh) along with other moms who have been such a sweet part of this journey. I think we need to be supported by other Army moms now more than ever. Some of our Army sons will be closer to harm's way than others, so we will need to know how to pray and when. i am committed to doing this!I have been away from blog-land for such a long time. Graduation went into a family trip went into a wedding went into lots of clean-up around the Kinley cottage. There have been many days when I have wondered what normal is and if I will ever see it again. But, I am getting there slowly… In a few days my Army guy & his wife will leave for his first assignment and my middle guy will head back to college and my youngest guy will leave for college. Then… it will be just me & my husband… again… with no kids…and that will be the new normal…wow.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s