Commentary by Melody Jones
I may be the director of Park and Recreation for Westfield, but my No. 1 job is being a mom. Some of the proudest moments in my life involve my three children.
I have a daughter who has grown into a beautiful woman and most importantly an amazing mother to two great kids that I get to spoil.
I also am mom to 24-year-old twin boys, Ethan and Isiah. Right now Ethan is at a great point where he is figuring out what he wants to do with the rest of his life. I love being able to mentor him and help him navigate throughout life’s challenges. Isiah is at a different point in his young life. He knows exactly what he wants to do and that is fight for his country.
Isiah joined the Marine Corps. Just before Thanksgiving, he graduated from boot camp and became Private First Class Isiah Sweat. He is now far away completing his combat and infantry training.
My son is one of the most dedicated, focused people I know. He loves his country and has been physically and mentally training for the Marine Corps before he even enlisted.
Sending my son off to boot camp has been a life changing experience for myself, my daughter and for Ethan. We all love Isiah and are beaming with pride, but we miss him dearly. As an American, I am honored that Isiah is willing to sacrifice his safety for my own, but as a mother my heart aches missing him.
My heart ached as I watched Ethan blow out candles alone, celebrating their 24th birthday. He was missing his other half and I was missing my son. This holiday season our family traditions aren’t the same without him. We know he is fighting for a better cause and purpose, but our everyday family life has forever changed.
This holiday season I mentally prepared myself to continue our family traditions without him, but I received the best gift of all, Isiah came home for the holidays. It is a rare treat, but one I will savor every moment.
For 2015, my goal is to be the best Marine Mom I know how to be, but for now I’m squeezing my Isiah a little tighter this holiday, as I know he will soon leave me for the unknown.
Melody Jones is director of Westfield Parks and Recreation. She may be reached at 804-3183.