Wednesday, June 30, 2010

For all the “Camouflage People”

Sweet Daughter started drawing flag pictures around Memorial Day. We had done our best to explain how Memorial Day was to honor those people in uniform that keep us safe here in the United States. (We left out the part about honoring the ones that died. She’s four, and we figure five is old enough to introduce that buzzkill.) She remembered the “camouflage people” from our event at Petersburg in April, and she knows that there is evil in the world. In her case it takes the form of the Big, Bad Wolf in her dreams, but she understands that there are bad guys around and that special people exist to help keep her safe from them. Whether it’s a soldier, policeman or parent, some people step up when things go bad.

Her first flag picture was one of our house with a flag, and I was instructed to give it to a “Camouflage Person”. I tucked it away to put in the “forever box”, but I got busted. We were in line at the grocery store when she noticed a gentleman in uniform behind us.

“Momma! A camouflage guy! Where’s that picture I drew??”

“Ummm, I don’t have it with me, honey. It’s too big to carry in my purse.” (Yeah, that’s it!)

So she went home, drew a smaller one which she folded in half and tucked it in my purse with a reminder to give it to the next CP I saw. I carried it around for a week or so when I ran to the grocery store to pick up a few last-minute items for our trip to Williamsburg. The parking lot was mostly empty -- except for the car parked way over to the side with the guy in ACUs rummaging around in his very large, very full camouflage bag in the trunk.

Crap. I was hoping SD would be with me when this happened. I don’t do so well with strangers and she has no problem with them. But I promised, so I walked over, folded drawing in hand.

“Um, excuse me.”

He looked up. He looked tired and edgy. “Yes, ma’am?” He sounded tired and edgy, too.

“Uh, my-four-year-old-daughter-drew-this-and-asked-that-I-give-it-to-the-next-person-in-uniform-that-I-saw” I stammered as I kind of pushed the paper towards him. I felt like I was interrupting something.

He very politely opened it, looked at it, and soberly said “thank you, ma’am” before folding it back up and stuffing it in his bag.

I managed to blurt out, “No, thank you” before turning tail and hurrying into the store while wiping tears off of my face. I felt as though I’d made him feel worse, and I felt selfish, and small.

So. Here is the first picture that I was instructed to give to a Camouflage Person. I’m posting it to share it with any CP that would be happy to have it. Know that a four-year-old girl and her parents are praying for you, and that we're really glad you're keeping us safe.


  1. Dammit, something in my eyes again. That's awesome - please hug SD for me. I'll give the pic to my son (Two tours of the sandbox and now Reserve Camouflage Person. Hooah!)

  2. Thankfully, it's too early in the day for me to have drawn eyes on my face.

  3. She is so small and light, I realize now that I missed my chance to steal her when she was politely sitting beside me and coloring!

    Heheheh, All kidding aside, she is going to turn into about as upstanding and amazing woman as possible if she keeps going at this rate!

  4. Awesome!

    I've now exceeded my cute allowance for today!

  5. As a retired "Camouflage Person", and on behalf of my stepson that just shipped out to Iraq last week, please tell her that we love you all and you're welcome. I have a 12 year old granddaughter and 2 year old grandson now, and know exactly how you feel as well, protecting them is worth it all.

  6. She is a special, special little girl, and I'm having a hard time telling who's luckier: You and Shorter half for having her, or her for having you and shorter half.

    Oh, and weerd? While I understand wanting to spirit her away - she is just that cute! - I would hazard that the lifespan of someone attempting such an act would be measured by a stopwatch.

    *Especially* in that group...

  7. Thank you and your very special SD. My daughter served 8 years in the USNavy and her Army husband is about to return from a tour in Afghanistan. It's nice to know that everyday folks remember those who serve.
    Gotta go, my eyes won't stop leakin'.

    Rob J

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  9. I probably left something on the stove. My eyes are stinging pretty badly, all of a sudden.

    Continue to tell your daughter, ma'am, that it is never improper to feel pride for one's nation, and one's flag, and one's soldiers. There may come a time, someday when she is told by others that this is unpopular, or kitsch.

    Thank you for the tightness in my throat. And thank your daughter, from another American who tries, on occasion, to make gifts to his nation's soldiers.

  10. That's just sweet as it can be.

    Good time to introduce The Gratitude Campaign, for those who haven't seen it.

  11. Sounds like someone is being raised right. Good parents are hard to find these days.

    And there must be an epidemic of "something in my eyes", 'cause I've got it too.

  12. Great kid. This vet says so, and thanks on behalf of all of us, past & present.
    Smoke must've got in my eyes. Good trick, that, since I finished my cigarette 10 minutes ago.

  13. Just what I need, watery eyes at work.

    I taught my 5-year-old daughter (now 6.75) to sing the Star Spangled Banner. She just knows that she gets lots of attention when she sings it. I think your daughter knows in her heart why the song should be sung.

    (AF Reserve CP)

  14. Children like that give me hope for the future.

    I don't know if I could keep my composure if someone presented me with a pic like that. I'd be speechless at least.

  15. I felt as though I’d made him feel worse, and I felt selfish, and small.

    I very seriously doubt you made him feel worse. And I will hear none of "selfish, and small." No, ma'am.


  16. tweaker ...

    To me he looked like he just wanted to be left alone, and I felt as though I barged in all "Suzy Soccer Mom" and interrupted his thoughts with my Precious Snowflake's latest Artistic Masterpiece, making it all about *ME*! I really, really hope I didn't come across that way.

    Thanks for the reassurance.

  17. Wow! I'm all verklempt now and everything. On top of that, I've got something in both eyes. Thank your daughter for this feeling of pride I am feeling for our "camouflage people" and for her for that gentle reminder.

  18. On behalf of a retired CP, who made the first Sandbox Tour, the Bouncing Baby Boy, who completed three trips to the new Sandbox, and the SIL who's done one trip to each of the Sandboxs (jarheads have all the fun!) please tell SD thank you, from all of us.

    (Damned allergies again!)


  19. This CP is having a hard time voicing his thanks for such a gesture. Despite how you may have felt, I can assure you that all you did for that service member was reassuring him why he is wearing that uniform, and I am sure he will remember that moment for the rest of his life.
    I spent all day shuffling trailers back and forth across the state in a Humvee all day, and just reading this made it completely worth it. Please pass on my thanks to your daughter for her support.

  20. On a plane home from Vietnam a very brave woman, her daughter and hovering husband approached me and she said "Thank you for what you did for us in Vietnam" - I wasn't as brave and in total shock and so speechless, but that reaching out has always meant so much to me, especially since I couldn't, can't reach back.

  21. Please thank your Daughter on my behalf.

    Children may understand the world with simplicity, but in that simplicity is often stark truth unjaded by years of experience.

  22. In a sometimes politically bleak era there is still hope for our future if there are parents like yourself and kids like your daughter. Funny how this allergy thing is getting around!