Staff SGT Donald Wayne West, Jr., enlisted in the United States Army National Guard on September 11, 2001. As part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, Company A of the 150th Combat Engineers served active duty Aug 29, 2004, until Dec 30, 2005. SSGT West returned to college in January, 2006. He married Lauren Ritchie June 9, 2006, at Seaside, Fla., and they have three children. SSGT West completed military service at Camp Minden, LA on Aug 23, 2009.

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Day 278 - Big Babies

Sometimes I tell people having a son in Iraq is a lot like being pregnant. Time is measured by a different clock. Somehow our situation seems unique. Emotions are unpredictable as the weather.

Yesterday, I got drenched by a couple of emotionally scattered showers.

While I was teaching piano at St. Luke's, a 6-foot-plus blue-eyed young man wandered into the classroom. Right behind him was one of the teachers, Mrs. Bouldin, who introduced the handsome guy under the crewcut as John Paul, her son...the one home from Iraq, scheduled to redeploy to Japan.

Boom! Here came the flood of tears. And why not? I've been praying for this soldier all year!

The late night shower came when I received the following email from Teresa, my sister in Atlanta, sharing her bedtime conversation with Sarah, Wayne's 7-year-old cousin.

Tonight Sarah was very quiet, so I asked if she were OK. She was thinking about Wayne, worried about Wayne, crying for Wayne. When I asked what she was thinking, she responded, "I know he's doing a good thing, but the hard part is knowing he's far away from home and doing soldier work."

As little as she sees or talks to him, they're connected. You've a special boy and I've a special girl.

Wayne was in our prayers tonight...
Yep, Iraqi pregnancies affect the whole family.