Saturday, August 15, 2009

Welcome Home, Son!

Five years ago I tearfully watched our son, Clint, board a plane headed to San Diego, California. His destination, the United States Marine Corp Boot Camp, at Camp Pendelton.

As I begin to type, I am reminded of the pain and fear a mother feels when her child leaves the safety of home and walks into the unknown days of their future. It had only been a few weeks earlier that Clint had announced his decision to leave the University of Houston and join the Marines. Coach and I could not have been more shocked! For most of his childhood he had
dreamed of, someday playing football at U of H, just like his dad.

And that's exactly what he had been preparing to do the past four months. After graduating in January, Clint enrolled at UH and joined his dad who was coaching there. He had just gone through off season and spring training! He loved every minute!

Nevertheless, Clint shared that God had "laid a new dream on top of his" and he knew he must go in this new direction! When I heard this explanation, God reminded me of my daily prayer spoken throughout the years, "Lord help our family, to love you with all of our hearts, souls and minds....and serve you all the days of our lives", I heard Him say, "Prayer, answered."

I wish I could say that my immediate reaction was one of gratitude, however, in all honesty I was 'stung' and hurt. I felt betrayed, having no idea that my prayer would be answered in such a frightening way. I panicked and cried! As fear began to rise, the Lord replayed another memory. This one was much older. A scene from my childhood. ~Growing up in Dallas, our parents would take us, each fall, to the State Fair of Texas. Upon entering the fairgrounds, the family would make it's way over to Big Tex where my mother, year after year, would say,

"The fair is crowded today and we are going to hold hands and all stay together...but if one of you gets lost, stop where you are and find Big Tex!

Walk back to him and we we'll meet here at his feet".~ Suddenly I questioned, ' Lord? Why am I thinking about Big Tex at a time like this'? He spoke again, "If you lose any of your loved ones, you'll be meeting at my feet". In the midst of that frightening moment, He everything changed! He reminded me that I could trust Him. As He placed a robe of peace on my shoulders, a flood of tears washed my fear away.

Three months, 2 brief conversations and many letters later, our family excitedly traveled to San Diego, for Clint's graduation. We arrived at Camp Pendleton's parade deck, before daybreak, anxious to get a glimpse of him. Our girl's spotted him first. We weren't allowed speak yet, but we got as close as we could and just stared.

A few hours later, the recruits would take their final run of USMC Boot Camp. Clint was out in front, leading a large group of young men. He carried a red flag and wore an arm band that said 1005. It was then we we're able to get closer to him and I was able to zoom in close and snap this amazing photo.

It seems important to note that on Clint's first day at Camp 'P', he was given 20 seconds to call home and tell us he had arrived. When I heard his voice I was thrilled, told him I loved him and quickly handed his dad the phone. With only a few seconds left, I heard my Coach challenge his son to, '...go be the best!'
At the end of the next week, we received his first letter. He told us his Drill Sargent had made him Platoon Leader! In closing , he said,"Dad, I have taken your words to heart and I will be the best'! Later on, he earned an Expert Marksman medal. Neither of which surprised us.....

( Clint out front, followed by Jayson Nix, of the Chicago White Sox)

Fast forward, three months later, on the parade deck at Camp Pendleton, our son stands among a 'sea' of 600 young men. All but 7 are wearing the same uniform. Clint is one of the seven, wearing 'dress blues'. We watched in amazement as Clint was selected as Platoon Honorman for Platoon 1005. He a six other young men received a Certificate of Commendation and was presented with a plaque from the Marine Corps Association. When the ceremony over, Clint walked off the parade deck towards his family.

Who stood waiting, with 'heart pounding' pride!

The following week I received a letter from the USMC, the final paragraph read:

The Marine Corps is extremely proud of Clint's accomplishment, and it is the opinion of those who have observed your son closely that he will have continued success in his future Marine Corps endeavors.

B. S. Blankenship
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Marine Corps
Commanding Officer

The past four years, Clint has been in Washington D.C., two of which he spent here...

standing guard,

at the West Wing door.

Standing on the right,

serving his time

as a Presidential Guard.

He assisted many dignitaries,

but his favorite, was a fellow Texan and his beautiful wife.

After two years of service, Clint participated in a Exit Ceremony, in which he was able to invite his Dad. They were officially introduced to the President, where upon entering the Oval Office the President thanked Sgt. Clint Spradlin, for his service and visited a few minutes with Coach, about Texas football. One of many shared moments, they'll never forget.

Clint, completed his 5 years of service on July 10th and moved back to Texas, one week ago today! He is currently in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex, making plans for his future and looking for a job.

To say our family is thrilled about Clint being back, is an understatement! He is such big part of our family.
And always has been!
We love and respect him very much!
We're excited about his future.

...and excited about, future fun!

Everyone loves Clint!...because he's so much fun!

In closing let me say this.............. "Welcome Home, Son"!
Your momma is one happy woman!..and your dad couldn't be prouder! We salute you, Clint...and the man you have become.
We also extend a heart-felt salute the thousands of men and women, and their families that have sacrificed their all to protect and serve our nation. We are humbled ...You inspire us! Thank you! God, bless America!... and may you turn our hearts, minds and soul's back to you!


Michelle said...

Ms. Roxanne, I cried happy tears the whole way through this post. What an awesome man you and Coach have raised.

Roxanne said...

Thank you sweet Michelle....and to God be the glory!

I miss you and Joni. Thank you for staying close to me, through'blog-land'.

Big hug to you and you precious family!

Beth said...

Darn. I want to come home too! :) Glad Clint is there and I love all the pictures!!

Roxanne said...

Anytime, my dear!!! Give a few days notice, and I'll do a post on you! I love you so much!

bunnytrails said...

Very beautifully stated from a proud Momma's heart!

molly said...

so happy for you - nothing like a little birdie coming home to nest! What a wonderful experience for him and you all. I am so proud of him and his desire to reach for the stars.

Susan said...

What a beautiful post, Roxanne! So happy for you all. What a great job you and Coach have done on parenting such precious children.

Jody said...

Roxanne, what a neat tribute to your son and what he has done for our country. Thanks for sharing that. I am proud of him and don't even know him! I was moved, have chills,tearful eyes in pride and am inspired by you Roxanne and Clint. I pray that my life and that of my childrens will be used by God! See you tomorrow!

Sarah Beth said...

Hi Roxanne!
My aunt Molly must have called my mom who then called me to have a look at your blog...and I'm so happy that I did! My husband (in the Air Force) looked at the pictures and said "I bet he was ready to sit down after all that standing!" He was very impressed! As a military wife and sister I know the sacrifices we make at home...but none is greater than the ones they make! Thank you for your sweet words! LOVE the quote at the end!

Susan said...


Would you like to come over tomorrow (Wed.) afternoon/evening? My cell is 660-5158


PS - I like change, too!!

lyndsay said...

That's an awesome post Roxi! It's amazing all Clint has experienced in 5 years. I'm happy that he can be closer to y'all. Miss you!

JANELLE said...

What a beautiful post!!! I am so happy for you and your family that he is home!!

lynnette said...

Roxy, this is great. I am also so proud of Clint and his accomplishments. One of which his best is Jenny. We loved having them around this weekend and look forward to seeing more of them in the future. Can't wait for this weekend.
Love you.

Anonymous said...

YOU are an amazing and talented woman who has raised a family full of God-fearing and God-loved children. I hope I am as successful as you someday with my boys. It is an HONOR to know you!

Channa said...

How awesome!!! What am amazing opportunity for your son and family! If you ever come visit him (which I know you will) I would love to meet you for lunch or something. And pick your brian since you are an awesome coach's wife! I could learn alot from you!!

Wendy McDonagh-Valentine said...

That was one of the most wonderful posts I have ever read in "Blog Land!!" You are a wonderful Mama and you are blessed with one incredible son!! Thank you from the bottom of my heart for sharing that with us!! : )

~ Wendy

merryheart2 said...

oh my gosh. you made me cry. what a beautiful family. God is so good.
welcome home Clint and congrats to him and his beautiful new fiance.