This past Saturday, Mother Goose had the special honor of attending a Yellow Ribbon Event in the Chicagoland area. A Yellow Ribbon Event is organized by our Illinois National Guard as part of its Welcome Home process for soldiers who will soon be returning from a deployment and reuniting with their families.
Three National Guard units from our area will be coming back from faraway places next month. This day long event included briefings for spouses and adult family members as well as games and projects for the military kiddos, sons and daughters of those deployed service members.
These twenty kids are so amazing! I was thrilled to spend the day with them! Most of their dads have been deployed for about a year, but there was one brother and sister whose DAD AND MOM have been serving overseas for the past twelve months. Mother Goose can only stand with her beak hanging open, saying “Wow…”
We played some fun games with balloons to talk a bit about stress — ALL kids love balloons, and all kids know about stress. There was much discussion about feelings and how it’s OK to feel scared, worried, sad and happy all at the same time.
Some furry, four-footed and friendly visitors came by to see the kids. These dogs, associated with Rainbow Animal Assisted Therapy, work every week at hospitals and schools. We were delighted to have some quality time with Bella, Bruce, Yankee Doodle and Talla.
Another of our speakers for the day was a man from MFLC (Military & Family Life Counseling) who presented to the kids a power point about managing their money, avoiding credit cards and the importance of saving money. Mother Goose learned MUCH from that session and the kids did too. They had some very insightful questions for the financial gentleman.
Unfortunately, the woman from the Red Cross (who was going to share about water safety plans) was involved in a car accident on her way to the venue and was not able to meet with us. Mother Goose was glad to know that she was OK.
One of our final activities was coloring and decorating masks. The outside of the mask was to show Dad (or Mom) how the kids might have changed during their absence. On the inside of the mask the kids drew or wrote some aspects of themselves that they were not quite ready to share with their returning parent.
Mother Goose got to spend some beautiful time with each of the youngsters who ranged in age from six up to seventeen. All of them were polite and friendly, easy-going, hopeful and happy, proud and strong. I think the word “resilient” is overused in describing military kids so I will not use it in this context. However, I WILL say that these amazing kids are springy, elastic and flexible which basically means about the same thing. Perhaps they are even a bit rubbery though not as rubbery as the feet of Mother Goose.
God bless our military families and especially these great children!