Monday, December 5, 2011

Guest Post - The Truest Gift by Tara Nina

Sailors salute the USS Arizona as the
USS Kitty Hawk sails into Pearl Harbor.

The Truest Gift
by Tara Nina

I’ve come to realize that the truest gift is time. In this fast-paced world we have little to no time. Twenty-four hours in the day seems to slip by without much thought as to where it went. If you actually sit and consider the concept of time, we have one hundred sixty-eight hours a week, twenty-one thousand twenty-four hours in a year and we still don’t have enough time.

The reason I discuss this issue with time, for the first Christmas in twenty years, my son will not be home for the holidays. It is with great pride and a heavy heart I have to accept the fact he has chosen a dangerous path in life. By the time you read this, my son will have left for boot camp. He joined the Navy and has been selected to train for the SEALS program. For the past year, he has already been training in a SEALS pre-boot camp program here in New Jersey. He is in the best shape of his young life, but still the training he has yet to face will be strenuous and test both his physical and mental strengths and abilities.

I worry that I have not done enough to prepare him for the events he may face. As parents, we did our best to teach him right from wrong. We were there each time he stumbled. We tended to his needs and gave him the most valuable things we could provide—love, guidance, and a sense of honor and respect. But was it enough to help him in this next chapter of his life.

I believe our lives are giant books. The beginning starts at the first chapter, birth. We enjoy the childhood years, learning and growing. We struggle through the teenage years, which provide our chapters with angst, and some ridiculous fodder to sit back and laugh at when we are older. Each phase toward adulthood, each plot twist builds the story of our lives until we reach those dreaded two words, the end. What we choose to do with our lives is up to each of us. It can be a grand adventure or a sad tale, but it all boils down to that fleeting aspect of time.

You see, I blinked and my son grew up.

I sit here thinking of all the holidays I had with him. The wonderful memories of watching him grow and I can only hope he has the right stuff to reach the goal he has set. Time is a precious commodity. It has no monetary value, no price you can attach to it because it is priceless. It is the one thing in life you can’t take back.

The holidays tend to make most of us a bit melancholy and his leaving at this time of the year is not easy for me. Who am I kidding? His leaving at any time of the year would not be easy for me. He is my first-born and I will miss him as he journeys into this new, adventuress chapter in his life. I can only hope that his time here at home will be a treasured memory he takes with him that will help him succeed in his future.

The greatest gift anyone can give is the gift of time. Use this holiday season to reach out to friends, family and loved-ones to gather them together and share a few hours of that sacred commodity of time. It slips past so fast that in a blink of an eye the kids are grown and you sit there wondering where did the time go.

In the spirit of the holidays, please don’t forget to reach out to those who serve to protect our great country. Remember the wonderful people in the military. It doesn’t take much effort to say thank you. Over the years, I’ve been sending care packages to different service personal around the world. If you’d like to send a care package to someone in the military, please contact Kim Adams at She will gladly provide you with an address of a deserving individual, who’d love to hear from you.

During this holiday season, take a moment of time and enjoy the peace and love of family. Please share with me a fond holiday memory and I’ll enter you for a chance to win a signed copy of either Cursed Laird or Double Dilemma. I will be choosing three winners at random.


Tara Nina


  1. Awesome post and you made me cry !!!! But I fully agree with you the best gift is time !


  2. Please pass the tissues.

    Tara, that was so poignant. Thank you for reminding us of what is important, especially today.


  3. Tara, thanks to your son for serving. I know you'll miss him and worry about him. But I'm sure you have prepared him to do his best!


  4. awesome and i'm salute Tara ;)

    my fond holiday memory is when we gathered during holiday, talking about our holiday, who we met, what'd done and other things ;)

  5. You made me cry! God bless you and may he keep your son safe. Thank you for his service and the service of all our military men and women. I know it will be hard this year, but all of us will be thinking of you and praying that you have an easy day without your son.

  6. I am grateful that Tara's son carries on the legacy of defending freedom, especially this day when we remember those who gave their lives at Pearl Harbor.


  7. I came home this morning, annoyed by the long line at the post office. Then I read this post. It put everything in perspective during this holiday season. I'll keep your son in my prayers.


  8. Tara, may you find alternate blessings this first year he's gone--once a child misses one Christmas, they tend to alternate families or whatever. This time his "excuse" is an excellent one. :) May he be safe and effective. I'll keep a candle lit for him.

  9. Whenever we think our problems are too much we should read this and realize how much we have. Thanks Kim for posting - it was heartbreaking and lifting at the same time.

  10. OK, made me cry and realize that I haven't been using my time wisely...time has been using me! Time is a gift to be treasured along with our children, spouses, families, etc.

    Thank you for reminding me and thank your darling oldest for his commitment to serving our Country. I'm grateful to him and to all of the servicemen and women, who have served and continued to serve, for our gift of freedom.

  11. A beautiful blog! Brought tears to my eyes, too! Much love to you, Tara! Time is precious...

    Please thank Robert for his service and remind him we are here when he gets to SD.

    Hooyah & hugs!!!

  12. Tears here, too. Gonna hug my kids as soon as they get home. My thoughts are with you and your brave son.

  13. What a beautiful post. I'm sitting at my desk trying not to cry. You're absolutely right time passes in a blink and we all need to remember to cherish each moment.

    Thanks to Robert for choosing to serve his country. I know you're sending him out there more then equipped to face the challenges ahead.

  14. Tara, thank you for the gift you have given us today. I am confident that your son will be a strong contributor to the Navy.


  15. To Everyone,
    Thank you for your kind words. I just spoke to him. He's at the airport and they will be leaving for Chicago this afternoon. Of course, I cried but I promised him next time I talk to him, I'd probably cry then to.
    Sorry my post was a tear jerker, but it was written from the heart.

  16. Tara,
    You raised a fine young man and you will be fine. Next time we meet I'll share with you my thoughts on motherhood and letting go when a child chooses a dangerous profession. You have to believe that our sons and daughters are made of great courage, whether they are entering the armed forces or chosing to serve and protect in other ways becoming parents themselves. We do the best we can and then we have to let them go, but they will be back.

  17. Tara, you made me cry! My children are still young, and lately I've found myself resenting the time they demand for all their various activities. But thinking of a holiday without them...indeed any day without them, is enough to make me cry! God bless you, your son, and your family and may you all have a happy holiday even though you're far apart.

  18. You've prepared him. You'll see, I went through this when my son joined the Navy on his 18th birthday when he was still in high school He volunteered for the submarine service and spent 6 years in a "boomer" targeting the nuclear weapons. Did the first Gulf War as support for Desert Storm and saw the world. I think it's hardest on us moms, but he'll be great. Promise

  19. I just caught a clip from the Remembrance Ceremony at Pearl Harbor. As the reporter noted, many of the sailors were unprepared, untrained, or ill equipped, yet they fought back. They survived and inspired generations after them. Your son will do the same. God bless him and the USA.


  20. Audrey in MO

    Thanks for such a wonderful post Kim. I am of the age that I will never forget and appreciate those that continue to discuss it.

  21. Tara, thank you for reminding us what's really important in life. God bless you and your son. I will be contacting Kim in your name.

  22. Tara, thank you for sharing your thoughts about your son. The post brought tears to my eyes, too. Even without personally knowing you or your husband, I would say that did just fine in raising your son because he chose a career in preserving our freedom. And I thank him for his service. Bless you all.

  23. Maybe I'm too old to cry, maybe I have cried too many tears for those leaving home for the military...but I feel that hollow part inside that you must be feeling, Tara. You raised him right...he could have chosen many other paths, yet he chose one of honor and importance. God bless him and those he leaves behind this day.

  24. your son has gone through alot to be in the seals to protect us


  25. I too believe life is chapters. If you look around, you can see what chapter others are on.