Monday, December 14, 2009

A very well-earned rest...

By all accounts, my "little girl" has finally managed to get away from Afghanistan, and is now enjoying some very well-deserved 'quality time' with her man, somewhere on the shores of the Indian Ocean. I know they will savour every second of it and rightfully so. I could not be happier for them.

I had recently received a communiqué from her Sergeant, in which she advised me in her own words, of the tremendous job my daughter was doing. I know as a Senior NCO, we can tend to be somewhat protective of our young charges and fairly effusive when it comes to describing their attributes and performances.

After all, they're "our" young people and they reflect, directly or not, our training and our influence... They bear the stamp of our brand of leadership, for ill or good. Many of us consider them our 'finished products'. We are seen as their bosses, their confessors, their mothers, their fathers, their mentors, their friends... Still, even with this in mind, I have no reason to discount the veracity of the good Sergeant's account.

I found the following posted by her Sergeant on my Facebook page:

"It is so nice to hear from you. I will keep this short for now but when I return to Canada maybe I will get to meet you and we can chat about your daughter. She is an outstanding soldier and I am so very fortunate to have her on my team. She is a strong one and she is using it here to save lives.

You... must be extremely proud of her because I certainly am. If only you could see her day to day contribution to both the troops she mentors and to the boys outside the wire.

I only have **** weeks left here but let me say this, I will miss working with her and I will miss be at her side as she effects change in her daily service. It has been a true blessing to serve with and beside that lady and leader. She loves you guys very much. I will do everything in my power to keep her safe and smiling for the time I am here.

The CF is a better place and the troops are in good hands because she serves. Thank you for setting the example for her."

Her Sergeant hails from The Rock (Newfoundland) and I have already made up my mind that she must be a fine person indeed. And this, notwithstanding her comments on my daughter's performance. She is first and foremost, a soldier. A consummate professional who wears the Maple Leaf on her shoulder with pride. I would want no other type of person in charge of my girl. As such, her words mean all the more to me.

There is much my daughter does, sees and hears over there, about which we cannot speak. The irony is not lost on me that the tables have been turned as she has grown up. It used to be that upon returning from a six-month NATO deployment, she would ask me what I had been doing while I was away. Laughingly I would tell her: "Honey if I told you, I'd have to kill you...". Not too many years ago, I was talking to her on the phone, about a course she was taking in Kingston. When I asked her what she was up to, she replied: "Gee, Dad... if I told you I'd have to kill you!" We both laughed heartily at this role reversal, but it was a telling moment.

It was a father/daughter moment, sure... but it was also one of professional recognition. If I had ever needed any reminding that she had indeed grown up and become her own person, that moment was it...

I know I may be hopelessly biased when it comes to any of my daughters, but in my heart I already knew her Sergeant's words to be the truth. My daughter is just such a young woman. It is however always so very nice as a parent, to hear those words from someone else's mouth. It does not validate anything that I might think I did as a father, but it does let me know that there are scores of people out there, who think every bit as highly of her as I do.

Enjoy your time off, little girl. You have certainly earned it.

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