A Day to Honor Mothers: They Serve in Many Ways

Dorothy Mae (Bush) Zeller, Tracie's mother, was a WAC (Women's Army ) from 1955-1960.

By Tracie Ciambotti

This Mother’s Day is bittersweet and very different from any I have experienced thus far. It was the day after Mother’s Day last year when my mother received a stage 3 ovarian cancer diagnosis. This is my first Mother’s Day without her. Dorothy Mae Zeller died September 6, 2010. 

She received military honors at her funeral for her service in the Women’s Army Corps from 1955-1960.  My son, Joshua, who also serves in the Army, was presented with his grandmother’s flag.

This is also my first Mother’s Day not spent with my two daughters; Jessica and Danielle—who both live in Pennsylvania.  I moved from Pennsylvania to Colorado last year for my husband’s job.  I know today will be as difficult for them as it is for me.     

Grandson Josh, who now serves in the Army, receives the flag at his grandmother’s military funeral in 2010.


It is, however, the first Mother’s Day in many years that I will spend with my son Joshua.  I can’t recall the last time we were together on this day, but know it was at least prior to his joining the Army.  Every minute I get to spend with him these days is very precious as his deployment date draws closer.  It seems I subconsciously try to burn an image of his big blue eyes and devilish smile into my memory to keep me going for the next year that he will be gone. 

Tracie's daughters, Jessica and Danielle.

I know how much I will miss the sound of his voice, his little pranks, and the way he makes me laugh—just as I have on his prior two deployments.  As sad as today is without my mother and my daughters, I am blessed to be with my son and daughter-in-law. 

Many mothers of service members are not so blessed today.  They will sit and wait anxiously; hoping and praying that their son or daughter serving on a deployment will get a spare moment to call and say “Hi”.  Just hearing the sound of their voice brings peace and comfort. 

Tracie and her mother, Dorthy Mae.

Mothers of those serving, but not deployed will also be awaiting phone calls from a son or daughter who couldn’t get time off to come home for a visit.

I want to personally thank every mother who has a child serving in our Armed Forces; I know that you are serving too.  I know the sacrifices you make and the heartaches you endure for our country.  I ask everyone who knows a military mom to call her today and thank her for her service.

Tracie Ciambotti is the Co-founder of Military Families Ministry (MFM) and mother of an Army sergeant. Her previous blog contributions:

How Do You Define True Patriotism?

When War Gets Personal

An Army Mom Connects Military Families and Churches

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