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When my son/daughter first spoke about joining the service I…

Story Time anyone?
I know when you first join N4M’s one of our standard Q’s is: When my son/daughter first spoke about joining the service I…

And then usually there are the standard answers like:
Was concerned or afraid, Was confused, Needed to learn more about it, Was proud, Was relieved, Encouraged him/her, Said “No way!”

But I'm starting this thread- because I wanted to hear the stories and memories behind these standard answers! Things like: How did they bring it up to you? What was the reasoning? I see your responses to this question and I think things like "I wonder why they were confused. Or if they said “no way” how did still end up joining?" Heh. Plus, I think every mom on here has an interesting story to tell.
So (pretty please) take us back to that moment…

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Replies to This Discussion

Thanks Mary, so it's normal then. Our boys sound so much alike. Rob is taller than I, and always insists I make him eggs. He is a cook at a local bar and grille, not like he can't cook. It does make me feel special knowing mom "does it better". I had a tough time when the recruiter took him at 5am to have his physical and testing. I cried for about an hour, got ready for class and cried with my kindergarteners and they had no clue!!! (Those poor kids! ) Having the summer off has been a blessing. We spend alot of time together at the lake, fishing and camping. Just doing things he wants to do. I miss him already and he's still here!!!!. I am so proud of him, and his decision. Take care..I'll keep you all in my prayers too.
Great posts Cheryl and Mary! I remember my son's first time home, around birthday and Christmas. Within 15 minutes of stepping in the door he had his sweats on, his shoes off and was parked in front of the sports highlights chomping on some chips and drinking a soda. Of course I wanted to talk, talk, talk but I knew how much he just wanted to chill (the grilled cheese sammich made me think of this Mary!) So I said, I'll leave you alone with your sports highlights and munchies, and he smiled and said, Thanks mom, you rule! Reading these stories it makes me know, once again, how proud we all are that our kids are growing up to be fine young ladies and gentlemen, isn't it? That's really all a parent can ask for (and grandbabies too!)
My son George, (proudly named after my grandfather) departed for boot camp on July 8, 2008. I too worry about his safety, but I also believe that he is a precious gift from God and that God loves him too. I know that when God is ready to call George home it won't matter where he is, home or away,I have comfort in knowing he will be with his Savior. Do I miss him? Like crazy!! I was not surprised by his decision to join the service as he has talked of it most of his life. I did not know which branch. At first he wanted to be a pilot, but outgrew that choice @6'5''. His paternal grandfather was a Marine and his maternal grandfather a Sailor. He did talk to all of the recruiters over tha past several years, then last summer he joined the DEP of the NAVY. For Christmas our gifts were Navy clothes (PROUD NAVY MOM and DAD). Georges' passions are God and Country and Family. He is a country boy, and even the little old ladies at church cried when he left.
I can't wait to see him again! I know my boy has grown into a fine young man, and I am definately A PROUD NAVY MOM














Christmas
He sat me down at the kitchen table....always means something serious.....and said "Mom, I'm going to go the the military"...... I sat there speechless (for the first time in front of him).....at first, he wanted to join the Air Force. Jake had been to several colleges, never really finished his degrees, always had a job, always worked....was not a trouble-maker, to say the least....just never got grounded. But the Air Force recruiter wasn't very helpful to him and turned him off. So he visited The Navy recruiters office and they took him under their wing and made him feel great about himself. From there on out, he was sold. I was apprehensive tho.... cause I've had family in the Navy..and I know things. But it was his solid and responsible decision....and I am glad now that he did what he did. They played some jokes on me from the MEPS during his physical...he and his recruiter left me text messages saying that he didn't know if he was gonna make it....next, then he walked into the house with his new Navy I.D.....they were buffaloing me along. It has been a heck of a ride so far.......can't wait for the next set of ventures!!!!!!!
Since my son was 4 years old he's wanted to join the service. At the time he thought "Army" because his cousin had given him a boy's doll with an Army uniform on it (he named it Army imaginatively enough). Many in my immediate and extended family are veterans, including the sister who partly raised my son (Navy vet and DoD employee). He lived in Germany with her when he was in high school. On his 18th birthday he went to the Navy recruiter on base and signed up (still had to finish h.s. however, he's a December baby). I was sort of hoping he'd go Air Force, as I wanted to, but Navy was the logical choice for him with his aunt being a Navy vet herself (she was an airman). When they were in the states (Washington), they lived in Bremerton, a Navy town and it has one of the 4 US naval shipyards. He said it felt weird going back to Bremerton AS a sailor! So any way, I've been proud of him since day one when he said, at four years old, that he wanted to go into the service when he grew up. I love him so much and am so proud, and I love and thank all of our men and women in the military branches who serve our country!
It was December of 2006, we were planning for Christmas and continuing our search for the perfect college for our son. We had filled out college applications, and paid money, we had filled out applications for scholarships, loans, grants and financial aid, and we had paid for SAT tests to raise the scores even higher than they were. (Who knew all of this cost so much, before the actual tuition and room/board was paid!) We had made college visits and asked all the appropriate questions to make an educated decision on which school would be the best match for our son.

It was a Tuesday night, Bob had a friend who was who was leaving the next day and going to England for a semester of study abroad, and he wanted to go and say good bye. I reminded him it was a school night and not to be out to late, and he asked if we (his step-dad and I) would be up when he got home. All of a sudden the mom bells started to go off, what was wrong, was there a problem, why did he need to talk to us? My husband being his usual helpful self asked who my son had gotten pregnant? Of course the moment of humor fell a little short as far as I was concerned. I asked him what was wrong and he told us that nothing was wrong, that he just wanted to talk to us. Ok, the bells rang even louder and I told him he couldn't leave until he told us what was wrong and he had to talk to us now.

He sat down on the couch and told us that he had been doing alot of thinking and research and he thought he would like to go into the Navy instead of going to college right away. He told us he had spoken to his guidance counselor, had looked at the Navy website and had even spoken informally to the recruiter on the phone from the guidance office. He explained to us how he didn't want to be financially responsible for college loans and that the Navy might be a way to get his education and to also be a part of something that was a tradition in his family. His dad (who passed away when my son was 5) was in the Navy and his dad's dad was also in the Navy, so he is third generation Navy. When I picked my jaw up off of the floor and had restarted my heart, I asked him all about the plans he had for himself and the future that he had talked about that involved a college education and he told me that he still planned to do all that, just later in his life. A million questions raced through my mind and I tried to get them all out, my husband put his hand on my arm and quietly told me to look at my son. He was excited, there was a light in his eyes and he was truly excited about the opportunity that he saw in front of himself. My husband quietly asked me if throughout all our college explorations, had we ever seen him like this, and who was truly more excited about the whole college thing? The truthful answer was I was more excited about the whole college process than he was and he had never looked like he did when he discussed the Navy when we visited colleges. We talked a long time and decided to talk about it again when I had some time to digest all of this.

The next day (Wednesday) I got a phone call from my son at work and he asked if it would be ok if the recruiters came to our house that night to talk to my husband and I. What was I to say? Of course they could come, and hopefully they could answer all of my questions, the millions of questions I had. The recruiters came and we talked for 3 hours. The first thing they asked me if I was scared, absolutely I was! They did answer alot of my questions and the many that I had over the next 8 months before my son left for BC.

Saturday of that same week, my son went to the recruiters office to do all the initial paperwork. He was gone for a couple of hours and when he came home I asked him again, are you sure? He said this was what he wanted to do. Sunday late in the afternoon he went to Albany, NY so that he could be at the MEPS building the next morning. This was my son's first time away from home in a hotel without his parents, he called me and we talked and I heard the nerves in his voice and I asked him one more time if he was sure, and he said "Yes Mom!" I could see him rolling his eyes even though he was 45 minutes away from me. When he came home Monday night he was on his way to becoming a US Navy sailor.

The next 8 months went very quickly. Every Saturday he met with the recruiter, and we made it through basketball season, track season, the prom, and graduation. Then all too quickly, it was August and we had to deliver our son to the recruiters office for the final time before he left for Great Lakes. I know that I don't have to explain to you how I felt, you have all lived it. I held it together until we had to finally say good bye and leave him there. I hugged him and I told him I loved him and he told me "I know mom, I love you too." I turned and I left him, and so began his Navy experience.

Now in 3 days my son will graduate from his A school in Groton,CT. He has been in the Navy for almost one year now and he is about to begin the next part of his life when he heads to the USS Columbia in Hawaii. I will have to let him go again after having him home for 10 days and I know that this trip to the airport will be harder than sending him to the Navy the first time. Harder because it will be a good 2 years or so before we see him again, and harder because our relationship has changed and is different now that he is on his own and so grown up. I am so proud of my son and the path he has chosen for himself and each day I pin a navy anchor on my shirt in tribute to my son, and I display a service flag to let the world know that my son is serving his country. As I have said before many times, I gave the Navy my son and they gave me a man I am proud of who has chosen to serve his country and protect the rights and freedoms that we all take for granted. I will miss him, but I know that he is doing what he felt he needed to do, and I am proud of the choice he has made.

Barb K.
Thanks Barb, this was great to read....esp. the part about giving up your son to the Navy and having a man returned----just an interesting read. 'thanks'!!
Thanks Barbara,

I too enjoyed reading your story. I too saw that gleam in my son's eye. He works in the entertainment industry and absolutely loves it. We used to go see him perform out at Universal Studios in Florida during the various seasons he was performing and I always thought he was extremely happy. He didn't want to do the whole day in school again (for college). He wants to continue his education but only part-time. He has been flown around the country to perform at various performances (the Tennis Open in New York, hotel openings in Ohio) I thought he seemed very, very happy with his life as it was going. I was happy that he was working, looking into what classes at school he should take, making his own car payments, paying car insurance, etc. Until the fateful day for me when he had his father tell me that he was joining the military. Never before have I witnessed that look in his eye. He seemed fulfilled. He is excited. He is proud. I am very proud of him, as is his father. However, I will miss him dearly. He has that certain humor about him that you just have to laugh all the time, but all I do is cry. Anyway, God bless your son and all the fine men and women of our military. If it wasn't for them defending our freedom, God only knows what would happen. Look what they did before - and I bet it will NEVER happen again. Once again God Bless and keep the faith.
Barb this is a wonderful story. I cried! It is these stories that make me cry the most.They are happy tears tho.We all have so much to be proud of. Our sailors rock !!!!
My story begins in 1994, or close to that, when my son was 7, and very excited about everything. He asked me one day, "Moma, what should I be when I grow up?". I answered, "Son, I don't know, it's not my job to tell you what to do when you grow up, but my prayer for you is that someday you will do something so important to you, that you would do it whether you got a paycheck for it or not, and that you will do it to the best of your ability". Over the years, he posed that question to me a few other times, and I (feeling very blessed to have given a good answer), always said the same thing. When he was 10 (1997) he announced to his Dad and I that he would be making his career in the military. He assumed his choice was the Air Force, because he was very interested in jets and planes. We encouraged his commitment. Dad and his Father were both Naval veterans, and my father was an Army veteran...none made a career in the service, but have always been proud to say they had served, so military service did not seem foreign to us, nor our son. He entered Boy Scouting at 6 as a Tiger Cub, and became an Eagle Scout at 17...but high school was a little 'bump in the road' for his military aspirations...actually, he thought very little about his future while in his middle-to-late teen years. His grades reflected that he thought very little about anything, but he graduated (Thank you, again, God). He couldn't focus to do well in college (revelation after 2 failed semesters), he loathed working until he landed a job in our circuit court clerk's office...and I thought for a while he had found his niche....but after about six months, even the newfound freedom he earned with the better paycheck didn't fit the bill for his happiness.
The conversations about a military career had stopped by the time high school started. And Dad and I were ok with that, considering the way the world was in 2001. The topic didn't come up from his direction, because the only thing he was excited about then was the Friday night football game and how many girls were calling him every day....endlessly...
For his Dad and I, it was like the elephant in the room....we knew it was there, but would rather ignore it....
Last fall, totally out of the blue, he announced he was joining the Marines, which floored both his Dad and I. We asked him to weigh all the options and prayed a lot that he would reconsider. Providentially, he did change his mind, and settled on the Navy. There were many conversations leading up to his oath and DEP, which proved very quickly to me, that this was something that had never left him since he first announced it to us at age 10. I'm also convinced this is a dream he has lived in his mind for that many years, and now he's living it for real.
I said, "Of course you are! You were born to be in the military!" We just knew.

If you get a job you love, you will never work a day in your life.
It was valentines day 2006, as I was on my way out the door for work, I noticed an envelope on the counter that said "mom", the mom was inside a drawing of a heart. Inside the card was a note, that said "it's not the Coast Guard but it's close, and inside was a small "navy lapel pin". Since, I was the last one leaving, (so alone, I was in a state of shock!) I immediately called my husband, and he told me Marc wanted it to be a "surprise" for me, he didn't want me to try to talk him out of it, or to be "hysterical"!!! The reference to the Coast Guard was because, since Marc is a "risk taker", I knew he would pick a career that had some risk, He has been a volunteer firefighter since he was 12 , when he joined on as a junior member! And he loves the water and boating, so I thought the Coast Guard would be great for him and SAFE! Any way he had other plans! The recruiter came to meet us, and answered a million questions, and 6 weeks later Marc left for GL and boot camp!
The day before he was to leave he came down with some "bug" and spiked fevers to 103!! Needless to say, in my mind, there was no way he could leave in this state! I called the recruiter (yes, I did), and told him, he said he would see Marc in the A.M. as planned, and then the decision would be made, well, even though the recruiter told him he could wait for the next group to leave, he insisted on going as planned! Well, he left! And, did just fine without mom!
Marc is a "Seabee", right now he is in Gulfport, waiting to be deployed!!!
We are so very proud of him!!!

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