First of all let me say, I am empty nesting something awful. My son left on May 19th and arrived at GL on the 20th. For days and weeks prior I was a wreck! I mean a wreck and for at least a week after he left I was also a wreck. But as time has gone by my anxiety has dissipated and my grief seems to be subsiding.
But here is what I really wanted to say. I thank God that at this moment he is safe and that I am not sending him away during a draft. I've been watching some D-Day documentaries on TV today. And I cannot even imagine the fear and anxiety that those families had to go through. Also thinking about families that sent their young men off to Vietnam. Most didn't come back. Can you imagine the grief and fear of sending your child off knowing that they would most likely not come back.
I thank those families for their sacrifices. Without them we would most likely not be here connecting on this site in a free country. I thank God for keeping my son in his care. I'm grieving and that is real, but in comparison, well, it just doesn't compare.
" Also thinking about families that sent their young men off to Vietnam. Most didn't come back. Can you imagine the grief and fear of sending your child off knowing that they would most likely not come back."
Most came back. Vietnam was a terrible waste of lives, However, of the 2,709,918 Americans that served in uniform in Vietnam, the death toll was 58,148. Or 2%. Hardly as bad as you imagine, but still too many,
Thank you Sheila. They prayers are so much appreciated.
Thank-you for your service as well. I have a friend that was in the marines. He served in Vietnam, and was also in Desert Storm. He says the same about when his enlisted in the army. It was certainly a much different experience being the father, rather than the recruit.
Welcome to Navy For Moms. You'll find a great deal of support here. You won't have to "explain" why you are sad or a wreck. I wrote the following back in January. I hope some others reading the comments on this discussions will keep in mind what a gift being a part of the Navy is today. Good luck to you and your recruit. BQB.
"Food for thought.
1. About 23% of young adults in the USA (those under 25) are unemployed. Your son is not going to be one of them.
2. About 36% of those between 18 and 31 are living at home with parents. Your son is not going to be one of them.
3. Half of the college students received support from parents with tuition, books and housing. You son will not have to be one of them because he'll have the GI Bill.
4. There are 317,000+ enlisted individuals in the US Navy. With any luck, your son will go thru Boot Camp and become on these elite individuals. In short, he about to begin a Navy career filled with endless opportunities, generous benefits and the chance to make a difference in the world.
A part of you might want to keep him at home FOREVER (human nature for most moms - I am no different). Be very careful. Don't get all tied up emotionally with the thought that he'll be gone and you won't be able to text, call, see each other whenever you or he want to. You need to put on the best act of your life. Your son's future may depend on it.
He may miss you so much that he'll get depressed and have a panic attack during boot camp. In which case, he'll probably sent home. He'll come home and sit in his room, comparing himself to recruits who are progressing, wondering if he could have made, thinking about what the future will hold for him and trying to find a job because sitting at home will get old real fast.
Are you going to miss him like crazy? YES.
Are you going to feel like someone took away a piece of your heart? YES.
Are you going to cry, cry and cry until you can't cry anymore? YES.
Welcome to the world of being a Navy mom. Go out and buy a dozen cry towels and enjoy the best ride of your life (and his life too).
I do see periodically moms who think joining the military as a "last resort" - funny thing is the military is looking better and better everyday in this economy. Even kids with college options are considering the military because of the training, security and educational opportunities. These same moms often get extremely upset when her son/daughter does not fly thru the recruiting/paperwork process. In my observation (since I am Medicare age, I have had many opportunities to observe), we have a generation of young adults who have been cuddled and protected and can not step away from the comforts of home to find their own way in the world. I am a terrific helicopter mom, so I understand 100% the need to be mama bear. It has taken me a number of years to lose the tendency to enable. "
As a teacher, I am constantly telling my middle school students (urban district) that the military is an EXCELLENT CHOICE. It's not only a means to become worldly, but also can serve as a conduit to higher education. I am beyond proud of my son Matthew. It took a lot of courage and maturity on his part, to make the decision to serve in the Navy. Sure I cry, especially since he is now finishing up A school in GL. I recognize that his next stop is San Diego. As a parent, this is what I have been trained to do since his birth....let him go and fly. There are so many bad things in the world, I am humbled that so many of our young men and women have proudly chosen to serve. Our children are accomplishing what only a few will! I sent my sweet boy off to BootCamp in March and now take great pleasure in realizing the man he is becoming.
That's the best thing I've ever read! I am torn into pieces but keeping my head up for him! I am so absolutely proud of his choice. I want him to succeed, I think that's the main reason I'm scared what if he does fail? He can't, he needs this and so do I...let him fly I say. It's tough for all of us. He's leaving a boy and he'll come back a man.
Actually the Navy was my sons last resort. He had been making some stupid life decisions and we had stopped fixing his mistakes for him. Once he finally realized he was out of options he decided to join the Navy. I backed him 100%! And the very interesting thing that happened was that once he enlisted, he began to change almost immediately. His confidence improved, he was more active and talkative.
I couldn't be more proud of this decision. He is making an exciting, adventurous life for himself and I am extremely excited to watch him from the sidelines! I will be his biggest cheerleader!
Thank-you for the statistics. It is a nice reminder for all of us, when we are missing our kids to be able to see the practicality of joining the military.
My husband is a veteran of Desert Storm. The hardest day of my life was watching his unit roll off post not knowing if he was going to return. Thank God he was only there four months compared to others who had been there for months on end.
We are also going through the empty nest. It's just different knowing my son isn't coming home for a while but like you I know he's safe and doing what he wants to do.
Praying for your son.
Thanks so much for this post. I'm finding it difficult to find people in my everyday life who understands the turmoil I'm enduring. My only son graduated from high school and turned 18 only a week ago...and this Friday, he is taking his oath! It's REALLY freaking me out to think that very soon, my baby will transform into a MAN! I find myself in tears quite often, though I try to keep them at bay in front of him. He's so determined that this is the right path for him and I want to support him in his decision as the right one. It's so hard to cut the apron strings and let him fly...especially since from the moment I discovered that I was pregnant with him, my entire existence has been devoted to loving, nurturing and PROTECTING him. How does one just STOP this role? Don't get me wrong...I'm extremely proud of him and his decision...it's just scaring the living bejeezus out of me!
I understand C's mom! Oh I understand completely!! It feels like a tearing away of the flesh. And it is. We just have to remind ourselves, we raised them to be independent strong individuals. We will always be mom, protector, defender, listener, it will just be in a different way.
To add a little levity here...I try to remind myself that the other option is him sitting on my couch playing video games until 3 a.m. when he will then leave to do his paper route!! :)
LOL Thanks for that! You're absolutely right! The Navy will give our sons focus, maturity, responsibility. (Probably a bit tougher lessons than we can give teach on our own...)