April 19, 2015

The Navy Mom Backpack

I wish I would have had this book the day he told me he was joining the Navy. We were not a Military Family and the thought of one of my children joining never crossed my mind. But, as a mom I have always let my boys make their own life choices. I supported him and ran interference between him and my husband who was not happy at all about his choice. Now of course he is one proud Navy dad and has all the
t-shirts and ball caps to prove it! But, since the day my son was sworn in I feel as though I alone
have been carrying the heavy backpack you speak of in your book. Letting go has been so hard and it seems to come in steps. The day I dropped him off at the pick up point for his ride to boot camp I was positive, cheerful, proud, and scared to death. What kind of mother just leaves her son with people she does not know, with little more than a toothbrush and twenty dollars? But, I smiled and waved, so he left not worrying about me. I did pretty good til I pulled on to our street and saw his truck in our driveway then the reality of what he had signed up for hit me hard. Nine weeks of boot camp surely it would fly by. Ugh! But, he was only in Chicago, we used to live in Illinois so no need to worry right? I did not sleep much for the first week, how could I when I wasn’t sure if my son even had a bed, I couldn’t eat, how could I when I wasn’t sure how much my son was eating, then the box with his personal items arrived and it broke my heart all over again. Soon I began hanging out at the mailbox waiting for a letter. Three whole weeks for one sentence. “I am so tired but they are making us write home. ” So, nine weeks of this? What was to come? His boot camp graduation day was the most amazing experience. I feel so blessed as a mom to have been a part of it. His unit won every award they offered, and because it was between Christmas and New Years he was allowed to come home with us for two weeks. I felt like I won the lotto. But, then I looked around the room and realized that most of the other young men and women were not so lucky and only and a few hours with their families. His time in Pensacola flew by and then it was assignment time. I was hoping for San Diego as we live in Arizona how great would that be! Having graduated at the top of his class he was given the opportunity to put in three choices. Japan, Norfolk, San Diego. He was assigned San Diego. Yeah! So close to home! I can work with the Navy!!!! In his two years out there before deployment he was home one weekend, and we went out there one weekend. Who knew that his ship would be gone so much! Then the orders came, the moment I have feared since he joined. Deployment date. My son told me, ” Mom, you cannot cry or be upset when I leave”. I do not want to be worried about you while I am gone. So, I smiled and waved, and hugged him like he was going on a Spring Break Cruise! Then the really hard part began. Who knew it could be harder? I thought that having my extended family close would be so comforting, but they just don’t get it. That is why your book has touched me and comforted me. Now, I know that I am not going crazy, and the sheer panic that sometimes creeps in for no reason, and the overwhelming feeling that seems to follow me around daily has a reason. I am a NAVY MOM!!!! My son is in a war torn area keeping his fleet safe. I have not watched the national news in over eight months, I learn the hard way , it was not a good idea to try to be so informed. I live for those rare and precious phone calls and emails. I am positive and supportive when they come and never ask, where in the world are you? I know where he is. I know what he’s doing. We only talk of home, happy times and keep it light. They have a date they are pulling back into port, and I pray nightly that it will be kept, but I know I need to be the SEMPER GUMBY you speak of. So for your words of wisdom, and for finally having someone who feels the way I do to relate to. I thank you from the bottom of my heart. I think that every mom needs to be issued this book the day their child joins the military! They really don’t have a clue what they have sign up for!



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