As my husband brought yet another bag of trash up from my son’s now empty bedroom I realized what made me so mad before he left…his messiness …no his piggyness ..his inability to pick up when asked…his incessant gaming and leaving soda cans in a circle around his chair like the fallen avatars in his games…these annoying things became things I was missing already. Of course I wasn’t the one cleaning them up. So I can wax sad here.
My son is now a Navy Recruit and he left for bootcamp Monday, March 23,
We got the call the at 3:16AM to be precise on Tuesday morning. I was fumbling for the phone – but was awake anyway just groggy. When I answered I heard my 19 year old son’s voice – telling me in a very scripted tone that he was at Navy boot camp and he was ok, and he would talk to me in two weeks. I am told not to count on that call- it may be more weeks than that. It was a quick call. I got my I love you’s in and I wasn’t sure I was allowed to say more -and he didn’t offer more-so we hung up. Now moving forward -no contact- (unless I get a that call he mentioned)-for about ten weeks. This is going to be a tough one on this mom. Well at least I know he is safe.
We dropped him off at a hotel near Fort Meade Sunday night – he would be with other recruits most likley but it still felt so odd leaving him there. I didn’t want to go into the hotel because of the social distancing rules. I didn’t want to make a scene when I said goodbye which means any tear falling from my eyes because it would upset my son. I was sad that we couldn’t go to the base the next day to see him off. It was closed to civilians because of the virus restrictions.
I stood by our truck and hugged him tight. That last hug – watching as he fades into the hotel lobby- my heart falls a bit.
It is hard enough to send your child off to the military – but to do so during this pandemic is so hard. I haven’t slept well in the days preceding his departure and the insomnia is still hanging on. I have had loads of tears. Tears because I miss him, tears because we can’t talk for a while and tears because I am afraid.
I have so many fears- some rational and some irrational. I worry he might become ill? They are on a two week quarantine -and my son was very happy because he could bring a handheld gaming device and game for the time he was in isolation. It won’t get old for him – he’s a gamer and its one of the habits he has that I hope the military breaks. But if he gets ill do they even call us? He belongs to the military now so I don’t know what information we can get.
I fear that he won’t make it through bootcamp- he needs this in his life. He has lacked direction and goals – he needs this for his confidence and to mature. I am so proud of him- yet so sad because he is gone.
I fear he will get hurt during some of the exercises- he has to breath in tear gas! That freaks me out. He laughs about it! I fear for him in general because he is not worldly and he is immature. I am told the Navy will change that.
I fear he will have the WTF did I do moment where he may regret signing up. Who am I kidding he will have that…I just hate to know that he will be at a breaking point like that…but I want him to get past it. I know he can do this…but he has to know that too. I want the successes of boot camp to build up this shy, quiet, introverted, sweet, kind young man. Also I fear he will change too much- will he become hardened – more closed up? None of this is in my control and I know it..it’s just the feelings I feel now. However dumb- I just have to allow myself the time to adjust.
But I am a mom and I know I won’t stop worrying.
I also fear this pandemic as a whole – what will it mean for my son once out of bootcamp? How do they keep them safe – one military man down can mean many down because of the ease of spread in such close quarters. What if -God forbid -someone in our family becomes ill enough we would want to contact him- can we? I have a mild sore throat and stuffy nose and today and I am filled with worry about what it could be. These aren’t easy times.
These are my own feelings and I never projected these on to my son as he prepared to leave. he deserves a mom who can keep it together while he got ready for the biggest thing in his life thus far. And before he left I kept it together mostly by being in denial that he was going. I helped him get his new bank account set up and I pestered him about getting his room clean and clothing put away before he left…he made a feeble attempt…I am told the Navy can change the slovenly into much neater humans! Let’s hope for that!
I just never let myself get too close to the feelings of him going until we had that last hug and the string that ties together got longer and longer.
The best thing is that Kevin and I are not alone in all these feelings – we have the experience of others near and far. Last week before my son left, I was told by my son’s Chief at the recruiters that there were facebook pages to join that could be a source of support during this time. We joined a couple and these pages are already a source of comfort. It is comforting to be among those that are feeling some of what I have felt – and also it is nice to talk to those that have been there done that.
I honestly struggled with my feelings about him joining the military and I will write more on that later. But I am so very proud of my child. The timing of it all is hard. With so much uncertainty now I feel like I want to have instant contact with my adult children – just to make sure they are ok. But that isn’t what I have with this son. That will take adjustment —and letting go some. Not easy for parents. Especially now.
….To be Continued….