From morning to night, It seemed I cried almost every day... With love, fear, and pride bellowing in side of me, I became the Military Mom. There were times I thought I would die through boot camp. No, really. Not knowing isn't a strong point of mine. Neither is waiting. These two triates (or lack there of) of mine, waited for me everyday, all day, for 6 weeks. When my son first told me he had enlisted into the Navy, I was excited for him. Happy of the decision he had made. Supportive cheerleader of his PT (physical training) program. And this was all on the outside. It is very important to to express all my outer emotions to him and learn keep all others hidden in side. And that is what I did... that is what I do. My first born and only son, joining the military. Who wouldn't be worried. Happy. Scared. Proudful. I am all of this at the same time. Some days, I think I have really lost my mind, I feel like two different people. And there are days where I am right as rain. Never really know what tomorrow will bring, until your feet hit the floor.
Who would have thought that listening to the radio while driving, would be such an emotional roller coaster. Or that seeing another person in Navy uniform squeezes your heart. Or listening to (other) parents stories of children their returning home would make you want to scream.
"Excuse me, have you seen a screaming crazy lady running through here?"
|My son James.. My heart..|
There were plenty of times i wanted to do just that. Really. I mean, that was just through boot camp, because you surly have it together by the time the are stationed... right...go right on and keep telling your self that one. When i look back at the Boot Camp Days... I realize what I became. Besides a Crazy Screaming (Navy) Military Mom. I became a stalker. Yep. That was me. and not a creeping stalker, nope.. I made it quite visible that I was stalking. The Mailman became my new best friend, and had I the chance, I would have married him if it meant getting my letters any faster. See, when James left for Boot Camp in Illinois, I began writing.. and every day I wrote. I found a wonderful Navyformoms web site, and I joined it. The ladies there helped alot, just that little internet connections, would at times keep me from going out of my mind. The weekend before James had to leave for boot camp, he slept over our my house. Like a baby, he slept in the guest bedroom, right across the hallway from mine. It was such a comfort to know, I had him under my roof again.. though it was only for a short time.. I hold that memory closest to my heart. It took me days to clean up the room when he left that morning. When I finally did, With Tabitha's help (cause i could have cried the whole way through it) I found the perfect, unintended gift. As we were taking off the sheet to wash, out rolled one of the shirts James wore. It was the best gift I could have ever asked for. I hung that shirt out side of my closet (so i could see it every day) for the six weeks he was gone.. (not entirely true.. I still have that shirt) it was my focal point. My rock. That doesn't mean I was over my Screaming Crazy Lady faze, I still fight to keep her down, even to this day.
Every letter (and there were only a few) that came through the mail, was gold to me. I read them, and reread them.. and every so often, bring them out to read them again. I send letters to him every single day, letting him know I was right there with him. Every step of the way. Six weeks doesn't seem long right. A drop in the bucket. 'Think of it like he is just away at collage". Was one of the things I heard often. "Well, he chose to enlist, just accept it" who said i was in denial, was another one i heard. "What if he never comes back" can you believe someone literally said that to me. "It's the Navy, he'll never have to deploy" Do you think this person sat down and watch the news. "I am so sorry to hear that" Ouch, that hurt.
|James Division marches into the hall...|
I did survive the six weeks of Basic. Of course. And James Graduated (PIR), man was it was a site to see. All the waiting, the worrying, the longing for a hug, wanting to hear his voice (and I have you know, I called his cell phone often, just to hear it), stood right before me. I wanted to leap out of the stands and run right up to him. But, I knew I couldn't. I sure did want to though. To be that close, and not touch. It was, like holding your breath, knowing your face is turning blue, you feel like you are going to pass out any second.
|Navy Pier. New Sailor. My son James 2008|
When the commanders released the divisions, the families all rushed from their seats, to their loved ones. It was the best rush of emotions I could ever describe. I could not wait to find my son.. Touch him. Hold him and Smile with him. After the massive mob started to clear out, as families were able to spend the day with their Navy Sailors, we embarked on making memories in Illinois. There was the Navy Pier visit, walking around the Base, lunch to eat and a Mall to visit. As long as the Sailors was back on base, at the exact time their commander stated, the sailors were free to enjoy their day. There was a fleet of men in white at the Pier, it was a breath taking view. I couldn't have been more proud of my son, and of myself as well. Be both held it together for the 6 weeks.. although, I had no doubt he would crack at all... Me, on the other hand, came close quite often.
|10/2008 Home for 2 days.. Headed to his base.|
"From this point onward it will get easier"... That's the dumbest thing some one told me at work. I wasn't able to take two days off from work. It seems, as i learned right then and there, companies don't care. I used my vacation time to attend PIR, and it was well worth it. But, the "Corporate" end of things, when it came down to it, didn't care one bit. To them it was another day of business. Working the American dollar bill, and how much of it they got. I treasured each evening with my son. And on the day he had to leave, I waited for him to show up at my job. As the clock ticked closer to the end of my day, I knew that wasn't going to happen. I was lost. Like someone sucked every ounce of life right out of me. I forgot how to breath while i was racing home. Maybe, just maybe I thought, he would be waiting there for me. As i pulled into the drive way, I seen that wasn't the case. I wanted to die right then and there. I didn;t get the chance to tell my son goodbye. I just wanted to get out of the car, and hide in my room. It was coming, i just knew it.. I could feel it, the point where I would finally crack. As I sat down at my computer desk. There it was. Scrolling on my computer, was the best thing I have ever seen.. " I LOVE YOU MOM ~ JAMES" I cried the rest of the night, sitting there, watching those world float around my computer. I was off the next day and didn't quite know how i was going to get through it. My phone rang, it was my son. He stopped at his fathers house for the night, and would be fishing that evening. I was asked to join them. Not having said good by to my son, not hugging him one more time. Not telling him I loved him. Was the only thing going through my mind. Even if it meant going to my ex's house. I changed my clothes, hopped in my car, and drove with a mission. I wasn't going to take any time away from the visit with his father. I just had to see him face to face. I had to tell him how proud of him i was. How so very much I love him. And I did just that.
|The smile that lights up my life|
It is those eyes. That face. That smile. That I need to see. As I watched him fish, a movie played him my head. The first time i held him.. The first time he cried. When he first looked into my soul and called me mama. His little hands. Those little feet. His first steps. His love of video games. Love of fishing. When he would walk into the kitchen and say "What's cooking good lookin." How he would bite the shoulder of his shirt, always leaving a wet spot. His love of the stars. The blond hair girl friend he would tell me about. The baseball cards he collected. And every time he would look at me and smile, like he could always see into my soul.
As the day came to an end. And I had to say my goodbyes. I made sure that the hug would last me until the next time; when I could hold him again. And still, that wasn't long enough. The life of a Navy Military Mom brings many twist and turns. I still cry at some songs on the radio. I pray to the stars every night, holding his catholic saint (I wear it around my neck, and have since June of 2008). And on his first deployment.. I was gone with him.. as my world slowed even more, but that is another blog.