“You have 60 seconds to say your farewells,” a member of the cadre announced as we all stood and prepared for our goodbyes.
A petite framed cadet whom I really wanted to hate was just doing her job. I don’t envy her of having the task of separating parent and family from child.
It was like every sentence she was saying felt like a Peanuts cartoon where Snoopy just hears, “blah, blah, blah, blah.”
Of course all of us knew it was coming, the mood was solemn as we all filed in and took our seats. I wasn’t the only weepy mom in the bunch so I felt a kindred spirit among us.
There was such a feeling of love and pride, but we all entered into some private, intimate place in our hearts and hugged our babies for the final time for a long while like we were the only ones in the place. Nate grabbed his meager belongings and confidently strode to the front of the auditorium and never looked back.
That was a good thing because if I had seen his face one more time, I would have taken it as a sign to rush forward to get him. I know he is divinely placed where the Lord wants him to be and this is perhaps the most unselfish thing I have ever done as a mother. We prayed and prayed for the Lord to put him where he was supposed to go. I cannot second guess my Heavenly Father. Saying goodbye and letting my beloved child set forth into a new life, I am filled with tears and pride, both never ending.
I remember child birth being very painful but this is really rough. I was in labor for four hours, and it hurt like crud and this process is much longer. West Point is such an austere and noble place, I am humbled to have a son who is in the class of 2012 and have the hat, t-shirt and matching handbag to prove it. I shall be wearing black, gold and gray for a really long time. There is a dignity and a respect I don’t recall seeing at other college campuses we visited. This is the right place for my son and I am thankful to have met a lot of nice guys Nathan will soon be calling friends. Take a look and click here at this link to see what his first day was like. OY!
We are all entering a new phase in our lives. After saying our farewells, there were two floors of vendors and organizations to greet us. Nearly ever booth had a box of Kleenex. It was reassuring to see that in the midst of all this decorum and granite, they had chiseled out a lot of compassion and concern.
We arrive home tomorrow and I do laundry which will include some of Nathan’s dirty clothes. It will be the saddest load of laundry I have ever done in my life thus far. I found the toe nail clippers he used before we dropped him off at West Point. They were in the hotel bathroom and yep, I cried.
Motherhood is not for the faint of heart. I am the mama of a soldier. I am the PROUD mama of a soldier. Go Army, Beat Navy, Huah!
Psalm 63:7- 8
For you have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.
My soul clings to You; Your right hand upholds me.
I am weepy just reading your blog. But you made it through! Army Strong! My heart is with you as you go through this time of letting go. We will pray for Nate as he goes through the summer. I love the picture of all the Army paraphanalia – it brings back many memories. We are looking forward to more – with you all at WP! Love you all, Gigi
Thank you Gigi!
This is beautiful, Cindy! Praying for you, praying for Nate, praying for your family. The Lord is with you!
Thank you! It was one of the most intensely emotional experiences I’ve ever had! It has prepared me for all the other Army moments.
So beautiful and so very true. Although my cadet is about to graduate this still brings me to tears. I have a photo from the parade from R-Day still sitting in my kitchen window. I see it everyday. I supposed it is time to replace it. So much has changed since that day. He has truly become a man and is no longer the boy we said goodbye to on R-Day.
So true, Carol. I know when Nate looks at some of his pictures of plebe year and reads his letters from Beast, he’s embarrassed because he thinks he was such a wimp back then! I hardly think so, I greatly admired his courage and strength as much then as I do now. Congrats to your son on his impending graduation. It’s so momentous! Thanks for your comment too!