PPW Peer Pressure


I guess technically they call it peer pressure when you do something just because everyone else is doing it. I have devoted a large portion of my life encouraging teenagers to avoid peer pressure but this time, I have to say I joyfully succumbed to the temptation. I was sucked right in and I have no problem with that. 

Sure, you could diss me and say that I had a weak moment when Stacey, my friend and fellow Plebe mom, called and told me she was getting a West Point parka and that I HAD to have one.

Or you could say that you think I deserved it. That I had shown my mettle as a mom having survived leaving her baby at West Point for R-Day aka the proudest and saddest day of my life and that in some small measure, my new coat was a tiny reward for being a WP mom. 

Honestly it doesn’t matter to me. I am now the proud owner of a West Point parka, the same kind that the cadets wear and may I say, I like it. I like it a lot (said in the same way as Jim Carey did in Dumb and Dumber). 

Here is a picture of me before I had the parka. You will observe that I was lifeless, bummed out, like there was a hollow place in my heart. Sure I was wearing my West Point Mom sweatshirt and had my Proud Parent of a West Point Cadet canvas bag, but something was still missing. 

This is me seconds after donning the parka with the USMA 2012 patch on the pocket. Suddenly the clouds lifted, angels began singing and stringing their harps, birds began chirping, you get the idea! I was refreshed and invigorated. 

In fact, Stacey and I looked so fly in our parkas that when my husband took the picture, we over-exposed the picture! That’s how good we looked!  
It was pretty special seeing so many parents strutting around in their parkas. I saw one dad with his parka and the patches USMA 78 and 2012 which means he graduated from West Point and has a cadet currently enrolled. 

Although I have been eagerly anticipating spring, I confess I want the weather to turn cold for at least a few days. That way I will have an excuse to wear my parka to the grocery store or as I go speaking into schools. 

This heavy, black wool parka itches my bare skin but I will gladly pretend to be comfortable for a little while, in the hopes that someone will notice that I am wearing a West Point, standard issue parka! If you see me up at the Teeter (local grocery store), please gush over my latest purchase! Make a fool of yourself marveling at the craftsmanship and glamour of it all. I can’t wait to introduce you to my new coat! Where is snow when a West Point mama needs it!

Emotional Chicken Soup


The challenges of being a West Point mom began before I officially became a West Point mom. Oh the tears I shed last year as I prepared my heart for the strong likelihood that my beloved oldest OS would leave the nest and go far, far away. Y’all should have invested in Kleenex or any kind of “facial tissue product” during that time because you could have made some serious cash. 

At the slightest mention of West Point, I was prone to a watershed of tears. It didn’t take much for me to completely lose it and I can honestly say that my faith in Christ and abounding prayers saved me from going nuts. And don’t even get me started on that day at 6:30am when I gave my boy a final hug and he began R-Day which was probably the saddest and proudest day of my life. Here is a picture of the saddest and proudest day of my life
He’s more than halfway through his plebe year. It hasn’t been easy and that’s an understatement but my OS made the Distinguished Dean’s List and was Cadet of the Quarter in his company. Yes, I am bragging! 

But now he’s sick for the first time and I’m far away. It stinks because I can’t take care of him, (not that he would welcome his mom “babying” him at almost 19 years old) but I wouldn’t feel so hopeless. West Point isn’t the best place for a sick kid with a virus. It’s a breeding ground for germs since everyone lives in close quarters. With some prodding, we urged him to seek medical attention. Nate acquiesced but actually getting the medical attention is easier said then done.

In the civilian world, we call the doctor and schedule an appointment. Often we can be seen the same day. At West Point, (and I am so NOT trying to be disrespectful because I truly honor the military) you get your sick, lazy butt out of bed at 5:30AM, stand in line with other sick cadets and wait to be seen. You hopefully get to see the doctor but unlike at a traditional university, where you can probably skip class and recuperate, at WP you don’t get to chill in your room and get better.

Plus if there’s a snowstorm (and there was a biggie this week) and you’re sick, well that’s even worse. In that case, you get your sick, lazy, dragging butt out of bed at 5:30am and stagger into the blizzard. Once at Sick Call, you stand in line for an hour only to hear that they won’t be able to see you today. And then you take that same, sick, lazy, dragging, virus-ridden butt back out into the frozen tundra and back to class! 

Here is a picture from my plebe’s window on Monday. 
I feel so powerless! I am 10 hours away and my plebe is miserable! So what does a mama of a Soldier do? She prays. She prays with her husband. She prays by herself. She asks her friends to pray for her boy. She writes on his facebook wall. She calls him. She annoys and pesters him. Because she loves him. 

And she sends him emotional chicken soup. This idea came to me a few days ago as I thought, if he were here, I’d make him chicken soup replete with homemade chicken broth, maybe organic carrots, etc. But since I can’t, I send my plebe a steaming hot bowl of emotional chicken soup. Somehow it makes me feel better. And I hope it works just as well for him.

I will get to see Nate next week for Plebe Parent Weekend which will be so awesome but in the meantime, if you’re reading this, would you mind praying for my OS? Bless you!

Extreme Makeover


So with the clothing problem solved, upon the gentle yet insistent prodding of my mom and sisters, I made an appointment to get my hair styled and my makeup professionally applied.

There have been two times in my adult life when I have felt pretty.

The first time I recall was on my wedding day. 

The second time was on the night of the All Academy 

I began the day looking like this…I call this Before

You don’t have to tell me, I know, there was A LOT of work to do…(I took this nasty picture today so my pink highlights have faded quite a bit and Ike looks even gnarlier than me so ew…)

In the early afternoon, Julian did his magic and
 successfully completed Phase 1. 

At first I thought he gave me some old lady hair but that would probably be a stretch considering I have bright pink highlights in my hair, right? Little by little, I could see the transformation taking place. I began to like what I was seeing in the mirror!

If you read my previous post, you noted that I did not attend any high school dances. My heart was expectant and I thought to myself, “This is what it would have felt like to get ready for a Homecoming Dance or Prom.” I liked the feeling! 

Then I took my dreary face and fancy hair to Bobbi Brown Cosmetics.

Walking up to the makeup counters always intimidates me. 
My insecurity bubbles to the surface and I just know they are judging my appearance. I feel like I’m reading their minds as they assess my face and think to themselves, “That lady needs more concealer, mascara, better foundation, etc.” I’m probably wrong but I approach cosmetic counters with fear and trembling. Yet all my nervousness disappeared as the lovely young woman worked her magic. She made me feel comfortable and feminine and I sensed she was as excited for me to go to the All Academy Ball as I was. 

So after about 45 minutes, Tamsin, the young woman at Bobbi Brown, completed Phase 2. As my 20 month nephew Josiah would say, “Taa daa!” I drove home from the mall and was surprised each time I looked in the mirror. “That’s me!” I marveled.

With not a lot of time to spare, I came home, squirted on a little bit of perfume, put on my pretty clothes and we dashed off to the ball. It was a Cinderella moment. 

Just days before I had asked my husband if there was any way we could cancel and not go to the Ball. I had nothing to wear and was convinced I would have a rotten time and feel ugly and disappointed. But you know what that would have done? It would have only reminded me of that old, familiar, resigned feeling I experienced so many times in high school. I know I would have just thought, “Cindy, that’s just the way it is for you” and I would have spent the night in front of the stupid box aka tv just like I did so many times before. 

Instead I entered an elegant ballroom with my husband. Aside from the time when Mark nearly wiped out on a small piece of red leaf lettuce that was on the tile floor, (it was actually quite funny!), we had a perfect time. I felt like a star sitting at the table with my handsome man and my beautiful son and his date. We enjoyed a delicious dinner, even got engraved wine glasses as souvenirs and danced the night away. There were a lot of pretty girls and women there that
evening but I felt like the belle of the ball. 

Plebe Parent Weekend is in March and I’m already getting excited thinking about it! I hope I don’t sound stuck-up or conceited that you can simply see that an Extreme Makeover took place not only on the outside but also deep within my heart.