R-Day, 60 seconds

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“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.

Oh I held him so tight. Be strong, be strong, I tried to remind myself.

Oh I held him so tight. Be strong, be strong, I tried to remind myself.

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.

The Hubs and I weren't the only ones struggling.

The Hubs and I weren’t the only ones struggling.

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.

These boots are made for walking

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One of my favorite songs growing up was the Barbara Sinatra’s (Frank’s daughter) song “These boots are made for walking.”

As a little girl, I would put on a pair of boots and strut all over the house singing this song – full of attitude and sass.

Now fast forward, nearly 40 years later, that song comes back into my head because over the weekend, we went to Fort Bragg and bought Nathan a pair of combat boots.

It’s been highly recommended that he break them in before reporting to West Point on June 30. Fort Bragg is quite a place.

p1010916If you’re looking for a tattoo, a nudie girl joint or a hot dog, then I’d highly recommend Fort Bragg.

I didn’t find the place especially sophisticated or refined!

For this suburban mama, I was missing some of my creature comforts but at least we were able to get Nate his boots and he’s definitely walking in them.

When in the military recommended going to the mini-mall on base, I thought I could get some cool things at a cheap price. That wasn’t really the case.

We had to get our car inspected, our IDs checked, driver registration confirmed just to get on the base. Pretty serious stuff. I didn’t get anything special at the mini-mall unless of course you count that I got hit on by a little Eastern Indian fella. He started talking to me while I was looking at work-out clothes. It was creepy and I certainly didn’t expect it. At first I couldn’t even believe it was happening. My mom heard me talking to someone and then saw me scooting over to her. Finding love at the commissary definitely wasn’t on my agenda! Just give me the stinkin’ boots!

p1010912Since I was absolutely forbidden to take random photos of Nathan trying on boots, (which I wanted to do for you, my blog friends), I had to be very conservative with my picture-taking.

Nathan took a few of the crew comprised of Isaac, Mom and me. I don’t think any of us are fit for duty. The military isn’t that desperate – YET! Thank goodness!

Now we need to order his dress shoes. The ones without polish because at West Point you polish your shoes to perfection.

My own feet ache thinking about all the walking and running my boy is going to do in just two months. My heart hurts too but that’s for another post…probably a lot more posts.

West Point Mom = me

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p1010889The wait is over. The package arrived.

Our son has been accepted to United States Military Academy – West Point!

We were told that if Nathan was rejected, we would receive a phone call; if he was accepted, he would receive a package.p1010896

Just as I was ready to go and speak in a middle school, my husband calls and says, “Nathan got a package from West Point.”

It must have nearly killed Mark to not open the contents but he resisted temptation. p1010891

p1010905Mark captured the moment on camera. This is a very big deal. Our son will report to West Point bright and early 6:30 AM on June 30!

He will attend six weeks of rigorous training (affectionately known as Beast) and after successful completion, begin his 47 month journey at West Point.

I did not grow up in a military family so this is all so new to me.

New terminology, new people, new experiences for all of us, especially our son.

Our family will take him there and say goodbye and not hear much from him most of the summer.

I am not crying as I type this which shocks me.

I am proud, scared, overjoyed, nervous, excited, thrilled, sad and every feeling in between.

I know the Lord is teaching all of us some lessons and has placed all these pieces together for His glory.

I am the mama of a soldier, whoa.