Proud Military Mom

I wrote this article a few years ago, and it was originally published in the Detroit Free Press Twist Magazine on November 10, 2007. Earlier this week, one of our youngest son’s friends left for the U.S. Air Force-BMT. Late last year, the daughter of another family we know enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves. To these young people – thank you! And to the military moms and dads, we are here for you!

Proud military mom – BY LYNNE COBB

Last Veterans Day, Lynne Cobb wrote about having her husband away at war in Iraq. This year, Lynne tells us about the mixed emotions of her son joining the military. This is her story.

Labor Day weekend, as many parents were packing up their kids and sending them to college, I watched my oldest son, David, scrutinize his very short list and place his few authorized belongings into a nondescript duffle bag. No microwaves or futons going with him. He was off to U.S. Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT).

BMT is a whole new world. Your child leaves with one bag — no computer, no cell phone — no texting, instant messaging or calling. You do not get to talk to your child until he or she has the opportunity to call you. The first call will be about two minutes — enough for you to get an address. Mail service is slow. I found the lack of communication to be unnerving. Not quite a year since his dad’s return from Iraq, my son was off and running on a new adventure. Excitement and apprehension ran high for the family. I wrestled my emotions — pride, fear and the realization that our family would never be the same.

As the weeks of training continued, I found myself wondering what was more difficult — being a military wife or being a military mom and sending my son to training and possibly war. The first few days of my son’s departure, I was in tears. When I went two days without crying, I felt I had made progress. There were days I would hear his favorite song and smile; other days that song would reduce me to tears. I’d see his truck parked outside and think, “He’s home,” only to realize a split-second later that, no, he really wasn’t.

I never realized just how much I’d miss him, that the ache would be so intense. It was like an emotional replay of my husband’s deployment. And, as with that deployment, my emotions ran the gambit between pride, lonely emptiness and worry. The emotional parallel is nearly identical, though I felt the need to go and rescue my son.

My husband has been supportive of my mixed bag of feelings. There is great comfort in having such a close source to answer my questions. We joke as to whom I should root for during the Army-Air Force football game.

My husband and I were blessed to be at our son’s graduation from BMT. It was an experience we’ll never forget and an event I wish every American could witness. To see almost 1,000 recruits graduate and take the oath to defend our nation is a moment I’ll never forget. While hearing the national anthem, seeing the U.S. flag as well as the flags of the 50 states and U.S. territories waving in the warm Texas breeze was a sight to behold. Not only was I a proud mother, but a proud American.

I am so very proud of the decision my son made to serve our nation. I am humbled by, and I thank, those who have made the same decision, and for those who will do the same. I thank the parents who supported their child’s decision.

No matter what the future holds, with faith and prayer, we will survive the miles between us, wherever he may be called to serve.

Are you a military mom? Have you experienced sending your child off to boot camp? How did you handle it? Let me know in the comments section. And again, thank you for service as a military family!

© Lynne Cobb – 2014

David's Graduation and Texas Trip 001

12 Replies to “Proud Military Mom”

  1. This is a great post, Lynne. You should be a proud wife and mom. I know the feelings of sending a son off to BMT. I also remember when I flew out of DTW on the way to San Antonio for BMT. Is was one of the most difficult things I had to do. Now that I look back at it, the experience was really great for me. I believe that if more young adults were to enlist in the military service, they would learn so much and we would have a better world to live in. Keep up the great writing!

    1. Thanks, Bob. I can’t even imagine leaving all that is familiar for the unfamiliarity of BMT! Thank you, and your son, for your service.

  2. I haven’t sent either son (one is special needs so will never go) off to boot camp, though I was really lonely for my eldest went he went all the way across the country to college. Even though I knew it was what he wanted, and right for him to leave, I sure did miss him. As to him, he rarely called because he was having so much fun. I doubt that parallels your son’s experience!!

  3. This is a beautiful article. I will never forget the day my son left for bootcamp. I was scared to death.
    My best friend passed away a few weeks ago and her 17-year-old daughter is headed to Paris Island in July. All of her Mom’s closest friends and I are coming up with a plan to support her through bootcamp and beyond. I am biting my nails.

    1. Thank you, Doreen. I totally understand your fear. And that is so very compassionate of you and your friends to support your best friend’s daughter when she will need all of you the most. Pass our sincere thanks along to that young lady, and to your son. They’re both lucky to have you!!

  4. Sitting here with tears running down my face. I couldn’t have said exactly how I felt any better. So proud, so humbled, so in awe of my only son. It wasn’t until he left for BMT that it really hit me. Our family will never be the same. I will always be waiting. It brought a whole new meaning to the words soldier, sacrifice, family, pride, and fear.
    He is probably happy as heck! The only son with 4 sisters….probably couldn’t wait to go. Lol!
    I wait for the door to open. I expect him to come around the corner. I forget he is not going to be home for dinner. The silliest thing makes the tears flow. I know it will be better soon.
    Not being able to afford to go to his Graduation in February never goes away though. I can’t stand the thought of him there with no family to tap him out and none of us to share his past 8 1/2 weeks with. What happens to the Airmen who have no one there to spend their leave with? Do they make them stand on the field until all the others are tapped out?
    I know he will be able to come home sometime after tech school if there is time before he goes to his base. That day can’t come soon enough.

    1. Oh, I so know what you are going through! It does get better. The first few weeks were the hardest, and we weren’t even sure we would be able to attend graduation. Please don’t feel bad about that, as there are many graduates whose families can’t attend. And they are not singled out – they will get the time off just as the grads who have family there. A lot of times, the families that do attend will also take the graduates whose family can’t attend with them to dinner, etc. There are curfews in place, so there isn’t as much time to do things off base as one would think. It is my sincere hope you get to see your son between tech school and his assignment. Please thank him for his service, and by extension, thank you and your family for your service! Hugs! Contact me if you need a MilMom to lean on! <3

  5. Thank you for letting me know that the separation anxiety that I feel is not just my own selfish need to keep my son close. He leaves tomorrow and I know I will cry.

    1. Yes, you will cry. And that’s okay! Please thank him for his service. Feel free to contact me if you need some support or if you have any questions.

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