When My Son Joined the Army


It wasn’t even on my radar. The Army had always been a “no way mom, that’s not for me” conversation. Then one day our son decided that he wanted to just go and ask some questions and get some information. The next thing I knew, he was handing me enlistment papers.

He had joined the Army.

When My Son Joined the Army at LifeInTheNerddom.com

He was 19. He had been out of school for a year working jobs that he really didn’t like. I knew he was miserable and lacked direction. As his parents, we did everything we knew to do to help him succeed, but nothing was helping. If anything, we were just making matters worse.

I’ll never forget the night he walked in with his papers. I felt like someone had kicked my legs out from under me. He would be leaving in just 4 short months.

I spent those four months trying to prepare. That’s what I do when I don’t know what else to do…I plan. It grounds and comforts me.

I told him we should buy the stuff he needed to take with him. He said he didn’t need anything.

I told him that we should go through his room and pack up the things that couldn’t just sit around for three years. He said he would do that after Basic Training.

So he spent four months hanging with his friends and going to weekly fitness tests.

I spent four months fretting and losing sleep and trying to act like everything was just fine.


He's In The Army Now

Then the day arrived - August 22, 2016. The last time my little boy would ever be in my house. He would come back four months later a man.

We left our house that day and took him to the local Army recruiter’s office. They would shuttle him a couple of hours away to the nearest base. That day wasn’t terribly awful because I knew that I would see him the next morning. We were going to drive to the base to spend the morning with him before he left for Fort Benning. Still, watching him walk away with that recruiter was hard…SO hard.

The next day we set out early for Fort Jackson. We were able to spend several hours with him while he finished processing, took his oath to serve and waited for his turn to leave.

They had the families line the walkway and wave little American Flags while all of these brave young men and women boarded vans that would take them to their new lives. I stood there watching them file by thinking they are all so young. They are really just babies, barely beginning to understand what the world is really about, and they are prepared to die for their country.

By the time my son walked by I could barely keep it together. I waved my little flag and smiled and clapped because I wanted him to see how proud we were of him. Inside, I wanted to die. I wanted to hug him and beg him not to go. I wanted to be selfish and keep him safe with me.

He hopped on his shuttle van, we hopped in our mini-van, and we went in opposite directions.

I spent the two-hour ride home in a daze. I couldn’t even cry. I needed to process all that had happened in the last 24 hours, but my brain just couldn’t grasp the enormity of it.

Nothing….NOTHING….could have prepared me for this journey.

When My Son Joined the Army @ LifeInTheNerddom.com

I Didn’t Expect This

You see, I knew absolutely nothing about the military. No one in my immediate family had even been in the military. I knew only what I had been told or seen in the movies, and we all know how reliable that is.

No one bothered to tell me what came next.

Oh, they told me that he would go to Fort Benning and stay in processing for at least 5 days up to 2 or 3 weeks, depending on a variety of factors. I knew sortof what he would be doing while he was there. I had watched all of the Making of a Soldier videos on YouTube. I was informed!  (sarcasm)

What no one told me was that it would feel like he was dead.

One day he was here, the next day he wasn’t. There was no packing, no transition period, he was just gone. I couldn’t call him, talk to him, text him. I had no idea where he was or what he was doing, or even if he was ok. It was as if he had dropped off the face of the planet.

I cry just thinking about it. It was horrible.

Maybe stronger women handle it differently. I was a blubbering idiot for weeks prone to crying spells in the middle of the grocery store or driving down the road. 

I’m 8 months into this journey, and I still have moments when I just cry out of the blue.

I miss my kid.

I can’t help it.

I wish someone had told me how hard it was going to be.


Let’s Get Real

If you are reading this because you are about to become a military mom for the first time then allow me a moment of complete and brutal honesty.

You cannot prepare for what is about to take place.

Your life will never be the same the moment your child gets on that bus, or plane, or shuttle van. I thought I knew that, and you will too, but the truth is that we don't.

There are some things that you can do to make things a little easier at least. Things that I wish someone had told me about a year ago when this journey began. Hopefully, these suggestions will make your journey a little easier.


Lean on Jesus

If you don’t know Jesus, please get to know Him. My faith has sustained me. Knowing that God has my son’s, and our family’s, best interest in mind - no matter what - has been the thing that grounds me and encourages me and keeps me from falling completely apart.

I honestly don’t know how anyone does military without God, I truly don’t.


If You Don’t Read Anything Else…

Buy the book Be Safe, Love Mom by Elaine Brye.


Read it, and then read it again, and again. Read it every time you think you might go insane not knowing what is going on with your kid. Elaine is a mother of four children, each of them in a different branch of the military. She has been through it all, and wrote a book about it! Her wisdom is so incredibly helpful.

Here are some of my favorite quotes from the book.

During Military Mom Basic Training, we learn to let go - or at least to try to let go, to start to let go. Our sudden lack of control over our son’s or daughter’s safety and destiny becomes painfully obvious, as we have no access to our kids at all..

It’s a strange situation we moms are in. We have to develop our calluses and get hardened to the hurt but at the same time stay flexible and make the best of what we do have. We have to stretch beyond where we thought we could stretch yet keep our feet firmly planted on the ground…Because at some point, all hell breaks loose.

And perhaps the hardest sentence to swallow in the entire book…

As far as the military is concerned, mothers don’t ever need to know.


Education is Key

Learn as much as you can about the branch your child is joining. Learn all of those military acronyms and what they stand for because your kid will suddenly have a whole new cryptic language.

Find out what happens during Basic Training and what happens afterward. What about the MOS they’ve chosen? Do you understand what it is and what is involved? What will their daily job be like after Basic?

There are numerous places on the internet where you can find out just about anything you’d want to know.


Find Support

Find a support group of military parents. I found a fabulous support group on Facebook and the mother’s there were amazingly helpful women. I strongly encourage you to find one before your child leaves for basic training.

As Elaine Brye shares in her book (mentioned above):

The band of military mothers and fathers is strong, and its members know the price we all pay to let go time and time again. Other military parents can help you carry your backpack on the days it feels loaded with cement blocks. Whether you find them in person or virtually or simply know they’re out there battling with you in spirit, it’s a comfort and a gift to realize that you are not alone.

I couldn’t agree more.

These groups can be rather difficult to locate since a lot of military stuff is so secretive. If you’re looking for a support group and can’t find one please feel free to contact me. I will do my best to help you find one.

When My Son Joined the Army at LifeInTheNerddom.com

Blue Star Mothers

Find your local Blue Star Mothers chapter and attend a meeting. Networking with other military moms who understand where you are is immensely helpful. Even if you don’t FEEL like it, go anyway.


Allow Yourself to Grieve

It took me quite a while to realize that I needed to grieve. I had all of these incredibly strong emotions that kept bubbling over (at the most inopportune times I might add) and I could not make sense of them.

I kept telling myself to pull it together, that I was being a big baby. After all, my son is a grown man right? Why on earth couldn’t I just move on??

Then it hit me one day...I had to grieve.

Grieve the loss of life as we knew it, the loss of control, the loss of being able to protect my child, the loss of his presence in our home, the loss of who he was before he entered the gates of Fort Benning, the loss of my normal!

When we think of grieving we generally associate it with death, but there are times when we just need to grieve because life will never be the same again.

This is one of those times.

Embrace that and go through the grieving process.


I’ll part with a few encouraging words…

I’d like to leave you with a rather lengthy quote from Elaine Brye’s book. I have this section of her book underlined, highlighted and starred repeatedly because it has been the source of the most encouragement these past few months. Whenever I feel overwhelmed, I read it as a reminder.

When a child leaves home for college or a job, it can be an unsettling and sad transition, even if it’s exciting too. Your child has just left home not for college, or for a job, but in order to become a warrior, to willingly fight in some of the most dangerous places and situations in the world. It makes sense that the experience feels daunting to you, even harrowing.

Every military career begins with a grueling, intense, and agonizing initiation period…It’s designed this way because our sons and daughters must immediately and irreversibly strip themselves of their old identities, their former lives. Because life as they know it will never be the same.

The same is true for the families back home. While our loved ones are away, acclimating to their new lives as soldiers, we also are undergoing our own initiation period, adjusting to our new identities as military mothers and fathers and wives and children. The shock of this new life is not absorbed more easily just because we have the comforts of home and other family and friends around us. The loss is just the same. Letting go - of our sons and daughters, of our control, of our old lives - requires the courage of a warrior and the endurance of a marathoner. We need to understand that we are at the beginning of a long and steep road.

I do know this: after you take the first step on that long and steep road, the second step will follow. And then the third, and the fourth, and eventually, the process will be almost as automatic as breathing: one foot will follow the other, again and again and again. Each day you’ll wake up and letting go will get just a tiny bit easier.

But you must take that first step. You must let your children climb aboard that bus to follow their calling. And we will all march on.


Amen sister, amen!

When I first read that I called Mrs. Brye a liar - out loud if I recall correctly. My son had barely been gone a week and I was in so much pain. I didn’t believe her at the time, but I’ve learned that it’s all true. It does get easier.

And when you see your child in their uniform you are going to be so incredibly proud that you'll feel like you will burst. He (or she) will return to you more complete, more confident and sure of himself, and more appreciative of his family.

It’s so hard to go through, to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but in the end, it’s so worth it.


Are you a military mom, or soon to be one? I’d love to hear your story! Please share in the comments below.


Linking up at Mommy Moments


This post contains referral links for your convenience. For more information, please see my Policies Page. Thanks!


You May Also Like:

Posted in Family Life, Military Mom and tagged , .


  1. Pingback: Teaching My Kids the True Meaning of Memorial Day - Life in the Nerddom

    • Hi Judith. Please thank your son for his service! And thank you for taking a moment to stop by The Nerddom.

  2. Hello! My son, and only child, is leaving to basic in a month. Some days I am OK, and others I just want to stay home and cry. He is enlisted for 6 years….6 years. Hard pill to swallow. Trying to be strong because I do not want him to worry about me when he leaves. But yes, I wish I could beg him to stay. However I know the army will provide him a way to reach his dreams in a way I can’t. Really wish I was a millionaire. Thank you for your story!!!! I hope you can follow up on your experience with AIT and when they get shipped for their MOS.

    • You can do this! I realize that sounds impossible at the moment but it does get better. Never easy, but better. Please read Elaine Brye’s book and get plugged into a support group. It really does help!

    • I just found this article and saw your post. I took have an only son who enlisted last year ( May 2017). He is 24 never married and no kids. It has been the hardest experience- and I thought being a single mom was hard but this is harder! I felt exactly like you- and some days just driving to work and looking at the sun makes me cry! But I am so proud of him and the complete man that walked through my door after basic and AIT. God speed for your son’s Army journeys.

  3. My oldest is leaving in Jan for basic….I’m a wreck and trying to hold it together for my 4 younger ones. I’ve had to protect him thru so much in his life and now he expects me to just let him go lol. We don’t know anyone in this situation so everyone just says well he’s an adult time to let go. Well it’s NOT that easy. He wants infantry on top of it all and I’m just scared out of my mind and can only think of all the bad things when I get thinking….but like you I feel proud….just incredibly scared! He’s almost living these last 3 months as a bucket list and last days of sorts. Hard for this mom to grasp…..I know many many moms for 100’s of yrs have done this, I just don’t think I’m strong enough! I will be buying that book for sure!

    • Your story sounds like a repeat of our own! Our son spent the last few weeks hanging out with his friends, going on trips, etc. and he went straight infantry as well. You can do this! I will send you some resources via email. Thanks so much for taking a moment to share your story!

      • I can’t believe I found this page and all of these stories seem to mirror my own. My husband and I are heartbroken and in need of a support group for parents. Like so many others, I son will be shipping off to Fort Benning in July 2019 and we don’t know what to expect. My husband is so traumatized, he’s had to seek counseling. I’m grateful for this page and all the other parents on here. May each of your children be safe and protected.

  4. My son is at basic right now at Fort Leonardwood. this is the hardest thing I have ever done . People say I’m craxy when I tell them that this is harder than when I had to bury my dad. To grieve someone that is alive is heart wrenching. I was hoping as time went on it got a little easier but it’s the total opposite. He sent me a letter last week and he told me he had to be hospitalized for a day bc he had pneumonia. Now if that didn’t make my worries worse. How did u get thru it ?

    • Kristy, I can’t say that it ever gets easier, but it does get better. You get better at coping and find a new normal. I am 18 months into this adventure and I still have difficult days. Support is absolutely crucial! If you’d like, I would be happy to email you a link to a fabulous Facebook support group. Hang in there, mama. You will get through this I promise.

  5. Thank you so much for writing this! My son has been flirting with the idea of joining the Army for about a year. I thought he had decided against it, but just informed me he is joining. I feel like someone kicked me in the stomach. I had tears in my eyes reading this. He and I have an amazing relationship and it hurts beyond belief to think he’ll be leaving. Again, thank you!

  6. I had tears reading this! I’ve been here and done all of that. How about that phone call they have to make that scripted and then they just hang up.. talk about a cry fest!!! My son has been in for almost a year, he is active duty and currently station in Alaska, we are no where near Alaska. My second oldest leaves in June(active duty as well) he will be going to basic and AIT at the same places his older brother went. It will be interesting to see how much harder it is for you to have to walk away from a second child. I’m dreading it. Our third has plans to join as well.. and our youngest I’m just going to keep and never let him leave! Ladies, it does get easier.. once they are done with AIT and report to their duty station or come home if they are reserve.. you get to FaceTime and call and text as much as you want! Well when they aren’t working that is.
    Your child will show (like the author mentioned) a much greater love and appreciation for his family. They become a whole new person. And you’ll catch yourself wanting to mention how YOUR child is a soldier! Because you are so very proud! It’s a rough start, but is so worth it in the end!

    • Tasha, you’re right, that scripted phone call is terrible! I got mine at 4:15 am! When I answered the phone my son said “Wow, I didn’t think you’d answer!” then started his script. Ha!

      He was almost stationed in Alaska. He called us while we were on the way to BCT graduation to tell us that he wasn’t going there after all. Didn’t find out his FDS until after Turning Blue. That was a roller coaster weekend!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing!

  7. Oh this is so true! My son went to Infantry at Ft Benning in June 2017. You put my feelings into words. There were points when I was sobbing while reading this. I hadn’t thoughtof it in terms of grief.
    Great read!

      • Thank you for writing this. I just shared it with my 3 biggest supporters, my BFFs from church, lol. My son leaves in 11 weeks for Ft. Sill. He is currently a senior in high school and has been in the Future Soldier program since August. I went through a TERRIBLE first couple of months after signing away my parental rights since he is 17 and will still be 17 until after basic. I have gotten better….that is up until now… Not only is he about to graduate high school, but he will leave 3 short weeks after graduation for BCT. So I am having a hard time. I have an AMAZING support group on fb. And an even more amazing church community.
        Anyway… Thank you for being Army Mom Strong and helping others to be as well.

  8. Mrs. Nerfer,
    I came across your story and couldn’t believe just how much it reminded me of what I went through when my son joined the Army at 18. He had only been out of high school for 3 weeks when he left for Basic Training. That was July 2016. Every single sentence in your story is so incredibly similar to my story, it was as if I was reading my own story. My son was just deployed overseas for the first time last week and it’s been nothing short of a roller coaster ride to he’ll and back. To this day I still remember and still feel the pain that I have experienced since the day he left. After the initial “goodbye” before basic training, I too was left with terribly dark thoughts and feeling like I just wanted to die. My son always said “Mom, you need to cut the cord”. So easy for him to say but so incredibly difficult for us moms to do. I still really haven’t “cut the cord”. Not sure I ever will!
    Thank you for posting your story. It always feels encouraging to me that there are other military moms out there that are in the same situation.

    K. May-Franklin

    • Kari, your son went in the month before mine 🙂 It IS very encouraging to know there are others in the same boat. Thanks for sharing!

  9. Thank you so much for this article! My son (youngest of three and still think of him as my baby boy) went to college for 1 year and a semester before, completely out of the blue, coming home one weekend to tell us he was enlisting in the Army. We had never expected it and were quite frankly blown away. He was afterall nearly 20 years old so there is no way of stopping him and we certainly did not want to discourage it. We had always supported our children’s decisions and guided them to be independent adults. He is now 8 weeks into Basic Training. I went through the same “greiving” process… so much worse in the beginning. I felt such emptiness in our home and in my heart. It’s true… everyday it gets a little better. Having said that, I still worry about him. I still feel that emptiness and I still miss him. He has been able to call us a few times. The blessing for me is that he has sounded happy and at peace. Honestly the happiest he has sounded in a very long time. And as I look forward to seeing him on May 24th, 2018 on graduation day, I know I will see a different person really. No longer a little boy but now a grown man who will be serving our country. I couldn’t be any prouder of him. ❤

    • You’re right….that emptiness is tough. I still feel it too and he’s been gone 18 months. I think there’s something about having them ripped from our lives in the way they are…takes a little longer to adjust and learn to accept the new normal in our lives. You’re also right about the person you’ll see on May 24th. He will be very different. It is amazing to me the changes in our son, most of which are good 🙂 Thank you for taking the time to share!

  10. My son has been in for a year now, and everything yo9u have said is everything i have felt and more. Thank you for sharing.

  11. We dropped our 18 year old off at the airport on 8-28-2017. He has signed up with the Nat’l Guard and was headed to basics. We hugged and said our “see ya laters”. I thought wow, that went pretty good. Much better than what had played out in my mind. We drove the one hour home. He was the youngest of two. The last one at home. I unlocked the door and walked in…there sat his shoes and that was the end of “wow, that went well”. Broke down in tears. Over the weeks it got easier. Basic graduation came and went. He went off to AIT, came home for Christmas then left again. You think you are okay, then on the radio station comes “Boy” by Lee Brice and you lose it all over again. You catch yourself listening to military songs, pinning military mom pins on Pinterest, looking at uniformed soldiers with even more pride than you ever had before. I am so proud of my son but extremely emotional in so many ways. He wrote a Will and signed up for 6 years at the age of 17. This is what he has dreamed of since he was about 5 years old. He’s part of the 1% who is willing to protect our freedom but he’s still my little boy. He graduates from AIT next week. He will start the next phase of his military career and we will start ours.

    • You’re right Paula, there are a few songs that bring out all of the emotion! I can’t listen to the National Anthem without crying, or even say the Pledge of Allegiance for that matter! How we look at things changes forever, right? Thank you so much for stopping by and taking a moment to share your story.

  12. Wish I would have read all of these reflections a few months ago. My son was attending U of M on scholarship when he decided, after a very successful first year, to join the Navy. It has been heart wretching for me. He was always my shy guy, hiding behind my leg, welling up with tears as he left for school, choosing to stay home vs go out with friends as he got older. However, he has always wanted to be the best of the best! So, off he went. He is currently at Great Lakes but headed for San Diego soon. So proud, so scared, so empty and so trusting that God’s got this!

    • Mine was always a quiet one as well, Sue. He’s still a man of few words, but there’s this underlying confidence now. You’ll see it in your boy too 🙂 Thank you for sharing your story.

    • After reading this post, I’m so glad I’m not alone. My only son (19) leaves for boot camp in 5 short days. I’ve been a ball of tears, attempting to hold it together (w/o success). Thank you for sharing. I plan on ordering the book asap, to help me through this.

  13. My son also enlisted in Aug 2016. Headed to Ft. Benning and is now in TX. My other son just recently enlisted and is now at Benning. So many things I agree with you it’s like we’ve lived parallel lives and our son’s did too!! Lol this Army life is tough and it’s hard not having them home. I’ve never been so sad, worried, excited, and PROUD all at the same time. I bawled going to grocery store and standing next to the hot pockets broke down bc I couldn’t buy them. I found that random acts of tears became my new normal as well. I found a great group on line as well. I would add that if you don’t find a Blue Star Moms group in your area, start one I did and you will be so surprised at how many mommas you have in your area. Thank You for sharing your story!!! HOOAH Momma 🇺🇸💚🇺🇸

    • I feel you on that grocery store thing! I’ve cried in the grocery store, at red lights where I would remember a conversation we had waiting there, when I would ride by places he would hang out…ugh, it was terrible for a while. I’m certain people thought I was insane 🙂 Thanks so much for stopping by!

  14. Hi. Our Son always spoke about joining the USA ARMY, since he was a little boy. However I was really Proud and Happy when he decided to attend college. I thought he had change his mind… Almost 19 month’s after his college graduation, he “said Mom, Dad am ready to follow my dream”. We’ve alway’s encourage our kid’s to follow their dreams. …. I really did not expect his deployment be as fast as it did. I never forget how happy he was when he took his test and Ace’d it. I was proud of how smart my baby was. But the entire process from the test to deployment took less than 4 week’s.
    I am extremely proud of him but, I cry every day. I miss him do much.
    I wish I read you’r post sooner.
    Thank you for all your help and support.
    Strong Army Mom!!!

    • Bless you, Judy. What a whirlwind ride! Our prayers are with you and your soldier. I have a son-in-law that serves as well who is currently deployed. It is tough to have them so far away and not be able to see them for such a long period of time. I am thankful that we have modern conveniences such as internet and cell phones to keep in touch with them! I cannot imagine how hard it was for families before those things! Thanks so much for sharing your story!

  15. Reading this brought me right back to those dark days of mourning. My son has been gone for 13 months. He is enlisted in the Air Force, and currently stationed overseas. At 20 he left us, and I have never been the same. I still can cry just getting lost in my own thoughts in my head. But , thank god for technology and sandboxx letters. Thank you for sharing your story. Just knowing that I wasn’t the only one feeling that way too is comforting. My God bless our children as the serve and always keep them safe! The power of prayer is huge. I just ordered that book!!!

    • Thank you, Gina, for taking a moment to share. You’re absolutely right, prayer is incredibly powerful! I hope you enjoy the book. It is such a helpful resource!

  16. Wow. I’m so happy to have read this. I too have referenced the same section of Be Safe, Love Mom!!!. I’m in so much shock at how fast the last 6.5 months flew, and next week my soldier graduates as a 68W. This was a great read… we aren’t ever alone, as we remain ARMY Mom Strong!

    • Isn’t it a fabulous book? Mine is falling apart I have referenced it so often. You’re right about time flying. It seems to creep by at first, but then it’s gone in a flash. We’re 18 months in now! Crazy. Thank you for taking a moment to share!

  17. Thank you so much! I’m a newby at this. My son just left to Basic Training on Monday. The days prior to Monday I cried, that day i cried like a baby. I cry in the car where no one can see me. Why does everyone tell me to stop crying? I tell my self his not dead, I know where he is. I pray to Our Lord Jesus and His Mother Mary. Is so hard to let him go. I want time to fly! I want to hold my baby boy! I will follow ur suggestion, will look for a group to help make things a bit pleasant. Thank you again

  18. Yes, definitely exactly my story. I feel like I just read about myself and what I have experienced in the last 9 months since my son joined the military! My son is now on deployment and I have never prayed so much in my life as I do now! Counting down the days when I will get to see my son. You have beautifully written on point what we all experience and go through when our children have joined the military. Thank you for sharing your story and helping us all feel like we are not alone in our new roles as military parents.

  19. Omg. This is a hard read. As I have locked myself in the bathroom crying because my son is at the very beginning and heading to MEPS next week.
    Being a stay a home mom I remember thinking that all thoses sleepless night will go away. But they don’t. I know I have to let him go but it’s hard! Thank you for this read. It’s gonba be a long road ahead!

  20. As I read this I felt like I was reliving the days leading up to and the day my son left for basic.. He 19. His story is very much the same as yours.. He had no direction wasn’t happy.. instead of him showing me his papers I got a text message.. well Mom.. it’s a done deal. I signed the papers today.. I’m joining the army.. GUT PUNCH!!! He turned 19 on Dec 30 and left on Jan 2nd.. this is a new adventure for us as well.. never thought this was part of my plan.. Army Mom.. but what I have learned is.. to be brave and accept the challenge.. if my son can willingly step up for his country.. I can step up and support him every step of the way.. I had to grieve.. I grieved his childhood.. that he didn’t need me anymore.. that he was stepping into adult life and leaving me behind.. and I agree.. the only way I gain my strength is through Jesus.. he sustains me daily.. thank you so much for sharing… #armystrong #armymom #weraisedourheros

  21. Out of the blue my son said he wanted to join the National Guard. Wow! That’s great! We dropped him off with the recruiter the day he left for basic and said our see ya laters and I was surprised no tears were shed. He came home over Christmas and dropping him off at the airport was a little tougher, but still went well. No tears came until graduation from basic. I am not sure I have stopped since. Trying to stay strong for the other children, but it is getting more and more difficult. This is the reality of trying to let go. And it’s not going very well. I too have recently come to realize that I need to mourn life as we knew it and the fact that I have essentially lost my boy. He is now a grown man and a soldier. Nothing will ever be the same and I thinks it sucks that there is not a transition period. It changes in the blink of an eye. And no one that hasn’t gone through it will never understand. I am so incredibly proud of my son and would never try to discourage him from following his dreams. I don’t think any of us would, but what I wouldn’t do for one day to just sit and talk to him again. Like it was before. Knowing what I know now.

  22. My son just arrived at his fds after graduating osut at ft Benning…..he went from 6 hrs away to know 3100 miles away. He’s only 18 and we are super close but now he’s distancing himself and it’s killing me! His siblings and I miss him so much …I’m afraid he’s now having too much freedom and will forget about us all together….it’s just hard the army does nothing to keep families together and I don’t want my son to think it’s ok to lose us, he’s my best friend and now he’s just gone

  23. My son just left Tuesday March 27th for the Air Force. My heart is broken into. His dad and I divorced when he was 3 and had joint/shared custody until he was 5. Then he lived with his father full time and me every other weekend which was rapidly weeded out until I barely saw him at all. That’s a whole other chapter in life though. So, he recently moved in with me about 6 mos ago not long after turning 18. He technically would be graduating high school this June, but he graduated early and decided he didn’t want to walk or go to prom and wanted to go ahead and join. In the first week after moving in with my husband and I he transferred to a new high school, got a new job, and didn’t look back. I am still amazed at the huge decisions and changes he made with such strength. He knew he didn’t want to go down the college road at this time and he didn’t want to hang around and work locally like his father wanted him to, so he took the advice of my husband which was in the Army and starting looking into the military route. He decided that was the path and didn’t look back. Meanwhile, the two of us started building our relationship back and it feels like it was just Christmas and I was thinking to myself how March 27th was a couple months away and we had a lot of time to spend together. Well, we all know how fast time flies when it comes to your children. There is never enough of it. I was just getting to know him again after not living with him for 13 years and now I feel like he’s been ripped away again. It’s bittersweet I guess you would say. Im so happy for him. Im so proud of him. You could see on his face this was what he wanted, needed, and was searching for. On the other hand I’m so angry we didn’t have more time together, and I so sad. Just sad. In my mind I know when I see him again he will be more confident and so much more happy within himself, but my heart is grieving for the young man I was just beginning to know again. He would just hug me and say Mom, I’m gonna be okay, don’t worry. I said, I know you’re going to be okay, I’m not. Please pray for the both of us.

  24. My son hit me out of the blue with his enlistment followed by marrying his longtime girlfriend (the engagement came later!) He’s been transformed by basic training and is now just finishing AIT. We saw him after basic and again at Christmas- life is so different and I do grieve the loss of what was. We haven’t heard where they will be going yet — I’m hoping of course for somewhere safe. So far I’ve missed his 21st bday and Easter together – next will be Mothers Day. Letting go is something I have to remind myself to do daily.

  25. I needed this but I can’t say it helped. My beautiful son is dropping out of school to enlist. He’s choosing front line jobs. Its always been me and him. He’s all I have. And all I can do is imagine having to bury him. I’m trying to be supportive, but I’m so heartbroken I’m barely functioning. I can’t imagine it ever getting better.

  26. Hi!! I’m so glad I came across this article and will be buying the book. My oldest is leaving for Fort Benning in June. I cried like a baby reading this. The only difference with me is my son has been on this path since he was very little. He actually enlisted last year, his junior year. He will leave two weeks after graduation. Time is flying so fast. Thank you so much.

  27. This resonates so much with me (I read this with tears streaming down my face). My youngest son left for basic nearly five years ago, and has also served a nine month deployment. All that time away was so, so hard. I spent many sleepless nights and cried buckets of tears. Even with all of that, I am so grateful to be able to watch my son make this journey.

    The Army has helped him become the man he is today, and I am so very proud of him.

  28. Oh my gosh, I could have written this article….it is exactly my story except my son is 29! He just left April 17th so I am still extremely new to this. I have already read Be Safe, Love Mom. I’m not sure how to get in touch with moms like me. My son wants to be in Special Forces, so that adds to my anxiety. I appreciate knowing I’m not the only mom taking this so hard! Love to you all!

  29. This was awesome reading cause even though my son is married I felt the same way when he told me he had join the army and would be leaving for basic training. And may I say he lived 2 states away from me. My dad,uncles and cousins were in the army, I knew about it but when it’s you son that was different. Now he is in AIT. My job wouldn’t let me off for his basic training in Oklahoma but my daughter in law gave me to watch it live. And I have reqested off for his next graduation,just praying for finances to get to Missouri to be there. Iam so proud of him!

  30. As the mother of a career soldier, I can honestly say it is never easier. I never dreamed that I would see my child only twice a year. However, you do learn to accept it. I have been a proud, lonesome, worrying military mom for almost 12 years. Mine went in at 24 because the Army paid for his college first. When he wouldn’t commission, (he believes that non commissioned officers are more respected) the Army punished him and refused to let him join, and they dumped his college costs on him. After a year he was able to enlist, but he still is paying for that education. He has deployed twice in war areas. He has been a medic, sniper, he is ranger qualified, and now is a green beret. So while the Army has benefitted from his education, he still pays nearly 500.00 a month for it. Do I think the Army is unfair. Yes. Does it fulfill my son to serve? Yes. I will be an old woman when he finally retires and moves back to our state. I hate that this is the life the chose, but it makes me feel complete. Sometimes, mamas just have to finally pull up their big girl panties and go forward. I keep reminding myself of this as he heads to very unstable part of the world that few people realize we have men. (Yes, in this case only 45 men.). You learn to pray and pray some more.

  31. Thank you for sharing! My son leaves in two weeks for Basic Training. The moment I think I have it all together and I’m fine is when I realize I wrong. I have faith that God will protect him and give me the strength I need, but this is still so hard to go through. I needed to read this from another mother experience to not only understand what’s to come, but to know I’m not crazy to feel all these emotions.

  32. I know just how you feel, i had to let go of my oldest son to the army a little over 3 years ago. I know how you feel i still to this dsy cry over him, it is how us moms work we cry for out kids no matter how long there gone. Now I’m getting ready to do it all over again and let me tell you, it dosent get any easier its harder, he is the last one at home and will be leaving at 17 and turning 18 in bootcamp, it makes it even harder knowing he is doing Calvary scout combat 19 delta and putting himself into hards way. He will be going to Fort Benning Georgia as well, he is leaving July 15th 2018 in about a month in a half. I will miss him dearly as i miss my other son to. God bless them both and keep them safe.

  33. Can I tell you how grateful I am to have found this post?? Today my son announced he will leave for Fort Benning August 13. My mind has been racing ever since. He is 19 years old. I am already lamenting Christmas without him since it is also his birthday:(
    Thank you so much for the raw words of encouragement and the book recommendation.

    • Michelle Fleming,
      My 19 y.o. son left for Ft. Benning on August 13, 2018, too, out of Indianapolis. Any chance this is your area, too? I ask because there was a large group of 17 young men who left that day together. The airport even made an announcement for them. I have pictures and video I’d be happy to share with families, if I ever learn whom they are. Have you received any call yet? I’ve read of these scripted calls, but haven’t gotten one. When he began pilot training at only 15, I was terrified. When I moved him into his dorm at Purdue University two years ago, I thought the heartache matched no other. But those both pale in comparison to my fears and tears now. I just want a rewind and pause button. 🙂

  34. Thank you for your story. I teared up reading it but felt so much comfort knowing other moms felt the same feelings I did. My son left for basic at fort sill 7/18/17 just a month & a half after graduation. He too tried to spend as much time with friends & having fun. Of course I was pushing him every day to get all his grad party thank you notes out before he left lol. I had my random cry moments every week those last 4 months before he left. It was difficult not knowing throughout basic how he was feeling. I was so grateful when I finally heard from him after about 6-8 weeks, he sounded so happy which made me happy. He wants to be a ranger & has been in training this entire time [basic, AIT (68W), airborne school & now RASP]. I’m incredibly proud & scared at the same time. Thanks again! I hope your son is doing well.

  35. Thank you for sharing your story and letting us know that it is normal all these feelings that we are feeling. I bawled while reading this. My son will be leaving July 3, for basic training. I am proud of him and his decision, but so scared of the unknown. It is totally different than sending my daughter to college, knowing that she was only a phone call away. Thank you again for your post.

  36. Thank you so much for your post. Our oldest son has now been enlisted in the Navy for 7 months. Ever word you wrote was exactly my story. I have ALWAYS supported and respected the men and women of the US Military but never really understood the sacrifice not only them but their Entire family go through. So far we have been blessed to have our son stateside which ment we have been able to travel and see him but recently his orders have come in & he will be leaving for over seas to work on a ship. Just when I thought I had a grip on this new life another adventure comes up. I knew this moment would come sooner than later but nothing could have prepared me. I feel like we are about to go through “Bootcamp” all over. Again I thank you for your story it is the most comforting thing i have read since the beginning of all of this i will be looking into you recommendations and i pray that your son Always remain out of harms way and that you and your family find peace and comfort until your son is home safe. 🇺🇸

    • Thank you, Christina, for sharing your story! Praying for your family during the upcoming deployment.

  37. I am so glad I stumbled on this article. It was written awhile back but still so so very ME! From not knowing, to trying to prepare, to not grieving….that is until I read this article. My son is 3 weeks into basic. 4 weeks gone. I have missing him so much but didn’t really understand what I was in for. The thought that he will never be the son I saw get on the van that day is both terrifying and amazing! I am with you on the fact that I don’t see how anyone does this without God. God gave me peace that I didn’t expect when he left. When I first saw the paperwork I had about 2 days of what?!? Lol. After that, I knew God had him. I truly felt like He was in Gods will so the peace was huge. Now, I just want my baby boy back. The little man that kissed my headaches away. The son that always looked out for me. I just miss him. His face. His voice. Him! So thank you for telling me to grieve. Showing me it is needed and showing me it is ok. I will start this journey as I count down to the day I see him again and once again can wrap him up in my arms. Thank you! Just…thank you.

  38. Thank you thank you thank you for this! My son arrived at Ft Benning yesterday, I still haven’t received my scripted call. Needless to say I have been a blubbering fool since leaving MEPS. It is so hard to be unbelievably proud and heartbroken all in one. I so very much needed this today.

    • Jaime, thanks so much for reading and commenting. This is the hardest part, but you can do it! Many prayers for you and your son.

  39. My son Tanner (18) left to Fort Jackson this past Sunday. It took 3 days to finally arrive at MEPS due to travel issues with the airline. I’ve been a trainwreck. He is still in zero week so he did call yesterday, exhausted and unsure of his decision. Thank you for this post. I miss him so much I can barely breathe at times. I try to hide my feelings from his siblings so I don’t upset them or make them feel less important somehow. This is so difficult. One moment he’s here being a goof and the next moment…he’s gone. When I spoke to him I told him about all of the strengths he had that will make him so valuable to his company. I told him how proud we are of him and how much I’m looking forward to seeing him at graduation. I tried to squash his fear with encouragement and love. I hope it worked at least a little.

    • Gina, keep that love and encouragement flowing! It DOES work. He will very much appreciate all of that support over the next few weeks. Hang in there mama!

  40. I love your note, my son got to Fort Benning on June 19th and the idea of losing control over his safety is what what keeps me up all night. He is 17 and before he went we got to go to the beach and got to see him play with his sister in the ocean for hours at the time, they are still our babies.

  41. Hello my son Joseph left for bootcamp July 2, 2018 to Fort Benning, it only been a couple of days and I feel sick. I am so proud of my son but at the same time empty and lost, I feel selfish I miss him terribly and I know my older son is feeling sad. I had a going away to Bootcamp/Graduation party on Saturday, Sunday took him to The recruiters office and Monday Fort Hamilton he was sworn in and he was gone. He’s my youngest, my baby, I just can’t shake the feeling of him not being here.

    • The hard truth is, BCT is HARD. So very hard. I had to find ways to stay busy and focus on my other kids. Both of those things helped. Many prayers for you and your family. It doesn’t seem like it now, but it will be over before you know it you’ll be so incredibly proud to see him in those dress blues!

  42. My oldest (of 4 boys) just got accepted into the Army. I have been preparing for a long time for this, but sometimes get slapped upside the head out of nowhere with insane worry. I felt prepared because he has been fighting to get accepted for over a year now (he had a seizure as a child and needed special medical clearances, our local recruiter left mid way through the process and he had to essentially start from scratch…. It seemed like one thing after another for the poor kid). Even though I felt prepared and have a ton of information (many family and friends who have been in or still are in the military) I still get blindsided by attacks of worry…. I mean… This is my CHILD, it’s not like when my brother left. Mostly I still just feel immensely proud of my son. It was not a rash decision and we both agreed it was his best route to take after graduation. But it’s very helpful seeing that I am not alone with the insanity, and to remember that many other mothers have been exactly where I am right now. So thank you.
    I LOVED the quotes. I am going to my kindle right now to get that book. Thank you for the suggestion. If you have any other good ones, please let me know.

    • I’m two years into this and I still get insanely worried sometimes! You’re definitely not alone. Elaine Brye has another book out now that she wrote with Army Strong Mom called The Heart of a Military Mom. You may want to check that one out! Thanks for stopping by to share your story. Prayers for your son and your family.

  43. My son has been gone for not quite a month and I have felt this grief deeply. He is my middle child… my rainbow baby… and the first one to leave so completely. I am super proud of him, but I struggle with …. everything you have written in this article!! It’s so different from when my older two went to college. As I told my husband this morning, I heard from them (one daily… the other one weekly), but I don’t get to hear his voice… I wait (im)patiently for maybe a letter or a picture posted on certain sites. It’s not the same. Not. At. All. Thank you for saying all this… that I can’t even seem to put into words– grief — that’s exactly it!

    • Realizing that I needed to grieve truly was an eye-opening moment! I at least began to feel there was a light at the end of the long dark tunnel that was BCT! I remember stalking those picture sites playing the military mom version of Where’s Waldo :). It’s not the same as hearing their voice, but it’s a link to them nonetheless so keep looking! Thank you for sharing your story.

  44. My SIT left June 18th and arrived at Fort Benning after midnight into June 19th. I didn’t cry in front of him when he got in the van to the airport. I didn’t cry dropping him off at the recruiting office. My husband cried.
    I had been preparing mentally for this So I wouldn’t cry in front of my son. I didn’t want him to worry or think my world ended.
    I cried when I went to work hours later when my boss saw me and put her arms out for a hug. This whole process has been an eye opener to what it means to be part of the Army family and loosing your son. Then how the girlfriend gets the calls and letters.
    I use the support groups and it helps to be with others that understand because my husband doesn’t understand what I’m going through. My friends don’t either.
    Thank you for sharing and I will check out this book.

  45. Thank you for sharing. This weekend is when I finally stopped, dropped and grieved. I’m going to order the book. I’m not an emotional person but, I’ve cried for 15 hours straight so far. I’m just thankful it’s the weekend and I’m home. I appreciate you sharing and reaching out. I feel so much better. Thanks again.

    • The grieving process was the hardest part for me. Do read Elaine’s book. It will help so much. Thank you for letting me know that you stopped by. Hang in there, it does get easier!

  46. My son left May 28th(yes Memorial Day), just 8 days after graduating high school and since then I have had an extremely hard time with his decision. I am proud of him but still can’t get over not seeing or talking to him whenever I want. He now is graduating on August 9th from Fort Leonard Wood, MO.

  47. Great post! I am a BLUE STAR MOM! This road has not been an easy one for my soldier. He left September 5, 2017 for Fort Benning as an 11X (Infantry). In his second week of training, he fell from the monkey bars at the Obstacle Course and fractured BOTH femurs! The worst part was finding out what had happened in a letter! Talk about ripping your heart out and realizing your place in this new life! He spent the next several weeks on crutches, unable to train, unsure of what was going to happen. Finally, on November 1st, he was sent to the FTU unit for injured trainees. He remained there for 3 1/2 months (with some convalescent leave over Christmas). The agony of opening letters, not knowing what state he would be in or what doctors were saying about his injury or how he was healing was unbearable! In February(2018), he was FINALLY cleared to return to duty. Fourteen weeks later, I was at Fort Benning to watch my son receive the coveted blue cord and march across that field as a United States Army Infantryman! Fort Benning had him for 291 days…and while I think that deserves a medal on his chest, he is grateful for how it all played out-even saying to me once, “I know it sounds weird, but I’m glad I got injured. It made me stronger…more mentally and physically tough. I don’t think I would have made it through otherwise.” Now we are learning to navigate a new chapter in this journey…the FDS (First Duty Station)!

  48. I’m so happy I have came across this story. My son is leaving in 5 days to Fort Benning. I took him to collage night that the high school puts on to encourage kids to go to collage. He kept saying he didn’t want to go to collage. He fought me the whole way because he new what he wanted to to after high school He ended up talking to a army recruiter he was playing with the idea about joining. I didn’t think he was serious. The next day I had the recruiters at my house he took his testing that night! He did the whole process on his own at 17! His MOS is a 90 Bradley mechanic! He enlisted a week before he turned 18. I can’t tell you what i was going through I cried and cried then I kept telling myself he will do good be proud of him! Which I am very proud! I feel I’m losing my son I can’t be there to help him or protect him! He is my oldest we have been through so much together when I divorced his dad raising him on my own until I got remarried! Getting him though school! I think back of everything we have gone though and I would not change any of it for the world! He made me the Person I am today! We have our up and downs but he has been my best friend though it all! Now that he is getting ready to leave for Georgia my heart sinks! I struggle i wonder how I’m going to get through this it’s rough! 18 years i this will be the first that I don’t get to see him everyday! Or hear him ask how was your day Mom? Then listen to how his day went! I didn’t grow up in a family like this so he is the first to join the army! But I’m so grateful for him he does not want to hang out with friends or go on trips he wants to do family things! I have been trying to be strong but I know when he gets on the shuttle and heads to the airport that’s when I’m going to break! It hurts to know your son is leaving going miles and miles away to train on fighting for our country! Thank you for sharing your story and letting me tell you apart of mine!

  49. This was absolutely amazing! This is exactly how I am feeling! My son leaves for basic at Fort Benning in exactly 25 days! Thank you for this and for all the links!

  50. I am so glad I came across these posts. My My one and only child (21 year old son) is leaving for Ft. Sill ok. Aug 27 for basic. I don’t think i have made it through one day yet without having to hide my tears. He is a grown man and he is also a young father to a precious 2yr old little boy. I am so proud of him for wanting to be a good provider and role model for his son , but I still look at him as my BABY . I talk strong and positive when he is near but as soon as he walks away i fall apart. This is the absolute hardest thing i think i have ever been through emotionally. I know in my heart that FAITH and GOD are what im going to have to lean on now but it is still so hard and this journey is just starting for us.

  51. My son leaves in 13 days for the army and I am having a really hard time. I just cry all the time. I am so proud of him but letting him go is just killing me inside.

  52. My son just left 9 days ago for basic at Ft Benning. I believe he is still in reception. This is definitely something that takes a toll on a mother. My son has wanted to go in the army since he was little, as my husband was in the 82nd Airborne years ago. Many of his friends here at home along with his girlfriend are getting ready to start college. I find myself getting angry inside with the moms that talk about how hard it will be for their kids to go away to school. I want to scream at them that they will at least be able to talk to their kids anytime they want, not to mention see them too. I realize that everyone’s degree of loss is relative but sometimes I can’t help the feelings of jealousy then annoyance towards those parents that complain. I am very excited for my son to achieve his dreams and goals yet the thought of him feeling alone or scared tears me apart. I wish for safety for all your children serving.

  53. Yesterday my son, the youngest of 4 was sworn in and ships out this Saturday (Aug11th). I’ve had mixed emotions. I knew that this day was coming, it wasn’t like I didn’t know he had applied. I supported him from day one but now this s**t just got real… I blinked and the deployment day is here. This has been my son’s dream since he was old enough to talk about it… I mean every little boy plays with army men, and what not but I just thought it was something that he would change his mind. I am so proud, that words can not even describe.. My emotions have gotten the best of me and heart aches and I still have 2 full days with him… This isn’t the same feeling I had when I sent my others off to University.. At least they came home on the weekends, they did laundry, raided my fridge, borrowed the car… I guess it’s the unknown that scares me… No mother ever wants to see their baby grow up. I feel it was just last week we brought him home, and in the blink of an eye, the army is calling…I am a super PROUD Momsie… Of an Army soldier, supporting him in every way I can, while he protects our country.. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the other mothers who are going through this same feeling.. Wishing all our sons and daughters safe returns to the families they left behind to fulfill their dreams.

  54. It’s almost 2am and wide awake. 5 hours ago my 18 yr old son told me he has joined the Army. My heart stopped, I can’t breath and my mind is racing as I’ve layed in bed crying since his words hit me like a ton of bricks. My reaction could have been better, all I said was “ why didn’t you tell me (((deep sigh))) whatever”. Then I told him I was proud of him, but was hurt to find I was the last to know. He had been speaking with my in laws for weeks and told my husband and his siblings days earlier.
    Would it have mattered when he told me?? Am I trying to have a reason to be mad?
    My heart is aching, I can’t breath, I can’t sleep and it’s only been 5 hours.
    Help. 🙁

    • Christie…I am sorry to hear of your experience with your son enlisting. I can’t even imagine because as I had said previously my son has wanted to join the Army since he was very young so it was something I always knew was a very real possibility. During this past year when he was a senior, his dad and I went with him to the recruiter. He decided to enlist and the day he went to meps to sign up, I met him there. So my husband and I were part of the process the whole time with our son. He is currently STILL waiting in reception at Ft Benning. He expects to ship to basic this coming Friday the 17th. Now when my husband enlisted years ago before I knew him, he went about it more like your son. He didn’t tell his parents til after the fact. I know my mother in law was depressed for awhile about it. I’m sure the shock of it all has to be difficult if you had no idea he was considering it. Even though I was part of the process all along, I had to still come to terms with it and accept that I had to support my son’s dreams even if they weren’t mine. It’s scary to let them go. I am only almost 3 weeks in to my son being gone and I’ve shed many tears. I hope for the best for you and your family and God bless you all.

  55. I had 3 of my children swear in on June 9th, 2 are now in basic and the third leaves in September. My daughters are Army Reserve planning to go full time after college. My son is Army. I could not go through this without my faith that God loves my children even more than I do. I know His protection is over them and their faith in Him also brings me peace. Don’t get me wrong, I cry and grieve but I also am leaning on the hope that you can only find in Christ Jesus. My heart cringes at the word ‘deployment’, I am reminded that God is with them wherever (they) go. Joshua 1:9 I am standing on the promises of God and looking forward to the next thing, the next call, the next letter, graduations, the next new thing in their life, it keeps me going and it keeps me praising – ‘He’s a good, good Father!’

  56. Thank you all for your stories. My oldest left for Fort Jackson June 25th, that day was the most emotional, I thought. The worst was the day I went back to school. I realized that for the past four years I saw him all day every day. He rode to school with me, hung out with his friends in my room before school, came by to bum money for lunch, put his gear in my car for practice and met me out at the car every day to collect it for practice. Now… he is gone. His friends have come by for multiple visits, I think they may be afraid I will lose it. We have received one letter and one call on the very day the family needed it. God is there. Not two hours before the call my husband was commenting on how nice it would be to get another letter and he checked the box for the third time that day. Plus, scouring the pictures they put on Facebook helps. I feel like I am getting to see all the kids grow. Once in awhile we even spot him. I can’t wait to see him at graduation!! He is in Blue Phase, he is getting there. I am also not familiar with the military, so I have been reading up on everything I can find.

  57. My middle child who will be 23 in September just arrived at Ft. Sill on August 14, 2018. We had discussed the military early into his high school years but it never seemed to be a fit for him. Fast forward to May of this year and here comes a video call with the news of his enlistment AND that he would be marrying his high school sweetheart before leaving! 2 weeks after his wedding, we are dropping him off with his recruiter at the hotel. I dropped this same boy off at a college an hour from my home and cried for weeks. I thought this would be similar but its nothing like it. We haven’t received the first call and honestly, it kind of hurts to know he wont be calling momma anyway. I’m very active in my kids’ lives so the distance and lack of communication is killing me. I try to keep busy, my house couldnt be cleaner! I’ve joined a support group for his base and its helped some. This article nailed my feelings to a T. Thanks for letting us know we aren’t alone!

  58. Thank you for your post. I have truly enjoyed it. I have three boys who are on different career paths and I have been one emotional mother the past few weeks. I have one son who is working, my youngest began his first day of college today, and my middle son will be leaving for basic training September 10, 2018.
    While I am so proud of his decision to serve our country, I cry every night as the time draws near for him to leave.
    I have tried to prepare myself for this day but I do not believe this is something a mother can prepare for. In your post you stated you could me find support groups of other military moms. Could you send me these groups? I would love to connect with them and get tips of how each one survived basic and AIT training.

  59. I have read all of these stories and could not stop crying. My story is a little different though , I myself have served. I was Army for 8 years,and have had the opportunity to know first hand the pride,glory,and perils that t his job entails. I find myself both being proud that my son,currently in Fort Benning has decided to serve,and being terrified that he will have to see and live through some of the things that I have seen others go through. Don’t get me wrong, I could not be more proud to be an American,and I am grateful everyday for the brave men and women that choose to defend it,but why him! I find myself hoping and trying g to figure out just how long he will serve. I am honestly hoping it will be a one and done for him. I know that I was once strong enough to be a soldier,but that in no way has made it any easier to be a soldier’s mom. honestly it was way easier when I was the one leaving home. A lot of the things that I have been finding in my journey to understand this difficult situation just tell me to accept it,be proud but right now I just want me son to stop being a soldier and just be a regular person again.

  60. OH MY GOODNESS!! This is ME! Or was me up until a couple weeks ago when Jesus himself had to intervene! I think everyone thought I was crazy, I was beginning to think I was crazy! No one close to me had walked this walk, aside from many year ago. It is now my goal, that no Momma, feel this way, with out knowing what she might feel beforehand. It’s miserable, I felt alone and so many times, my feelings were called over dramatic and those that didn’t say it, made me feel like I was being over dramatic. Only because they just don’t understand. Our son graduated the Navy bootcamp Jan. this year. He is stationed in San Diego, but currently deployed, with only random email messages. Thank you for every word you wrote, it felt like you read my mind and my heart and exposed it when I wasn’t bold or eloquent enough to! Thank you!!

  61. I can’t thank you enough for writing this. You wrote everything I was and am feeling. My oldest son flew out to basic in the beginning of August. This is still fresh for me. Thank you.

  62. Your story sounds so similar to mine. My son went to live with his grandparents for his first year of college. He was miserable and unsure of his path until a recruiter stopped him on campus one day. He called and told me he wanted to look into it further. Two days later he called to tell me he joined. As a back story when he was much younger we were all sure this was the path he was headed for but while in high school he seemed very disinterested in anything military. So it was quite a shock especially when he decided so quickly. I am so very proud of him but it is still hard. He also completed BCT at Fort Jackson and is now at Fort Sill. I was actually able to go visit him this past weekend. I am so glad I found your article. It is amazing how much comfort it gives just to know someone else has experienced the same mass of emotions. I have been trying to read Be Safe, Love Mom but I’m unable to read much at one time. It’s difficult to read through all the tears. But I will finish. It is a great book. Thank you so much for sharing your story.

  63. I sit here and reading the stories, I’m glad there are others out here like me. My son who is my only child is graduating early December of this year. Our son joining the military was a surprise to us. His ship out date as of now is June 2019, but they want to move it up as close to when he receives his diploma as possible. This means I won’t get to see him walk across the stage and graduate with his class, I might not even get to have Christmas with him this year. I have had other say they understand to me; as their child goes to college, but they truly don’t understand. I want to yell at them, that their child will come home for Christmas, the Army won’t let mine.
    Each day he runs 2.4 miles even in the 90degree temp and high humidly and I’m right beside him. I’m afraid that if I opt out that one day of spending time with him I will regret it later. Each Thursday I’m taken him to do PT with the recruiters and I sit out in the car for an hour waiting to see how he did. I let him know how proud I am of him, but when no one is looking and I’m by myself I’m crying. Thank you for sharing your story.

  64. Reading this took me right back to last summer watching my son walk away. I had 8 months to prepare, he enlisted when he was 17 so we had until after he graduated before he left. Because he was 17 I had to, in a sense, sign him over to the government. I nearly died that day and I thought it couldn’t possibly get harder. Boy was I wrong. I was a mess that day, I didn’t think I could let him go after that last hug. I was “lucky” because he’d convinced a friend to enlist with goin so i had someone close going through it with me. But hearing his voice and seeing his face at graduation…… the pride, oh my goodness. I thought for sure my heart was going burst. And I’ve acquired a few more sons along the way. So my heart is overflowing. Thank you for sharing your story.

  65. Thank you for your story, that’s exactly how is and we all mother and fathers know this. Is really hard. I miss her a lot. I’m so proud of her, but I can’t shake off that she was a tiny baby and so shy and now she is in BTC! I worry so much, but she called me and she sounds happy! I need to hold onto that. Can you please share the link for FB group? Thank you so much for writing this story, it really helps!

  66. I am pretty sure I am getting ready to venture down this road. My son is suppose to sign papers for the Army Thursday. I am numb, he has talked about it for 2 years but never in my wildest dreams would have thought he would follow through. 3 weeks ago he stopped into my office (he never stops by). When I asked him why he was there he told me he walked out on this job of 2 years. Asked him what he was going to do, he said ‘I’m headed to talk to a recruiter”. And he did. He has been so tight lipped about all of it, it’s hard to know what he is thinking! He won’t even talk about the job he is choosing, I think he did that yesterday. Come Thursday I am defiantly buying that book. Thank you for your insight. I’m not ready to cut that last little string of umbilical cord!

  67. My son in AIT now just graduated BCT in the Army Thank You for this we are not alone . You are so right it is greving . I am getting better but it still hurts yes. But I am so proud!

  68. I was a Army wife for 20 years. It’s so different from being an Army Mom. My youngest son just graduated from college and commissioned this past summer. He leaves in less than a week to start his Military career and will be so far away from home. I’m trying to keep it together but it’s hard. It helps knowing I’m not alone. I’m so proud of him but I’m going to miss him so much.
    I just ordered the book. Thank you for sharing!

  69. I just became a military mom.. my eldest and only daughter just joined the Army National Guard, the first 5 days i spend myself crying, I couldn’t process the fact that she was gone and in the hands of the United States Army. Even tho I’m also a wife of an Army Combat Veteran. I hadn’t experienced this since I met my husband when he came home from being deployed 4 times. This is like new to me although I have some knowledge of the military. My daughters best friend also joined but the Marines and her mom put some harsh scenes to me and a wake up call. She said i miss her too but just like she had the pants to go there i need to have the pants to support her and encourage her to keep going. I realized she was right. But i still feel like crying no matter what I’m her mom, shes my baby she will always be. I have the right to miss her. I do it in silent..

  70. I am so happy I found this page. It is such a comfort and I will read it many times I know! I have twins and one left for college in August. The other was “my baby” but he went head to head with his father a few years ago and things went downhill. He talked to the Air Force recruiter but was told he had to finish high school (he was a junior at the time). Then he was enrolled in an EMT class in school and really turned around and fell in love with it. We thought he wanted to be an EMT and firefighter.

    His EMT teacher left midway during the year so the class wasn’t taught properly and he had trouble passing the test. He still managed to have the most volunteer hours as a student at this local station and he found an amazing mentor and friend there. He took the whole class over again and is on track to take the test again. All of a sudden in July he tells us he’s joining the ARMY! What? He’s taken the ASVAB, the physical, and everything! He leaves Oct 9th.

    I had thought he was talking to the Air Force folks b/c he wanted to get away from his father. We’re talking about a 6’6″ 145lb guy who never exercises. I am proud but very scared for him. I’m not even sure if he will make it thru basic training. (He even needed a waiver for scoliosis) He said the Air Force stopped talking to him so he went over to the Army folks. Good Grief. He’s leaving behind a girlfriend, an unfinished EMT class, and his dog which he just got 6 months ago.

    I am so confused and sad as a mother. I know he is an adult in age (19) but I’m not sure he is really making adult decisions. His mentor has had long talks with him and I’ve tried to just be there for him with little nudges about do you have a plan for this or that. Esp since things are happening so fast. But I cry so many times a day now as it gets closer. When I see an ambulance. When a song comes on the radio. When I see a baby. When his dog comes to me. I asked off to be at a special awards ceremony they are having for him for his work at the rescue squad but I know I’ll be a blubbering mess.

    I know we are supposed to allow our kids to grow up and move on. And they have been slowly doing that over the past several years. But I miss my boys. I miss them with all my heart. And I miss having them at my dinner table laughing and joking. It’s too quiet……

  71. As a mom who daughter is leaving for basic training in less than 3 weeks I already feel like I’m dying inside. I’ve tried to prepare by reading and watching videos on the internet hoping that it can bring me closer to what she may experience. It feel likes it working some days and not others. She made me promise not to cry in front of her when she boards that van. Even though I’m so incredibly proud of her I just don’t know how I’m going to make it day to day or even moment to moment after she leaves. I do plan to go back to church and join some sort of support groups but I do t know if anything is really going to help too much. However knowing that others have made it through does give me some comfort that I will make it out on the other side

  72. Mrs. Nerfer,

    I cannot thank you enough for writing this. My son just left Tuesday October 9th for Basic Training for the Army. I am completely devastated and desperately miss him. I am totally heart broken. By reading what you wrote I am in the grieving process. Your story helped me as I have searched and searched for some advice or help and what you said is exactly what I feel! I am definitely going to buy the book you suggested. Everything you said is exactly what I’m going through. I feel like my son died and I died inside. I was so relieved to finally find something to help! So I can’t thank you enough for your story!!

    • Thank you for your sweet words Tammy. I’m so happy that you’ve found some help here. It really does get better, I promise 🙂

  73. My son is planning on joining army. He is 23 and has accounting degree and hates accounting after doing a one year internship. He is introverted and quiet. Socializes seldom and is homebody. He claims this is what he wants to do. Embarrassed to say he was coddled as a child and adult. I fear for him and am scared he won’t mentally make basic training. He claims he needs to be a man… does anyone have any advice for me? I feel like I am waiting for a death. It’s awful

  74. My son is away in Basic Training in Missouri we live in Nevada..Today is his birthday and I’m heartbroken that I can’t talk to him or wish him Happy Birthday! I’m beyond proud of him but he’s always going to be my baby boy..even though he turned 20 today..I’m 41 and still feel too young to have a grown son..#Armymom

    • I can definitely relate! My son was also in BCT for his 20th birthday. It was a HARD day, but we made up for it over family weekend with lots of cake and presents. Hugs and prayers for you mama. Hang in there!

  75. Thank you! I’m bawling like a baby again but thank you. I felt guilty about feeling this way until my husband said it aloud to my sister at the grocery store the other day when she asked how we were doing – he said hesitantly, “it feels just like when my dad passed.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief that what I was feeling inside was normal, all things considered. Our SIT just left 3 weeks ago for Benning as a 19D with goals and aspirations far beyond that. Watching him walk away in tears and not look back was the 2nd hardest thing I’ve ever done – giving my husband the nod to then drive away from the hotel was the absolute hardest! And your piece touches it all for me!!! He was 2 hours away at college playing NAIA football. Every morning began with an emoji laden text to him saying “Be awesome…go kick some ass today! Love you bubba!” His reply was, “I love you too ma!” with some kisses. Then he’d call his pops each night to talk football after lights out at the dorm. We. Were. Spoiled. Deep down I knew it was just a matter of time before he traded his army guys in for boots and fatigues. And I think the reason I cry so much is because I know that every last trace of his youthful innocence will be gone by the time HBL rolls around. I see his friends post on social media now, and I realize I’ve changed. Where I used to chuckle and reactively hit the like button, I find myself thinking that’s stupid and irrelevant and why did you waste your time and mine with this childish post?! Truthfully, I don’t want him to remain unchanged – it’s entirely unrealistic. I just want a guarantee that he’ll still smile and laugh and hug me tight – that he won’t come home the lifeless robot that haunts my dreams (on the nights I can sleep long enough to dream). In the 1st BCT picture we found of him, the corner of his mouth was curled up as though the camera caught a glimpse or remnant of a smile – I beamed with pride. I smiled. I cried. I smiled. I cried. I smiled. I know he’ll be ok. I know I’ll be ok. Maybe. Ask me after red phase.

  76. As I read this all those emotions of 11 months ago came flooding back. Now I sit looking his 1st deployment. It’s a whole new ballgame! You will never feel as scared & full of pride at the same time as when your child serves something bigger than themselves. Some advice: 1) Don’t fight the emotions. Feel them & accept them. Acceptance doesn’t mean you like it. Just that you accept it is what it is. The more you practice this the more settled you’ll be. 2) Find a good support group of military moms on Facebook. They are the only ones who truly understand. Supporting Military Moms is a great place to start. 3) Be flexible! Hurry up & wait, Changing of plans several times, graduation changes due to injuries & cancelled leaves happen more often than not. Make sure airline tickets are refundable or changeable without fees. Bless you Moms! You’ve raised great kids now is the time to step back & watch them soar!

  77. Thank you!! I can definately relate and glad I’m not alone with how I’m feeling. Our son is the first person to enter the military in our entire family and friend circle. I’m so incredibly proud of my son and I’m also now realizing that I’m a complete mess and heart broken that he is gone. He left October 23 and is now in the red phase. I know nothing will ever be the same when he comes home. That boy will be a man.. Not saying it will be bad thing but I know it will be different. My faith, family and friends has helped so much.

  78. My youngest son is going through the whole process of being recruited. He came home with some papers yesterday and asked for his birth certificate and other things. Marc spoke to my husband, his dad, and I about what his scores determined and some jobs that his recruiter said fit him well, but my husband and I feel clueless. Marc will be the first person in either of our families to be in the military. I have so many questions and concerns, but I am also afraid of being seen as a helicopter mom. I asked him this afternoon to be honest about whether or not all this paperwork and him going back and forth with the recruiter was because he was “really” going to enlist and he said “yes”….I’m still in shock! He turned 18 five months ago!

  79. My son , 23 leaves Tuesday for Ft. Benning. He loves his job as a mechanic and has 2 degrees. He’s always wanted to go into the military, and now he’s following his dream. I honestly don’t know if I’m prepared for this. He moved out at 18 bought his own home and has been very independent. But he lives 5 min. From us, so I know this is going to very hard. We talk several times a day. I pray I can get through this and I’m praying I can hold back the tears and not break down to bad in front of him Tuesday. The last thing I want him to do is worry about us here, because I know we will be ok. I’ll worry myself to death… but I’m so so proud of him. I’m so glad I came across this page!

  80. He is my only son. A Mommy’s boy. I miss him so much its like you said he is just gone. I have 2 younger girls. So I pretend its all ok for them. But at night I cry in the bathroom. And i know I probably drink more wine than I should after they go to sleep, but I just miss him so much. I feel like such a wuss I was never a crier before. If they would just let him call like once a week atleast. They was for a while, its been almost a month now since I heard from him. I feel so weak and broken.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.