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.

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      • God Bless you for this post. I have 13 days until my son leaves for Basic at Ft Benning. I literally thought I was losing my mind and the ONLY one that felt like this. 🙏

      • Thank you so much for your post. My son left for Ft. Jackson 6 days ago. It has been the hardest week of my life. I got his 5 minute call during nap time for my prek babies. And it was so hard not to break down. I am glad to know I’m not the only one feeling this way. Amd I’ve already ordered Elaine’s book. Thank you again for sharing your journey. God bless you!

      • My youngest son shocked me, he joined the army August 6th, 2019. He is still in Basic Training at Fort Jackson. I am having major issues with depression not being able to talk to him. I raised my children on my own and in the past year my daughter moved 2 states away with my grandkids and my youngest son joined the army. My life as I new it is gone. My home doesnt any longer feel like home. No noise what so ever. No kids laughing, arguing, crying. No one needing momma no more. How am I going to adjust. I rush home every day at lunch checking my mailbox to see if my son has wrote me, then I cry. I go back to work then rush home after I click out at the end of the day checking the mailbox as if he has time to write me every day then cry again. I feel like I’ve been abandoned and not loved anymore
        It feels as if I’m not an important part of their lives anymore and they are the most important of mine. I am so lost, and my heart aches every minute of the day. What do you recommend other than a shrink lol.

        • You’re words captured exactly how I feel and what I’m going through. I only found out a week ago that my son was joining the Army. He was just sworn in yesterday and leaves in one month. Then this morning, I find out that my other son is moving to Arizona next weekend. I feel completely broken, alone, and abandoned. Nothing is ever going to be the same again. My family is my life and I never even imagined being separated from them. I love doing everything with my son’s. Now just like that, everything’s gone.

          • Rick,
            My son is trying to join up now. I will walk through your shoes as well. Stay strong brother. They will come home to you as men. Just look forward to their stories and experiences and how proud they will be to tell you about them

      • Im so glad I came across this since I’m about to be a military mom my son leaves to Ft. Benning on 6/2/2020 Just reading your post made me just cry a lot more I know how hard it’s going to be since my son has never been away from home. I’m about to live it in just a few days from now. My heart aches terribly, thank you for sharing your story and I thank your son for his service to our country. My days are counted with my son.

        • My son is leaving this Monday, June 29, 2020 for Ft.Sill Oklahoma. My heart is breaking and it is so hard to hide it. And what makes it even harder is we are in the middle of this COVID 19 pandemic. My son has never been away from us also. It’s been his dream to serve our country and all I could do is just to support him.

          • Hi Nancy I know how your feeling no matter what we do it doesn’t get any better. I will keep your son in my prayers that he safe, you will hear from him soon. My son and your son have something in common and that was to serve their country, and all we can do is encourage their journey and be happy for them no matter how much it hurts us as mothers I know it’s hard. Stay strong for him we’re all in this together. God bless you and your family.

          • My son had to be at Meps in Harrisburg 6/29 flew out today to be in Fort Sill tonight.. I have lost a lot in my life but I do have to say this ripped my heart out..
            His never been away from but a few times and I am lost but so proud of him.. We will share in our fine young men
            them having BCT together may they left one another..

          • Hi Marissa,

            I thought I have prepared for the day when he left. He had 3 layovers and each time he sent messages. I can feel he was missing home already so I kept reminding him to build friendship with the other kids. And yes, who knows our sons will become friends, 🙏🙏🙏

            I am so glad I found this platform where there are parents who understands what I am going through.

          • Hi Nancy,
            My son is also leaving tonight to be in Ft. Sill Oklahoma tomorrow. My heart hurts so bad and not sure how I’m going to get up and go to work tomorrow.

      • Thank you so much!
        I really needed this. My son in on week 4 basic training in Fort Benning GA. I’ve had one phone call and I’ve been writing and haven’t heard anything. The unknown is so horrifying. My faith is what keeps me from falling apart. In Gods hands.

      • April 6th 2021 9:00 pm
        My son enlisted in the army today, infantry at Ft.Benning. I have 46 days until he leaves. The tears will not stop flowing from my eyes. 20 years of seeing him every day and telling him that I love him. I honestly do not know how I will get through it. I do not know any of the process or how it all works. It scares me so bad that he has chosen Infantry. Everyone keeps telling me that it will get easier but it’s hard to believe that’s the truth. He’s my only little boy and this is one of the hardest things that I have ever gone through. I feel like my heart is broken in two.

      • My son left this wensday to navy great lakes camp I feel if I lost a part of my heart I feel empty I see his stuff laying everywhere and I think why he left me I gave him everything I could I feel destroyed I miss him so much have 4 other kids but I can’t understand why I feel as if I lost him I know his OK but my heart feels empty constantly crying crying I want to go after him so bad but I know he wants to do this so I respect his decision I put to my self to prepared for a trip to go when he graduates so I can go and see my young man turn into a men love him so much be waiting for him like when I was pregnant preparing for his birth anxiety waiting to see him it hurts to much don’t have the words to describe what I feeling

      • My son leaves for basic training in just a few days. I need a support group or I may not make it through this. Can you help me?

    • Thank you for this post. My son leaves tomorrow for MEPS and the day after for Fort Leonard Wood. He’s excited. He’s spent a lot of time hanging out with friends and getting psyched. I’m not sure what I am. Excited for him. But crying at the grocery store, in the car, and in the shower because he’s leaving. He’s going to be a MP, and has a 5 year contract. I believe it’s his path, and always has been. I don’t question God, and don’t question my som’s belief in his life’s plan. It’s just so hard to let go.

      • My son leaves Monday for fort jackson he’s the youngest of 5 only 17 always been in a hurry to grow up. It will be empty here come Monday I’m devastated

      • Summer,
        Please let me know how your son is doing? My son just left yesterday headed to Fort Leonardwood and I’m a mess. The reality of this just hit me I guess.

      • Thank you for this. I am pleased that I have come across this website and I will definitely buy the book. My son is 17 and is joining the Royal Marine Commandos (UK) and leaves in a week. We have always been behind him as this has been his career focus since he was 12 years old. He has dedicated the last year to pass his tests and we are so proud of him. But, I am struggling to mam6age my feelings and emotions and my heart is heavy and bursting all at the same time. We are a very close family and we will all miss him very much especially his younger brother. I appreciate the honesty and advice.

    • I took my son to MEPS early yesterday and here I am after midnight crying my eyes out. My husband thinks I’m insane cause he comes back tomorrow and doesn’t leave for basic until October. I can’t get those images out of my mind of his first day of kindergarten or his graduation from high school last year. I feel like each event we keep going through just makes me so emotional and I don’t know how I’m ever going to say goodbye to him knowing when I see him again he won’t be the same little boy I remember. I’m glad I found this page and read it. It’s helped to some extent. I’m sure I’ll reread it in the months to come. God help me through this.

    • My Upside Down World
      I know, every mother goes through a time period where the feeling of loss, from their children moving out to college or a career hurts and causes a re-evaluation of “what now?”

      It is different, far different when your child joins the military. During my son’s last year in high school (2019), we were prepping all the required college applications, forms, essays, etc. One day out of the blue he made the comment to me, “I’m talking to a couple of recruiters for the service”. I ignorantly ignored it at first, thinking “he will see it is not for him” and move on. The second time it was brought up, he came into my bedroom at night, and said “Would it be okay for a Army recruiter to come and talk to you”. Well….Mom instinct did not creep in, but rushed in like a mighty storm was about to brew. Of course, at that point I expressed (I think I was yelling) that we were all set for him going to college, and not to be ridiculous, I assured him he had no idea of what army life was like, started sending videos of everything awful I could find on the internet in regards to the army, and sent him every article I could find on the negativity of such a maneuver. This back and forth banter went on for months, even him taking the ASVAB (of course, scoring well in the field he wanted – IT Cyber Security)<< yeah, I was so happy for him <<sarcastically said. Then one night my beautiful “little” boy came into my bedroom, laid down on my bed, placed his head on my stomach, as he had done for 17 years when he wanted to talk quietly, and said, “Mom, I have made a decision, “I’m going to enlist with the army in their IT Program”. I must be honest, I actually felt my heart drop right out of me, but with the bravest and most encouraging smile I remarked, “Well, than I am going to be the most incredible Army strong mom you will ever know, I will be your troubadour and your staunchest supporter. “ Did I break in half, once he left my bedroom?….I shattered into pieces!

      On June 11, 2019, my beautiful baby boy, the one that built Thomas the Train Tracks all over the house, the one that would wake me up every morning as a young boy, by opening my French doors and say, “Mommy your favorite birds are singing”, the one that I spent 18 years molding, preparing, arguing and laughing with, the child whose giggle, laughter and hugs were always freely given and so contagious walked out the front door, got into my car, and I drove him to the Army recruiter’s office, where they would take him to MEPS. Even while in that office, I knew it was happening, I thought I had prepared so well, mentally and physically, we took pictures, we were smiling, I gave him a big hug good-bye, his bus pulled up, one last hug, he got on the bus, it pulled away, I got in my car, drove 15 minutes and then pulled into a parking lot and literally my life, my heart, my whole purpose for being on this planet, poured out of me, flowed down the steering column onto my lap until there were simply no more tears to be had<<<well for that moment in time anyway.

      No this journey does not get better…it gets different. You figure out how to manage your feelings of loss while being the biggest, strongest, bravest supportive Army mom in the world. Before I even had an address to write, I started writing letters (DO IT) it helps with your pain and your soldier will NEED every one of those letters. I remember the 1st letter I received from him, I could tell he was questioning his decision, he expressed that he had had tears at night, how much he was missing home, his Mom and of course his buddy for life (Mongo, his dog). I read that letter, and tearfully screamed “JUST COME HOME”…did I write that back to him, NO…instead pen and paper in hand “you got this” , “You are amazing”, “Don’t let anything get in your way of success”, “You are my proud soldier”, “Remember physically and mentally tough” and so on and so on everyday for 12 weeks of basic training, never missing one day of encouraging words, love, hugs, tears of joy for his successes, worries for his worries, and trying to be funny and uplifting even when my own heart and feelings were smashed all over the place.

      Yes…it is a journey, one that you will embrace, yell at, find joy and sorrow over. You will cultivate a new relationship, with your child, one that might not have been possible without this army journey. Quietly, I still go into his room, and touch all his beloved possessions; the baseball hat, the trophy, a shell he loved and saved, his Disney pins, his prize rock from Colorado…the sweet treasures of his youth; and with grace I walk back out and down the hallway where there is an ocean of new memories and treasures to explore and behold, while missing my shiny, beautiful, one of a kind pearl.

      Much love and tight hugs
      Elaine Mulderrig, Army Strong Mom

    • Thank you for this, my son just left for basic training in the Army, he’s a prior Marine. I haven’t written him yet, I’m to emotional and I know he needs encouragement and not his mom blubbering about my little boy across the country going through all this damn training and I’m not there to tell him I believe in you and how strong you are. I feel horrible I haven’t reached out yet. Its so hard for me.

  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.

        • My son is going to Fort Benning in July too. Infantry-Ranger. Maybe we can connect cause it sounds like they might be together or at lesst there at the same time? Hugs
          Christina Cardwell

          • Hi Christina,
            I’m sorry it took me so long to reply. The response went to my spam folder and I didn’t see it until now. Sounds like our boys may be together. Would love to connect with you. You are welcome to email or text me any time. I’m at cindy.t.todd@gmail.com. 919-672-0893.

          • Hi Cindy and Christina,

            My son is going to Fort Benning in July as well for Infantry. I’ve had almost a year to prepare for him leaving but I’m having a hard time with the thought of him leaving in a couple weeks. Hugs to you both.

            If either of you would like to connect my email address is kariandchrisf@gmail.com

            Kari Forsythe

        • My son is leaving for basic TODAY! He’ll be at Ft Benning (Infantry) as well. I came across this post as I was searching for some words of comfort as I head into this day. I feel numb and I’m worried I won’t be able to send my baby off with the right words. I want to express how proud I am. But I’m feeling complete terror. It’s all happening so fast. He enlisted and got his ship date for Basic all in 10 days! I thought I’d have a couple of months to process this. After I leave him at the recruiter’s office this afternoon, I’m heading straight to a book store. I know I’m strong.. but this may break me.

        • My son left July 1 2019 for Fort Benning. I miss him so much. He wasn’t out of high school yet when he enlisted. It is good to know my feelings are normal. I have been depressed but working through it.

        • I feel for you and your husband. I’m not a mon but I am a dad and my son is just about to go to basic training. He just finished high school and has plans for his future, and I am so super proud of him. I had to be put on meds just to help me get through my days and when I’m at work I can’t even concentrate on my work. I’m having the hardest time with all of this.

          • Hi Brandt! Thanks for sharing. We parents need each other and all the support we can get! The days leading up to his departure were the worst. By the time he actually left, I made up my mind to be excited for his new journey and that’s exactly how it was on the day he left. Another military mom posted a comment to all new military parents that basically said not to have any expectations because that’s what would get you the worst. For whatever reason that made sense to me and I took it to heart. I got a few phone calls and letters and the next thing I know, I was planning a trip to his graduation. Now on the backside of it, I laugh sometimes and wonder why on earth I was so stressed out. He was still ion American soil, doing something he dreamed about doing, he was safe and they took care of him. It all worked out and ow I have a soldier. Facebook has a ton of support groups. If you know where your kid is going, just search his base on Facebook or a family support group for that base. Hang in there, it’s going to be okay!

        • My son left for Navy BC 1week ago today. I was so excited for him and I thought that I would be alright saying goodbye as he left to live his dream , but I am not ok. I feel like I’m being selfish almost. Here he is making this huge commitment to defend our country and I’m at home dying inside. I think that the lack of communication is what is making this so hard for me. I feel like he is so far away.

          • Hi Jamie! Hang in there. My son completed Basic Training and AIT and is on the backside now. I worried myself to death in the days leading up to his departure, wondering how on earth I was going to make it without my baby boy. I finally got to a point where I made up my mind I was going to be excited for him and on the day he left, I didn’t even cry. I read another’s mother’s post that essentially said don’t have any expectations, because that’s what will get to you the most. She said to keep busy, do some of things you’ve been meaning to do, but kept putting off because you were to busy raising a kid. For what it’s worth, I took that to heart and it made all the difference. I got a few phone calls and some letters and the next thing I knew, I was planning a trip to his graduation. I went by much faster than I ever thought possible and I found out that I raised a good kid that the Army turned into a man. Facebook has a ton of family support groups, at least for the Army anyway. Ft. Benning and Ft. Lenardwood each have support groups and if you’re lucky, I was, you can even find photos that the military posts. Important rule, stalk, don’t talk, meaning don’t comment on the photos. It’s going to be okay, Mom hang in there!

  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.

    • Kristy, I totally agree with your post about your son joining the military is harder than burying your dad. I just buried my dad April 12, 2018. That was extremely hard on me, and still is. But on yesterday when I hugged my son as he was leaving MEPS to get on a van headed to the airport, the hurt I felt inside, I had never felt before. The hurt I felt losing my dad doesn’t even compare, on a rictor scale, the hurt that I feel now. And it’s only Day 2 for me. Still a little over 9 months to go before my son graduates Navy Basic Training. I don’t know how I will make it to tomorrow, moreless, nine months from now! I enjoyed reading the article and all of the posts. I don’t even have my son’s mailing address yet, as I promised his mom and I would fill up is daily mail with letters from us. I sit in the bedroom upstairs, and hear noises coming from out of my son’s bedroom. That’s how close my son and I were. He is my best friend. I know parent’s should not be friends with their children, but I beg to differ. I always wanted his feedback on things that he thought were important to him, and he always respected our positions as his parents. He never crossed that line of being disrespectful to his parents. Okay, I’ve written enough. It’s just so painful having to do this. But I have to. Thanks for reading.

    • My son has wanted to join the army since graduation last year. But he’s always been a ‘bigger’ kid. Over the last year he has worked hard and lost over 80 pounds. Two week ago he told me he was going to join the army. Not so fast forward to today he tells me he is leaving August 8. Two weeks. I cannot describe my emotions and the countless questions. I need to hold it together and stay strong because I know he is overwhelmed. And I need to just be a support. Proud. Support. Positive. That’s all I can give him now but my heart hurts.

  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!

    • I’m a man, but I feel just like each of you. My son leaves on November 4th, 2019. His mother (my wife) passed last year and now I feel like I’m losing him too. He joined the Marines and he did it out of nowhere. I hold a sense of “Maybe I did something wrong” where he chose this over college. I’ve worked so hard to provide for my family since my wife was severely ill for many years. Working two jobs and didn’t have much time to spend with him. Now that I do have time it feels like it’s too late. I’m proud of him and you all should feel proud too! But I know I’m gonna take it hard on November 4th.

  10. 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.

  11. 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.

  12. 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!

  13. 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!

  14. 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!

  15. 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!

  16. 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

  17. 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.

  18. 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!

  19. 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

  20. 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.

  21. 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

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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!

  28. 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!

  29. 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.

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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. 🙂

  33. 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.

    • Julie,
      Thank you for your post. My son is leaving for Benning and is going to RASP as well. How did your son do? Did he make it? Can you tell me anything about his experiences in RASP? Just so worried and he had to go and make it scarier by adding the Ranger option. Would love to hear how your son did!

  34. 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.

  35. 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. 🇺🇸

  36. 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.

  37. 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.

  38. 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!

  39. 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.

  40. 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!

      • Hello Mrs. Nerfer, Just noticed your reply after all this time, my son has been in the Army for Four Years, I’ve definitely had my ups and downs like you said, it does get easier as you go along and yes, I was so proud of him when I saw him in his dress blues, such a proud moment for all of us. He is now living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. loves it so much there he purchased his first home. I am so proud of all his accomplishments and all he sacrifices each day. I appreciate you taking the time to read everyone’s replies you are incredible.
        Thank you for listening, Have a wonderful evening!

  41. 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.

  42. 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.

  43. 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.

  44. 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!

  45. 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.

  46. 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)!

  47. 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!

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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!’

  54. 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.

  55. 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!

  56. 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.

  57. 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.

  58. 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!!

  59. 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.

  60. 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.

  61. 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.

  62. 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.

  63. 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!

  64. 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!

  65. 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!

  66. 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!

  67. 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..

  68. 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……

  69. 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

  70. 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 🙂

  71. 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

  72. 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!

  73. 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.

    • Hi April,
      Your comment really got me. My son is delaying college, but played football throughout junior high and high school. Those are some of my best memories, sharing his football days. We do the same kind of things texting each other on game days. I am so going to miss those texts. Hope your son is doing well

  74. 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!

  75. 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.

  76. 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!

  77. 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!

  78. 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.

  79. Well I am a dad of a child getting ready to sign enlistment papers. I’m proud of my son for choosing his direction and leaning on Jesus. But as a dad this is gut wrenching for me. This is my little boy who I’ve protected from day one and now I won’t be able to. I had his life planned out and this is not even close the plan(lol).

    But reading these posts of others who are experiencing the same thing is very helpful. May God bless all of you and your children. Thank you for the posts. These will keep my wife and me encouraged during this time.

  80. I am so thankful for this post. My son is 22 and has teetered on the decision for a year to join the Army. One day he just up and told me that he had already met with a recruiter and was leaving for MEPS the next week. He gets sworn in today. He is an adult and I get that he wants to do this for himself but at the same time, he is my only son. My baby. I raised him alone since birth, protected him for so long. He’s lived on his own for 4 years, but only 20 minutes from me. This is a very hard time for any parent. I just cannot even think about what comes next. I cannot imagine not knowing how he is doing or what he’s doing, or if he’s sick or sad or hurt. His younger sister is confused. She doesn’t understand why he wants to do it. We are all proud of him. He has always had a golden heart and wanted to help people and do the right thing. I can see why this is the direction he chose for himself. Him leaving for basic training is going to be the hardest time in our lives. I pray that all of your children are safe and that all of you have calmness in your hearts and minds. God bless you all and your children.

  81. My oldest son swore in yesterday in the Army and is leaving January 2, 2019. He is 19 years old. I have cried almost every day since he told me he was joining. Does it get any easier? I don’t want to be this emotional mess while he still here with me. I want to enjoy every minute, every second I have left to spend with him. I am so proud of him but at the same time I am so sad! So thankful to have found this. I have read these posts and felt and related to each post. Praying for all of the soldiers and their families.

    • Lisa, our son is leaving for BCT on 1/2/19 also. We’re unemotional right now because it’s been a 10 month process with a couple waiver waits but initially we went through surprise & sadness. He has set the tone by being very casual & has kept himself distant by working at his job (he’s 25, last one still home) & staying on computer or exercising. He doesn’t want anyone fussing over him, wants no goodbye party, doesn’t want us to come to base to see him off…just drive him to the recruiter’s and say goodbye there. He was going to move out anyway if he didn’t get in. So I’ve just been living my regular life – preparing for Christmas, seeing my friends, etc but I feel like I am mentally & emotionally avoiding the reality that , come January, he will be gone. But then again, why grieve ahead of time? From you other Moms, it sounds like that grief will be moving right into his empty room….welcome or not.

  82. Bawling bawling bawling. My son leaves June 3rd, 2019. I’m a mess. So many emotions to process, and I know theres more to come. Going to love and cherish every single minute with him til he leaves. But this is soooo hard. I need a support system who understands what its like, so I’ve started looking for fellow mommas. But I’m glad I came across this on Pinterest. Guidance /help please….from this Hot Mess Momma

  83. I came across this at work on pinterest so I am sitting here wiping tears. My son is 19 and has been talking about joining the Army since he was 13. I thought I was prepared for this but as he prepares to leave for boot camp in 2 weeks I realize no one is prepared for this. I loved your article and I will purchase the book. My daughter is planning on leaving for boot after she graduates in May. The Lord has a plan for my children and I know he will keep them safe.

  84. My oldest son is enlisting – MEPS was supposed to be this week however it was postponed so looking possibly at next week, he will be going to Boot Camp and AIT following Graduation in May! Im greatful to have found this article! My emotions are still very fluid right now as we had been preparing for him to go to College in a near by city… I have some support from friends and or spouses of veterans and we have alot of extended family that’s served however not really anyone in my exact situation of having a child join other than my 80 year old grandmother. Im very proud however im dreading his time away without contact! I’ve learned may don’t understand and im left feeeling alone much of the time.

    • Last fall I learned of my sons sincere desire to join the Army National Guard, I was very apprehensive in the beginning, he’s in his Senior year of High School and already had college planned out however with the help and guidance of a Retired Gaurdsmen and his wife (friends) and an opportunity to see my son among, others joining and Military personnel, I realized how well my son fit in with them and knew instantly, giving him my blessing! Our journey started off with delays due to weather, road conditions, holidays and then the one we hadn’t prepared for “medical” it didnt change his desire if anything it only encouraged him more and last month during blizzard conditions we followed a few hours behind our son and his recruiter to his Enlistment (photos attached)! I’ve struggled inwardly, conflicted between my heart and mind with being drafted as a Military Mom though it does not detour from my overwhelming pride and support for my son! The separation for Basic and AIT following his graduation is what I struggle with the most we’ve only ever been separated during an extended hospitalization for me and that struggle was very difficult for everyone, we are a family of six who rely much on our own with very little extended family support! As I prepare for his graduation – graduation/farewell party I find myself more emotional than the norm .. I higly recommend Supporting Military moms Facebook group for all military moms looking for support or aditional support with other military moms!

  85. Thanks for all the experiences for letting your child go. My 22 yewr old son leave for ft jackson on feb 5. I know it will come faster then i like. I c have cried on and off for weeks since he enlisted and he hasnt left yet. I know it will be hard but my faith in god will sustain me. He is my youngest of two and only son. He contemplated since high school but decided to try community college and many part time jobs. He decided finall 7 months ago he was preparing to enlist. My heart dropped although i and his dad totally supporg his decision and career. Thanks for the posts nuch needed. God bless you all in this journey.

    • Well one week my son left for fort Jackson. He called and text once while in reception now all is quiet. I just ordered the book thanks! Praying all is well for all the moms. I’m going through the grieving myself but keep praying daily until graduation April. Trying to keep busy as possible. God bless you all 🇱🇷

  86. I have been a stay ay home mom for 22 years and my oldest has enlisted in the Army. He leaves home in 2 1/2 weeks. I feel like my world is ending. He and his 3 brothers have been my world for so long I feel like I dont know how to be without them. The sadness and pain of his looming absence is killing me. I will keep this article a read it over ans over. Thank you for posting it.

  87. My son will be picked up by the recruiter in 3.5 hours. I cannot sleep. He will be sworn in this morning and on his way to Fort Benning. I’d love more information on a support group. Thank you all for your encouraging words!

  88. My son left yesterday (1/2/2019) morning to Fort Sill and I can’t stop crying. He is 26 and decided a few months ago that he was enlisting into the Army. It was never something that he talked about doing, then from one day to the next he informs me that he enlisted. I do not know how to deal with him being gone. I know nothing about the military, no one in my family is part of the military and I do not know anyone personally that is in the military so this unknown territory is very scary. When I talk to my family or friends they all tell me that I should be proud and not sad but they do not understand how proud of my son I am but that does mean that I can’t be sad at the same time. Thanks so much for writing this article, it really does help to know that someone understands what I am going through.

  89. I continue to visit this website and read all the replies. It is comforting to know there are others out there that are dealing with the same emotions. Maybe I’m not so crazy after all. I feel so much pride, but so sad as well. As we get closer to the day he leaves (5 days) the tears are returning more often. I cried at the bakery and in line at Wal-Mart. I feel so sorry for the people who witness this. It makes for a rather awkward encounter, but they have been very kind. Most of my family members keep reminding me that our children are not meant to stay home forever. I am quite aware of this, and I know they mean well but it does not comfort me to hear it again and again.
    Thank you ladies for sharing your experiences!

  90. Hi ladies:
    I love all your comments and it helps so much to know that my feelings are normal. My so is 18 and graduates from high school in June. He went to MEPS last week to sign his contract to be an Army Ranger/ Infantry. He has always talked about joining the military but I always encouraged him to go to college first and go in as an officer. I was surprised when last fall he changed his mind and decided to go in right after high school. He has good grades and has been accepted in several colleges but I guess that is not God’s plan for him. I have been crying and freaking out since October. We have always been so close, but it feels like he is pushing me away, I guess he needs to do that? He leaves for Basic Training July 22. I am so profoundly proud of him and the man he has become, but that doesn’t change how hard it is to imagine him gone and how mych I will worry about him and just miss him. I want to cherish every second with him, but at the same time I feel so sad and I just can’t imagine how I will manage not being part of his days? Thank you so much for your posts, I will keep coming back. I will pray for all of you and your sons, please pray for me and mine. God Bless our brave soldiers.

  91. My 20 year old son leaves in 2 days, (January 22, 2019) for basic to Fort Sill, Oklahoma. Reading these comments is making me feel sad. I’m trying so hard to be strong. He will be training for Combat Medic. I keep telling myself its like going to college, probably better. He is so excited to go. This is such a positive move. I guess what makes us all sad is that life as we know it, or our child as we know him/her will be different. The family will change. But life needs to change anyway. Its all good. These boys are incredibly brave. Although its difficult right now, we all have a reason to smile.

  92. Thank you ladies for all of your “raw” posts. Just as Christine, I sent my son off on January 22, 2019 to Fort Leonard Wood, MO. I was so strong until this weekend. I am struggling even though I am so proud. That scripted call we received at 12:30 a.m. before he had give up all contact just keeps going through my head. Leaning on my faith in my Lord and Savior to get me through this.

  93. I find myself checking back her often reading other messages posted from other Mothers in the same predicament I was in.. I originally posted Aug 8th, 2018. I thought my world was coming to an end. I had taken it upon myself to drive my son to the airport which is a good 2 hour ride one way. He fell asleep on the way which gave me time to think and hold back the tears.. the ride seemed like it was only 20 minutes. I hugged him good bye, told him to have fun and watched as the doors to the aiport opened and he faded away into the crowd. I kept it all together, thinking don’t cry in front of him or he might start. I cried on the way home, but it didn’t “really” hit me until I got home and received a text from him to say he arrived. The tears ran down my face more than the ride home. I found my house was empty.. other than his dog that he left behind for me to take care of. My husband had no clue what to do to help, honestly he tried everything. Boot camp was the longest he had ever been away from home. We as a family are lucky enough to have him stationed after boot camp, 45 mins away. Up until the new year he was coming home here and there. You see changes in them that are WOW!! i know now we won’t be seeing him until April. That’s the hard part. Then he will get stationed somewhere else.. my heart aches as he isn’t here, but on the same hand I celebrate that he is doing what he has always talked about.. I couldn’t be more Proud.

    I just want all the moms, dads and family it never gets easy, you just learn to deal with it differently. I found that for me quilting keeps me busy and walking his dog a hundred times a week.. helps us both..

    You are NOT alone, we are all going through it at some different stages or another. I hope that we all find the comfort and support each of us need. If you need to chat feel free to drop me a reply

  94. My son leaves for Army basic training beginning of March 2019. I have tears streaming down my face as I read through all of these posts. I have been so torn. I am so incredibly proud and know this is what he wanst to do. I want to be strong and support him but all someone has to do is ask about him or say his name and the tears start flowing. I feel like I need to cram in all of the things I still want to tell him and do everything we can together. Thanks you so much to all the moms who have shared their journey and struggles here. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone. So many words echo exactly how I fee, and I realize now more than ever that I am not just being a wimp and this is so very hard. As a single mom there isn’t really someone to talk to that understands how I feel. I would love to get connected and hear more about your journeys. Our sons and daughters are amazing and as as one shirt I saw said “Some search their whole life to find their heros, I was was lucky and raised mine” We are so lucky. I pray every day God’s blessing over our soldiers. Super proud moms we all should be. I know I will survive (eventually maybe). Not sure how yet. Some new friends to help each other through, would be amazing.

  95. I found this blog through Pinterest and it resonates exactly how I am feeling at this point. My son enlisted on February 5th and will be leaving for Fort Benning on March 4th. I have spent the last two years telling him why this is a horrible idea. I tried every angle to get him to change his path in life. But, being in the Army has been what he’s wanted to do since a very early age. I finally had to let go and tell him that I would support his decision and be his biggest cheerleader.
    How many “I love you’s” can I cram into the next 22 days? I don’t know if I can handle the military taking away my oldest. To go from seeing and talking to him every day, to not knowing where exactly he is, what he is doing, if he’s sad, happy, homesick, sick……I just don’t know if my poor broken heart will be able to stand this. I know that thousands of military families go through this…..but I certainly feel like I’m in this alone.

  96. My son left for Basic in September and we were so lucky to have him home at Christmas. Basic was hard, and it’s been hard not having him around, not talking more.

    I know he’s steeling himself to be a strong warrior, and that he’s got to communicate less to make himself feel like he’s strong. It’s hard. There are moments when I cry and just can’t stand the thought of not seeing him. There are moments when I’m incredibly happy for him that he has a calling. My kid could name all the tanks and guns and battles when he was a young guy. He prepared himself with scouting and camping and fitness. He worked so hard to get to where he’s at.
    My trouble comes when I think- this is his thing. It’s so hard to get him to understand that because he’s our family, this is also “our thing” – this military life. Sure, we get to stay put, but we can’t plan far ahead. His sisters miss him. They love him so much.

    Missing him and being proud of him – and sometimes worried for him – is just part of the thing that I have to do. I appreciate your article and all the mom comments, helping me feel less alone.

    Thank you all for the service of your kids.

    • I completely understand where you’re coming from with the “our thing.” We have struggled to get our son to understand that as well. His siblings miss him so much, and his leaving affected them so much. Obviously, we don’t want our soldiers to feel bad about leaving, but there’s no denying that there are negative effects on the family when they do. Thank you for taking a moment to share your story.

  97. This warms my heart. I feel so alone and my son leave in 3mo the and 15 days. June 17th he got to Fort Benning. He’s recently told me he is scared. He picked a very dangerous MOS. He enlisted the summer before his senior year and has spent his senior year in PT every Thursday.
    They are doing a nice spread for him in his yearbook.
    But this boy of mine! I have a meeting with his Principal on Monday because he has anger issues. How do I do this on Monday, and in 3 months send him away. Just like you wrote. I can’t wrap my head around what is about to happen.
    I cry randomly. I want to spend as much time with him as I possibly can but he’s 19 and 3 of his friends enlisted in the Marines. So guess who is getting all his time. Not me, his friend. It’s normal and I would expect that but it breaks my heart. I want to spend so much time with him and I get so little. I did manage to have dinner night with the family every Wednesday. There’s at least some commitment to family time. This is hard and it’s just going to get harder. I’m ordering the book now. Thank you for sharing. I feel like such a baby for feeling so out of control.

  98. Oh My God! I wish I had found this article a moth ago when my only son left for Basic Training. He enlisted for 6 years. I suffered years with panic disorder and let me tell you, this experience really has been a Basic Training for my own Mind, Body and Soul as well. It is not “my” panic disorder any more. This experience has forced me to learn to let go of my fear and have Faith. I didn’t hear from him for weeks and when I did finally get his first letter he told me he was sick with pneumonia and on day 2 of sick rest – and that if he missed another day then they would hold him back and make him start over! This is all after finding a diary about him being suicidal before he enlisted after he left :(( I already lost my brother 10 years ago due to a Navy Dr. overdosing him on his anti depressants. Words are almost always inadequate. I struggled with my son all through his school years and already went through the empty nest thing once with him his Senior year. After high school he struggled in keeping a job and he became more discouraged with his life. I Love My Son, with All of my heart and I AM SO Proud of Him for making the decision to turn his life around for the better, for taking the brave and difficult steps toward living the life he deserves. For wanting to better himself. For enlisting with the Guard because “if it comes here” he wants to be able to defend our country! He is So My Son!! More than Good enough. To My Son, and all the other parents and young soldiers out there, I see the Light in You! Please Know You Can Do This And Let your Light Shine More Than Ever!!
    Every day I Pray for another letter or phone call! I Pray he is not held back. I see another possible military Mom in the store, and I want to hug her! It is at least a comfort to know, We are Not Alone! We are All in this Together! All of Us! ღ

  99. My 19 year old came home and told us he decided to join the army about 3 weeks ago. It should not have been a complete shock as he has always been so patriotic and passionate about our country and the freedoms we have. He has a giant beautifully colored in reds and blues, eagle emblem tatooed on his chest, lol. He had an older half sister who served in the Army when he was a little boy. He admired her so and still does. Shane (my son), took the ASVAB one day, went to MEPS the next day and took his initial oath. We had 3 short weeks to prepare ourselves for his departure to basic training. He left Amarillo, Texas this past Monday, March 11, 2019 headed for Ft. Jackson, SC. Thankfully last night and today we have heard from him. He has been in processing. He has been able to send pictures of himself in his uniform. He says they will clean the barracks this weekend and sleep, but come Monday morning he will start basic training. I suppose I will not hear from him for awhile now? I really do not know what to expect. He has yet to forward an address where we can send letters to him. Will that be coming anytime soon? We had a very nice family send off for him. He felt so loved and so supported and so did I. It helped so much to have our family come together and support him and pray over him. The know without a doubt the only way I will get through the next few years is by God’ s Grace. He will be my strength in weakness. I am good today because I heard from him. But I am so fearful of the coming days and not hearing from him. I am fearful for him and all that he will have to endure. He is strong and I believe in him, but still….. I am just looking for a place to be understood. A place to be heard and know that other moms feel like I do. A place to turn when I feel like I am falling apart, as well as a place I can one day encourage another mom.

  100. This brought tears to my eyes. I instantly signed up for your newsletter because I have been there and done this the past 12 years. My baby boy left at age 19 for boot camp. My husband was out of town on business, so our daughter and I took him to the base. Unlike you, I did cry. I cried a lot. So did our daughter (who fought with her brother daily before that day!). We left him there and drove 5 hours to our friends’ house, where I cried more.

    12 years later and 3 deployments to Afghanistan, I’m crazy proud of him. I still cry when he leaves and when he comes home.

    I greatly appreciate that you lean on Jesus. Without Jesus, I’d be so lost–in more ways than one. I couldn’t get through the deployed days without Him.

  101. I am crying while reading your article. My 19 year old son will be sworn in tomorrow 🙁 I am very proud of him but my momma heart is so heavy. I would like the facebook support group please, I know it will help to be surrounded by other women in my shoes. And YES you are so right, Jesus will get me thru this. Thank you for your words of encouragement and raw emotions, only a mother could understand.

  102. Thank you for the words of encouragement but I cry as I write this. My youngest leaves the first week of July . Just a month and two weeks from now oh my god that seems like such little time with him my heart is so heavy right now .I know it’s selfish but I don’t want him to go he’s my baby even though he’s 18. I have 3 boys and my youngest decided to do this. I know his future will be a whole lot better but right now for me it’s not how do I get over this. Oh my goodness! Like we’ve always been close as a family we go everywhere together even as my boys ( not really boys ages 24,22,18) are older we go to the movies, park, church, etc you name we go together. Their are times that’s it’s guys night out (husband and boys) I stay home and relieved I don’t have to cook. That’s the way I want it to stay . I’m so scared honestly! I can go on and on but I just want to tell you thank I’m so happy I stumbled across your story on Pinterest. My husband always says “don’t cry, don’t let him see you like this “ but that what I’m feeling and the closer he leaves the more I cry myself to sleep.

  103. I found this searching the Internet for comfort. My son in in his third week at Fort Leonard Wood, MO. My heart feels so heavy. His letters are breaking me. I feel like I’m not going to make it through these next 8 weeks of basic training. I worry that he made this decision in haste, that he was following his friends and at a loss for what else to do in his life and not because he had a great desire to serve his country. I worry that he may be regretting his decision. I know we are in it for the duration now but I’m honestly feeling like I don’t know how to get through it. I know that God is watching over him. I pray several times a day and I do have a peace that he will get through this but the waiting for time to go by and not being able to see or talk to him is killing me. I do feel like a big baby right now and that I should be stronger but I am in so much pain. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I will go buy the book. In the meantime, I ask anyone that reads this to please pray for me and my son.

    • Lisa this is exactly what I feel–my son was sucked in by a persuasive recruiter and a friend. He doesn’t want to go to college, which is fine, so he figures there is nothing else to do. At no point has he said he wants to serve. He has only said he wants a challenge. That is not enough of a reason. My heart is breaking. Of my two boys he is the softer one–this will kill him.

  104. All of your stories mirror the roller coaster of emotions I am feeling right now. Our only daughter has decided to join the Air Guard. She really caught us off guard a bit. She currently has a 4 year full scholarship at a private college, but she has been inspired by the Air Force for some time. She and I are like peas and carrots. My heart is heavy and the tears come in waves. She hasn’t even left yet and I am a mess. It’s going to be an emotional road, but I am so proud of her selflessness and desire to serve. Your blog us very uplifting. I will definitely be buying this book too!!! Prayers go out to you all. God has a plan! Thank you for sharing.

  105. My son is the third generation soldier, first generation Officer. My Dad was a machine gunner in the south pacific during WW2 and I was a paratrooper during the Panama Invasion and Desert Storm. He is a Lieutenant, the first commissioned officer in our family. So proud of him!

  106. Thank you for this! Having been in the Navy myself and my oldest following 8 years ago… NOTHING could have prepared me for my baby joining the Army! Thank you for the tips and insight that all of us need and thank your son (and you) for his service!

  107. My oldest son leaves starts his Army journey tomorrow. He will be leaving to FT. Leonard Wood, MO. I dropped him off at the hotel this evening and have been a hot mess since. This is what he has wanted to do since he was 4 years old. You see we are an Army Family. My dad, grandpa, brother and husband have all served in the Army, but it so different when it is my baby who is now pursuing his dream of serving our country I am hot mess right now and could relate to your article. Thank you for sharing and I hope this does get easier and I can get a grip. I have a younger son who I have to be strong for as well as my son who leaves tomorrow. I look forward to reading the book and hoping to find a support group in my area

  108. My son left on July 1st and I am truly an emotional mess. I don’t display my emotions in front of my other three boys because I don’t want for them to feel sad that I am sad. What an emotional rollercoaster it is. I keep myself busy and pray that all is well with him – I still say that he is My United States Army Soldier even though I know I need to let go.

  109. I am so thankful that I found this page, but I am crying my eyes out while reading these posts. My son too left out of Niagara Falls for Fort Leonard Wood on July 1st. He is only 17 years old and joined the National Guard. I feel like I am mourning a death.

  110. Well my son leaves for Air Force basic in 8 days and I’m already having a hard time I cry slot and I don’t know what to do. I liked this post and will get the book. Also I’ll look for family support. He’s my everything and only child only out of high school 2 months. I’m proud and lost.

  111. Weeping reading this. My youngest son turned 18 last week, graduated from high school in June and told us this morning that he had an appointment with the Marine recruiter this afternoon. BOOM. Bombshell. I am shaking and crying–have been all day. My husband, his dad, is an Air Force veteran and his service really messed him up-PTSD. I did not think I would be sacrificing another family member to the military. He goes for his physical and tests tomorrow, leaves for Camp Pendleton in San Diego in October. Won’t be home for Christmas. For crying out loud I haven’t even gotten his graduation pictures back yet. This is awful. He has anxiety and ADHD and eye issues and a heart condition. He is not cut out for this. Help!

  112. My son leaves in October for Fort Benning, GA. We are so proud of him. I dread the day he leaves but at the same time want it to come quickly. It’s been a roller coaster of emotions the past couple of months.

  113. I just googled what does a mom do when your son join a the army? And I got you.

    Thank you for your writing and sharing. ..I will get that book, and look for more support. His name usnathan… my 4th born, my baby. And yet, I see this man, a military man being born. I feel like I am ready to explode…but can’t. Guess i will just take it one day at a time till he ships out january 13,2020. It will be here before i know it. Right?

  114. My daughter left for basic today and I am heartbroken! I feel like I can’t breath and I have been crying uncontrollably since we left MEPS. I really don’t know how I am going to survive this

  115. Nov 20, 2019
    My 25 yr old son left last night for Ft Sill, Oklahoma. He graduated in 2012 and headed to UNC Wilmington where he got his Business Adm/Economics degree in 2016. He worked at a few little jobs while trying to get into a good company. A year later he went to Suzhou, China to work along side his Dad, then he spent 8 months alone working and living there. Once he returned he realized what Dad did (he’s an Engineer)self employed was not for him. We helped him move into his first apartment on June 1st without a roommate, just minutes from his new good job. By the end of July he started talking about joining the Coast Guard. Never had he even mentioned an interest in a Military career.!! I was beyond shocked!! Not for a moment did I think he would be the least interested..he’s not a showy kid into stuff, but he certainly has had the comforts of having his education paid for and a car. After helping him search for weeks to find an apartment, I told him you do your own research. If this is something you really want you have to do the work to accomplish it. After 38 yrs of raising kids, I have a 38-yr old son, 25 yrs old (the one I’m discussing), and my daughter who I adopted When I was 45yrs. old is 19 yrs. old now and in college. So here we are. My son decided on the Army. He could have gone into officer training but instead got a great sign on bonus and he had a high score on the ASVAB and the D-LAB his MOS is 35M Human Intelligence Collector. (HUMINT) . After Ft Sill he will travel to Monterey, Ca for one year to learn the language where he will be stationed possibly Korea. My point of telling you all this is that even though we try to create the perfect future and opportunities for our kids in the end it is their decision. For all you Mom’s with young kids just out of highschool, I know how you feel my oldest son enlisted in the Navy, unfortunately he did not like it. It was extremely hard seeing him go, so unsure of what he would be facing. Seeing these young guys and girls yesterday really brought the tears. My son said..Mom I’m going to make a point to help these younger guys. These are good kids..hang in there Mom’s be proud. Thank you all for letting me unload my feelings.

  116. This made me cry, I hurt everyday. Thank you for sharing. He started BCT August 19 and is currently in AIT. Will be in another different state soon.

  117. While I feel some comfort knowing I am not on this journey alone, I feel like my situation might be unique. Maybe someone else out there can relate. My son is 31 and enlisted October of 2019. He has been engaged for over a year but had no wedding date. After he enlisted he decided to get married before his basic training which begins 12/30/2019. Given his age and the fact that he is now married I am completely out of the loop. He doesn’t even want us to see him before he leaves for basic. I so wanted to be there when he shipped out and to watch him take his oath. I’m heart broken. We have always been close and I don’t understand any of this. He was not living at home, he actually lives in another state and was successful in his career but felt unfulfilled. I understand his need to find his calling but why keep his family (he has a sister, brother in law and 2 nephews) at a distance and not include them in the activities that families normally attend for new enlistees ? I am showing nothing but support towards him but dying inside myself. I have respected his wishes and do not plan to attend any of the events associated with his enlistment. He is my only son and I have no idea what to do.

    • Shelly, your position is quite unique and my heart breaks for you. I wish I had some comforting words but I fear nothing I could say could alleviate what you are going through. I can say if it were me, I would go anyway. There are a few things our son didn’t feel we needed to make the trip for which I still regret, but Party of that is I felt he needed to have some time to feel independent.
      But in your situation, I would still go, I would still write, maybe explaining how it’s not just about what he needs but maybe what you need. He may understand this… there maybe something underlying he doesn’t want you to know or see… but speculation will get you no where. All you can do is love him… and try to get your needs filled.
      I b write my not several times a week. I just need to.

  118. I tried to read all of the posts before posting my own… but the tears would not stop.
    My boy left for the Air Force basic training on Monday. We got a very “one word” answer type of call that seemed like he was not alone… and a text with his address to write. I wrote this morning at 2 am to get it in the mail… then today we found Sandboxx which gets the letters there faster. Not certain if this was necessary, but it’s worth the money. He is my only son and we have heard great things about the Air Force. I worry he will regret his decision Because it came down to his lack of options or direction in his life, maybe somewhat ignorant to the true expectations of a soldier.
    He has always loved all war movies and as a child talked of wanting to be a soldier. This should ease my mind.
    But my heart is broken. Someone said it above, maybe it was the author of this article, but it feels like he is gone. I’m grateful I have a son who can have this experience, there are many who don’t. But grieving like this I cannot remember ever doing… even after losing both of my parents.
    I have a loving husband, cat who misses her boy, dog and a few members of my family left…I try to express gratitude …but not today …instead I chose to sit here and cry. I looked this up to see if something was wrong with me. What mother feels like this instead of joy for her son? Im so grateful there are others who feel this way and I’m sorry now for ever thinking negatively of myself as doing so was thinking negatively of all of your broken hearts. So I’m so very sorry for feeling that way and although I do not wish for any one ever to have to understand my pain, it’s so relieving to know that this appears to be normal to a military career. You hear how hard it is, but you don’t realize it until it’s upon you.
    Thank you all so very much.

  119. Hi thank you for this post. My son leaves for the Army next Sunday. This has been such a hard experience for me. Though I am so proud of him, and beaming with pride my heart hurts. He was supposed to have left twice now, and because of the virus, they have postponed it twice. This has been hard in itself, because just as I prepare for him to leave it changes. You see I have two boys, and when they were young both of their dads passed away from different disease. One from a heart condition and the others from cancer. My oldest already moved out and is a reporter for a newspaper in another state, and now my baby is leaving, I have so many emotions going on with this. One is my last baby is leaving the house, two he is getting close to the age his dad passed away and I have this overwhelming fear that something could happen to him, and I am not there, and lastly other then my recent marriage, its always been just me and my boys, and I am not sure how to live differently knowing the boys aren’t really going to need me anymore. To make matters worse, because of this virus going on, they have canceled the graduations, and family days, so it will be a year before I will see him again. I am so happy for him, because he has been talking about this for a long time, but my heart hurts at the thought of letting him go. I trust Gods plan, in this and that is what is helping me get through.

  120. I was searching to find if anyone else feels this way and came across this read. Exactly how I feel!!!! My son just left for basic to fort benning June 29th & I’m falling apart. He is my middle child and only son. I feel like my heart has been ripped out literally. It helps to know this normal. I was starting to think I was going mental. The covid has made things more difficult. He had graduation on Friday then left on Sunday to report (also his birthday) and we couldn’t be present just pass off to recruiter then flew out Monday. I feel like I lost him all at one time!!! I would love to find a support group feel very alone and no one understands this isn’t like going to college or moving. This article makes me feel better!

    • My son has been planning for this for two years. I pushed him to really think it through and finish college, both of which he did. He is so passionate about wanting to join the Army, and that is what is getting me through; he is passing up great jobs to try to become a Ranger. He wouldn’t be happy doing anything else at the moment. So, I’ve had time to prepare, but seriously, there is no real preparation for when they finally leave. We got a reprieve, a delay of 4 months from his original ship date, due to COVID, but his 7/27 date is certain. Unfortunately, because no one is allowed on base, we can only drop him off at the hotel on Sunday, and then watch everything else on Facebook. I think that seeing him take his oath and getting one last hug would have given me some closure. Anyway, I am a mess; I cannot stop crying, and I know this is grief, but it does feel like he is heading off to die. I know it’s normal, and it will get better. I keep telling myself that God will watch over my son, and that this experience will help him become the man he is destined to be. But…IT. IS. SO. HARD. It sure does help to read the other posts, and know I’m not alone!! Here’s a prayer that COVID somehow retreats, and our boys get to come home for Chirstmas Exodus.

  121. My son graduated from high school June 26 and left for Ft. Benning July 14. I am only a few weeks into this emotional journey and reading everyone’s posts is comforting. I never expected being an Army Mom would be this difficult. I am still in the stage of random breakdowns and longing for any type of contact with my son. I am ordering the book today. Thank you to everyone for the support and for raising children who understand that our freedoms are not free. God Bless our children and our country.

  122. My son Brandon just enlisted today for the Army. He signed up for Infantry and Airborne. I have done nothing but cry and throw up since he’s returned from completing his physical. My heart is so heavy and he leaves September 21st. I dont even know how to carry on with my life. I know it’s his life, but he is my baby and I just want him home with me, so I can keep him here and watch over him.
    I know that sounds extremely selfish , I know I am proud of him and he will come back a new man. It’s just the letting go and not knowing or talking to him, that will kill me

  123. I told my husband that is was like you were in my head & writing my very thoughts! My oldest who is 23 just left this week for Ft. Benning. He tried going to school off and on until realizing it wasn’t for him. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard “Well, it’s not like he’s 18 or hasn’t lived away from you before.” Thank you for acknowledging that THIS life is different!! I 100% feel as if I am grieving for my son.. even if he is 23!!! He’s always my boy.

  124. Thank you so much for this post and your honesty. I will go back and read EVERY comment. My son leaves in less than a week and sometimes it feels like I can’t breathe. I’m so incredibly proud of him but so incredibly worried, sad and already anticipating the hole in my heart his leaving is going to create. I read everything I can to get information about his new life. I have sat through freezing ballgames, sleepless nights, sickness, health, crazy girlfriends, teenage shenanigans, and the terrible twos. I will be here for every step of this journey too no matter if we are a world apart!

  125. Hi, my son left for the Army sept 21-2020, so glad I found this, I’m a dad, my sons are my life, can’t help but to pretty much cry everyday, it’s tearing me up, I never dreamed it would be like this, I’m so proud of him but all I think about is when he was little, not sure how you get through this, I try so hard to think about different things but I keep thinking about someone screaming in his face or if he’s making friends, if he’s ok since I’m not there to watch over him. This is so hard he’s my world.

  126. My comment is one that is discussed. Ive been giving lectures for 10 years on Joining the Military. I ask the young men and women why are you joining, what are you going to do as a job, and what are you going to get from the experience. The worst one is “whatever they give me as a job”. Others are ” Im going to be a SEAL, Green Beret, or Ranger. 70 percent will not get their choice. Why, the Military forces needs to fill slots from truck drivers to cooks. The biggest mistake is not understanding the possible duties that are available to you. If you didnt do well at school, you get a lower level of job. If you say Im going to be in Special Ops, well how many months have you been training plus some forces dont take certain aged individuals for Spec Ops billets without being in a combat unit for several years. Also you need common sense. You need to ask questions, understand the facts and commit to achieving your goal.
    I spent 3 years as a Marine infantry as a Corporal. I was going to reup in Marines, but I sat next to a Green Beret. I listened and asked question for 4 hours. I joined the US Army, was assigned 82nd Airborne for 2 years before I was accepted into Special Forces. I stayed on teams for 7 years before becoming an officer. I further worked in Sprcial Ops for a total of 24 years. Think before you take the leap. Talk to veterans, relatives, and Recruiters. Find the situation you want. I have buddies that went infantry and then went to West Point. Understand several things: recruiters fill vacancies, you are just a number, Do not let them delegate what and where you go. Talk to relatives and friends in your circle; teacher, coachs, veterans, and other individuals. The military runs their requirement from Oct to Sept. The Marines are filled by August, the others usually do not make there numbers before End of September. At that time, your choices are limited. Knowledge, seeking wisdom and understanding the process will work to your advantage and provide a better outcome for you.

  127. My son is now a senior in high school but about mid-year during his junior year, he started talking about going into the Army for cyber security. I initially just took this as a passing phase. As the weeks continued, he did more research and continued to speak about the various boot camp locations and where he might get stationed for AIT. He was carrying a few extra pounds and put himself on a diet and has lost 45 pounds. He begin a fitness regime. About a month ago, he stopped at the Army career center on his way home from school. Reality was sinking in that he really is going to do this. Yesterday he went for his ASVAB and TAPAS. He scored well enough and then some for his desired MOS so next week he is going back for a Cyber skills test and his physical. The recruiter came to see us last night and if all goes well next week, he will be signing his enlistment papers with a DEP. I now have 7 months to mentally prepare myself for losing my baby. This will be rough since he is my youngest. Even with his sisters, I talked them into commuting to college rather than going away to school. I do plan to get the book mentioned in this blog and read it cover to cover over the next few months. I think one of hardest things is that if he gets his desired MOS, he will enlist for 6 years.

  128. Hello I first found this blog 2 years ago time does fly. My son is 2 years almost with Army. Sadly he doesn’t like iit aww I feel bad. He now wishes he had finished college, Not too late we told him he’s just 24 almost 25. I see the maturity but he isn’t happy at all breaks my heart. I pray this too shall pass and that he finishes his inlistment and finishes college after which he plans too. He’s home for thanksgiving first time since 2019 he served a year tour in Korea. He said he was very homesick although thank goodness we had FaceTime and text daily. Well learning experience if even for just one term he is a veteran and served his country. God Bless. Thanks to all the yound men and women for their service!

  129. Thank you so much for this article. Our oldest son is 21 and still lives with us. He started talking about joining the military a couple of months ago. We didn’t realize he had already been taking with a recruiter. But he had. This week he went to MEPS to start his physical and all the other things they do there. He has his MOS already picked out and got his ship date. I dint think you can ever be prepared for the day your children come home and tell you they are leaving. I breaks my heart so much because I am so not ready for this day to come. I never thought that when he left home it would be because he was joining the military. Don’t get me wrong I am SUPER PROUD of him for this decision…but at the same time I’m so scared and nervous for him not knowing all the things he will go through. I have held it together pretty well right now…but I k ow when the day comes that we have to leave him with the recruiter that will be the hardest day of my life. He is joining the Army and will be leaving for Fort Jackson on February 2nd, 2021. Again thank you so much for your encouraging words…for I have been looking for all kinds of articles and videos that will help me understand what he will be doing and to help me get through the fact that he is no longer my little boy…but Is now a grown man he wants to be able to protect our country!!!

  130. My son joined the Navy in February, and because of COVID, has not been allowed to see his family at all. He has been stationed all away around the world, and , with no date in sight to go on leave. We are all struggling. How do we cope? It’s been too long

  131. I too am happy that I came across this feed. I am a newly Army Mom as well. My oldest son enlisted and left for Ft Jackson Feb. 1st. We got a call 2 weeks before and was given the date. I was fine all the way to the date I had to drop him off at the hotel they were staying at. We are in the car heading there and he turned to me and said Mom you did so good! I said Why? He said, You didn’t cry… I said don’t speak so soon… We pulled up got out and hugged, took a few pics and inside he went.. I watched until I couldn’t see him anymore. Got in the car and drove up the street and around the corner… I LOST IT! Crying hysterically, couldn’t catch my breath! It came from nowhere! I wasn’t even thinking about it! I had to pull over… My phone rung, it was my son…I thought wait, did he sense my pain? Or did he lleave something in the car? Trying to fix my voice so I wouldn’t make him feel no kind of way, and The Mama I heard, was filled with tears and heavy breathing… OMG! It was like the Mama call you hear when their 3 or 4 and had a bad dream, or fell and something actually broke… That broke me! I wanted turn around and go get him! In the midst of the phone call we both are sobbing and he says, Mama I just wanna that I you! I wanna thank you for everything and anything.. I LOVE YOU SO MUCH! I thanked him for being an awesome son, an awesome kid and a even awesome Young Adult. I told him he made parenting easy.. I am thankful… We said our love yous and hung up. I developed Anxiety… I worry about him daily.. The crying, the stomach pains and the restless nights… I GOTTA STAY BUSY! I never knew I could feel like this. But then again, these are our babies, carried them for 10 months, read to them, sung to them and raised them as best we could and knew how… I have my youngest Son and I try to keep it together… He’ll say Mom, it’s ok, I understand if no one else do. You’re our Mom. You Love us! So cry mama it’s ok, I miss him too… My youngest consoled me and it really helped. I just gotta learn to get back to me.. I meditate and pray and it helps also.. It’s a process tho.. He called today and sounded a little different. Using words he rarely ever used..I knew he was keeping something from me.. I understand the secrecy of the Army.. I know he stressed and I know it’s new and hard, But I also know my child. He is up for challenges! I know he strong and tough! But tell that to my Soul….. My little boy has grown up, did really good at school, graduated, went to college for a couple years and decided to join the army… I am proud of him PERIOD! Whatever he chooses to do I always have his back and I am in it 1000%. I just miss him.. His laughter, his silliness, his running in my room hugging me and saying he going out and he’ll be back and he loves me… His PRESENCE! The Army Sgts. I know can be pricks, mean, intimidating, calling them all things but by their name, embarrassing them with vulgar language included… I just hope they all let it go through one ear and out the other.. I have heard countless stories of kids being tortured and taunted by authority figures and they don’t even make it back home… Not because of war either…Sad… Ft. Jackson Ft Jackson, take care of them all, yes teach them how to be men but do just that!

  132. Hi
    Everyone I know I not from the USA but I feel just what you mums are feeling
    Sick scared worry
    When I read that mums story I felt even more sick but then I thought wow I’m not the only mum going though this
    Tho I have two son going into the Australian army in November here in Australia well the base camp as well for 3 months
    I can not stop thinking of all the things that can go wrong, just like that Mum was thinking
    But you can not do anything about it you can not ring them and. Tell them I coming to pick you up or anything
    I think that hurts the most not able to do anything and not knowing what’s going on hurts
    I don’t know how to prepare for November all my boys talk about is the army ever time I hear them I want to be sick the feeling you get in your stomach is awful I have age so much and gone grey it’s not funny anymore
    I am looking into the army things here in Australia I do believe having a mother support team will help heaps and this story of a mother going though his as helps heaps as well I so glad I came across it
    Tho I still have a few months to prepare
    Just don’t know how and the sick feeling does not go away just get worse as the months come closer
    I guess I’ll stop rambling on
    Just want to say I’m glad I found this mother story it did help me thanks again 😔

  133. Thank you so much for this article. My son is 20, and has just enlisted (army). We kind of knew it was always a possibility since he mentioned it, but he went to a recruiter suddenly and everything just happened so quickly. I’m a nervous wreck and need support, but I can’t find any groups in my area… I’m in central FL. Or even an online group would be better than nothing. I would appreciate any help I can get.

  134. I just dropped my son off at the recruiting office and he’ll be headed for basic tomorrow.
    We thought we had until August and they moved his date up significantly, giving us only two short weeks, which went by WAY to fast.
    Driving away from that recruiting office this morning was a heartbreak like I’ve never felt.
    I’m a single mom and it’s always just been, us.
    I can’t even begin to wrap my head around the idea of life without him here. And the silence in the house is deafening.
    Thank you so much for sharing your story. It gives me hope that I can get through this. One breath at a time.

    • Mrs Nerfer, I’m so happy I came across this article. I’m feeling and experiencing all the emotions you described in your article. I’m really having difficulties coping with my son’s absence. My husband, myself, and younger son dropped off our older son at a hotel on May 9, 2021 which was also Mother’s Day. He flew out to Fort Sill on May 11th. My heart is broken and I too burst out in tears at random times and places. I miss him so much. I will definitely try to find a platform for support. You are absolutely right about how there’s nothing to prepare us for life after our kids leave. We have had them close to us since the day they were born and then one day to another, we don’t see them anymore.

  135. My son was accepted into college, paid his tuition and room/board for the fall session of 2014. I was so excited to know he would be nearby at one of the local colleges. Then on July 4th, he told me he had enlisted into the army and was leaving in 10 days! Where did this come from? I panicked thinking they somehow convinced him this is what he needed to do. He promised me he was just going to do boot camp and comeback and do 4 years at the nearby college through the ROTC program but that this way, would help him pay for college. I was so relieved when he was back and starting school in January. It was great to see him develop with other ROTC members with just short duties away in the summer. Then he graduated and went to Fort Bragg and my world seemed to change forever. No longer in touch, seems detached, uninterested in anything back home. Even when he comes home from the holidays, he seems unsocial like, not talkative. I have long known he would “change” but not to this extent. He called for Mother’s Day this year and could hardly engage in conversation. Anytime I mention that it seems “different” between us, he says “things are fine” and quickly changes the subject. I am grieving and have been for years, I just don’t know how to accept this. As a single parent, I had such a great relationship with him and I am forever missing my son who used to ask me questions, or just want to hang out. Miss the college years of Sunday dinners with him and his housemates. I cried reading all these responses because I finally realized I am not alone but also, I need to grieve him, but I don’t want to because then I will feel that the Army has won. I sometimes daydream that he will call and just say “Hi Mom, just thought I would say hi.” He is stateside and able to call anytime, but he doesn’t. I will forever be grateful for the memories I have of those precious times we were “family”

  136. Thank you for this post. My story is slightly different but equally painful.
    He left then served for nine months during the bombing of Syria at an undisclosed location in the Middle East. We didnt know he had gotten back although he told his dad and aunt. He has since refused to talk to me and avoided all vmails emails and texts since March of 2020. Covid then prevented me from driving the five hours to see him. Now I have a new grandson who is a year old who I have never met amd my granddaughter who I miss terribly. I could drive now that Im vaccinated but Im afraid I would get the door slammed in my face and have to drive the five hours back. I feel like not only dis I lose my son but I have had my future as a grandparent stolen from me.


  137. Thank you! Thank you! I have great hope after hearing a Moms story that is so relatable- my faith is strong as is my confidence in my Son who will be leaving in July. As retired Law enforcement- I thought it might be easier for me- it is not! I am so proud of this young man- I believe he will do amazing things! I truly appreciate the insight and will purchase the book and continue to follow you. God bless you and your amazing son!

  138. Thanks for this article. I’m ordering the book you recommended as soon as I finish typing this comment. My son leaves in just under a month for Coast Guard basic training. I thought I had it pretty well together until I got into an argument with my son last night. We really don’t argue anymore. I was so hypersensitive, and so was he. And in our conversation afterwards, I realized and told him that I’m feeling very nervous about him leaving, about whether we’ll be any good at keeping in touch when he’s not here in the house anymore, and ultimately about whether I’m losing him forever – such a strange and irrational thing to type, but it’s there. So this morning I googled to find out what to expect and found your article. Now, I’m crying my eyes out even while I type this. I’m so proud of him, and I’m so sad. I really appreciate your experience. Now, to order the book….

  139. Thank you for this article. I sobbed while I read it. My middle son arrived at his Fort for OSUT on August 31st. I received a phone call from him this past Sunday 9/5. It was such a relief to hear his voice. I cannot stop crying. I didn’t realize I would feel like this – grieving as you said. I have all of this joy happening in my life, including the birth of my first grandchild (my oldest son’s firstborn) and my mind keeps returning to my middle son. It’s like I am smiling but not really there fully. I’ll look into the book you recommended. I’ve joined some FB groups too. I always considered myself a “strong” female- I was a CO myself for a handful of years in the past but this experience is leaving me crying and heartbroken – and I supported his decision to join the Army. He had talked about it for a few years before doing so at age 19.

  140. I think you wrote my life experience here. My son announced a few weeks ago he wants to join the Marines and leave after graduation in June. I don’t even know how to live normally for the next 9 months because it’s all I’m thinking about. There is so much to learn and prepare for, although the day and days after will never be the same. I am wondering how and where to learn all the military lingo and finding support groups. I am proud, honored to say he is my son, but I am selfish and don’t want to believe any of this is true and just a dream. So many emotions daily. I don’t want June to come.

  141. WOW!! You spoke my words and feelings exactly. My son is in the Army at Fort Sill, Oklahoma as I type this. He came to me this past May and said he was enlisting. I took him every week to his recruiting meetings opened him a bank account. He just graduated high school this past June, turned 19 in July, and has been gone since August 2nd. The first three weeks were the worst. Like you said felt like he dropped off the face of the Earth. Then I got a letter and an address and it made dealing with it better I write him every week.

  142. My son just left for marine bootcamp. It is soo hard, I don’t think I’ve ever felt pain like this. I can’t sleep or eat. Cant stop crying, it’s the worst. I wanted so much to tell him don’t go but it’s his life all I can do is be there.

  143. Thank you so much for this article. My son left 4 days ago for Fort Leonard Wood and I’ve been trying to convince myself to just keep moving – everything is fine. Your comment about grieving really hit home. That seems to be the stage I’m avoiding.
    Can’t wait to dive into some of the resources you mentioned as well.

  144. My oldest son just joined the ARMY. He spent last week in processing and today is day 3 of basic training. I’m sitting here bawling. I didn’t think it’d hot me this hard. I come from a military family…uncle’s, cousins, in-laws. Even my mom was military until I was 12. I figured living the army brat life and moving state to state as bases changed that I’d be better prepared…I was wrong. Absolutely and unequivocally wrong. Thank you for your article…..it’s the first thing I’ve found to helpy sanity.

  145. This is precisely what the military should hand out to prospective military soldiers parents to prepare them for what is come instead of the unrealistic expectation that will not prepare them prior to basic training during the enlistment process. I would have rather had preferred this information as it would have provided me honesty over what the recruiter told me all those years ago. I remember going grocery shopping, and breaking down in the middle of the cereal isle sobbing uncontrollably. I avoided cereal or things that reminded me of my sons for months after that. I had told my very closest friends for years, it felt very much like the biggest piece of my heart had been ripped apart and I didn’t know how to heal it. Then, about two months after my son left, he and my husband had done something in advance to him leaving. They both had known his decision was not going to be easy for me and planned on a gift to arrive. My husband asked me to go for a ride and I unknowingly went with him and we arrived at a farm. When we got there, he informed me of what was happening. He informed me that when they wanted to ensure he was thinking of me no matter what, and he wanted to keep me busy and although my nest was empty hopefully this would occupy some of that time and our newest family member Gunner joined our family. Now I am not recommending every military family mom missing their child needs a puppy, however I found that after raising 5 children both 7 years apart and thoughtfulness of my son knowing I needed the companionship knowing how close we were fit our unique situation and worth sharing. My son made a better person letting him be who he had to be and that meant letting and loving him from a far. I thank god I was fortunate enough to find a support group online, since our son was in station Fort Benning as we lived across the country in WA (which took 2 days travel time-to coordinate traveling to see him for his graduation before leaving to AIT) He was our youngest out of 5 children and after sending the older 4 off to college. Since I could not comprehend his decision, and just like you, after trying to reason with him, I too, had to support his decision as a mother’s love is unconditional to the end. But walking away from that bus taking him to the airport broke me and I was not able to hold back my tears. You see, when he graduated from HS, he was only 17 entering the military, he had to have me sign for it and he already accomplished an Associates degree, 4.2 GPA, received multiple full ride offers to college, and it was my knowing he was choosing service and selfless dedication over a full ride and that made sign the release and ultimately made me decide that I had to respect his decision that he worked so hard for. Fast forward to 5 years later, we just traveled 12 hours last weekend for his ceremony so that we could be there for me to be pin his promotional sgt, stripes on him, It took some time to truly appreciate the true meaning of Army Strong Mom, when your child enlists, you join the military right beside them, every military family is your friend, and hero. So thank you for articulating so beautifully what I am so many parents have felt so deeply in their hearts!

  146. My 18 year old son leaves in 6 months for army basic training. I was doing fine until the holidays came. My extended family started talking about “lasts” like this will be his last Christmas at home…it hit me like a ton of bricks. We are on Christmas break and I’m crying all the time. I don’t want my son to see me this way and I don’t want to cry away the time I have left with him home. Any advice on curbing my emotions and enjoying our time?

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