Just visiting.

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Dad, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. Dad

    Dad Member

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    DS left for USAFA this morning. When he left, it occurred to me that USAFA is his home and he was just visiting us. He is planning to go to Peru over spring break with a Peruvian cadet. He may not even come home this summer.

    While we miss our DS, we are so proud of the young man he has become. He has a handle on his finances. He has a working plan to be an engineer and a pilot. He has 74 days until recognition as an upperclassman. He has done alot in his 19 years and has positioned himself to do much more. We are fortunate that he still occassionally asks for advice (usually about $, taxes, and frequent flier miles) and we talk fairly regularly.

    This has been quite the rollercoaster ride so far and we're just through the 1st semester! Does this get any easier?
     
  2. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    No.

    Stealth_81
     
  3. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    I decided to expand on this a bit. During the time while our son was at USAFA we always used to think "Things will get better when (insert milestone event here) is done....." No matter what event it was, as soon as he passed it, another one came up on the horizon.

    Doolie year, BCT is followed by classes starting, then waiting for Recognition. Then it is waiting for first summer assignments. Second year was the hardest academically for our son, and then the pressures of some of his friends deciding to leave USAFA before committment. Third year he had PRK surgery, and then comes the AFSC selection and waiting for the results. Then it was waiting to see if the PRK worked well enough for him to keep his pilot slot (they make you wait a year after the surgery to have your full commissioning physical). After his third year our son did Deployed Ops in Qatar, and then during Firstie years comes base assignments and graduation plans.

    We still thought that after graduation things would be easier because he would be in 'Pilot training'. Well, pilot training is broken down into phases and we are learning the hardships of each phase and the milestones that each of those bring. We were thrilled to have him home for his 60 days of leave after graduation. Then in July when he reported to Laughlin for his casual job, things happened with housing and delays and changes of plans there. He finally headed to IFS in November and loved it. However, we got the call one night that he had fractured his ankle playing volleyball and was taken off flying duties. He worked hard at recovery and was able to get back in the cockpit fairly quickly and double up some flights and graduate IFS with his class. With the amount of people getting dumped during IFS we were more worried than we had been any time he was at USAFA.

    Now he is home for a few more days before he heads back to Laughlin to begin UPT in a couple of weeks. I am sure that we will have a lot more things to look forward to then.

    So, I just wanted to let you know that 'No', it doesnt get easier, but there is no way to describe how great it is to see their accomplishments. All of the stress that we get as a parent is well worth it for them to pursue their dream.

    Stealth_81
     
  4. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    I concur with Stealth, it doesn't get easier, unfortunately from an emotional standpoint it gets harder because every hurdle they jump over it just feels like a larger hurdle is presented.

    Use Stealth's DS as an example, the hurdle will be "drop night" when they get their assignments for their air frames. Let's say he gets his dream plane, than it will be FTU for base assignment selection. Get's his base assignment and than it is IP. Gets IP and decides he wants TPS or WIC, so on and so forth.

    Just accept that all you can do is support them and as any good parent will privately worry.
     
  5. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Dad, I had nearly the identical experience. This is a new life experience, as our USMA cadet is the first out of the house.

    Stealth and Pima, your comments are depressing (but likely very accurate, as usual)! :redface:
     
  6. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    patentesq,

    My point was it does not and will not get easier, sorry if you equated it to depressing.


    Just wait, they aren't depressing at all. They are the happiest of all joys you can imagine as a parent.

    They are gut wrenching and realistic, but OMG they are worth you looking at the clock and waiting for a phone call from them.

    You can't imagine the joy you feel when you hear their voice on the phone regarding any new hurdle. Right now you believe that the emotions you felt when the apptmt letter or I day could not ever be surpassed in your wildest dreams.

    Just wait.

    Wait to the day they call and say I got my dream career assignment, because honestly the SA or ROTC was the stepping stone, the real goal was career.

    Just wait.

    Wait for that day when you watch them raise their hand and take the oath.

    The reality is for any parent with non-military children there will be hurdles and obstacles in their corporate careers. We can't shelter/protect them.

    If you accept that fact you will accept what I stated... than you will agree it is not depressing at all.

    It is mind boggling, but that is due to the fact IMPO for 4 yrs you get a kink in your neck watching the sky in case a shoe falls.:wink:
     
  7. patentesq

    patentesq Parent

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    Thanks, Pima!! I received a great call from DS when he got back to his room today. He knocked the ball totally out of the park in terms of his GPA for first semester. He did so terrific that I'm actually starting to think that he's not related to me at all (switched at birth in the hospital nursery or something????). He is very solid where he is academically, and his goal of med school is definitely still in play! Seven more semesters to go, though!

    BTW, USMA is changing the way it does branch assignments starting with the class of 2015 (I think), and being a star academically is no longer a guarantee of branch assigment. (I don't think the Army wants all the math geeks to go Infantry, so I understand that cadets will have to interview for the branch).

    Anyway, it was a terrific day today. Sad and joyful in the same bucket!
     
  8. Lynpar

    Lynpar Member

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    DS went back to KP yesterday. Something unexpected seems to be occurring however. The dread of him going back really out weighs him actually going back. I seemed to spend time fretting about it but once he is back in uniform and at the airport everything feels back in balance. I noticed it for Thanksgiving as well. When he went back this time he said he wanted to take his guitar home with him.....to KP. We both caught it and laughed. I think that is a good sign. Also because of the guitar he needed to check his duffle bag so being short on time I just dropped him off at the departure doors and left. That was it. No hand ringing from Mom. No uncomfortable atta-boys he doesn't need to hear from me. No forced "yes, I couldn't be happier to go back to cleaning stations, the regimental "stuff" and studying so hard my blood type now is Starbucks Via."
    We are getting the hang of this :thumb: there are new and exciting things happening and I am actually happier stalking ( I mean watching) electronically from afar, lol.
    Life is good today. :cool:
     
  9. lovethenavy

    lovethenavy Member

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    Our DS leaves for USNA tomorrow. It was a great break and went too fast as usual. It takes him a couple of days to get back into the being home mode. Now he is switching over to his going back mode.
    We got quite a surprise last night when our DD got word that she was accepted into the Airforce Summer Seminar. I was so excited for her, but also as I got to thinking, sort of sad. I know that things are going to be different, but as long as my kids are where they want to be, I am content with it. I would rather have my DS want to fly from the nest than to tell me he doesn't want to go back to the academy. As parents, we wrestle with these mixed feelings daily. I agree about the feeling of balance. Once my son is on the plane flying east, I have a sense of peace that he is going back to where he belongs. Now if I can wrap my mind around having a daugther in the Airforce. Wow. :smile:
     
  10. AF6872

    AF6872 Member

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    Wait till you get the call that they are getting their (appartment/home) at PDS. It doesn't get easier although they get older they are still DS/DD:biggrin:.
     
  11. Pima

    Pima Parent

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    Hate to be you lovethenavy when it comes to AF V Navy football!:shake:
     
  12. Christcorp

    Christcorp Member

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    Even for someone who has been military most of their life; me and my wife; it doesn't get any easier. Matter of fact, for us, I think it was even more difficult. The average Cadet parent/family gets to see their cadet possibly during parent's weekend, thanksgiving, christmas, spring break, and summer break. Maybe not all of those, but generally that's all they'll see their cadet. You get use to not seeing them for months at a time.

    With our family, we live only 2 hours from the air force academy. During the first semester every year, my wife and I saw our son almost every weekend or two. Either he was playing football or we had/have season tickets. So from parent's weekend until thanksgiving, we saw him almost every weekend. Then, he'd go back to the academy, and 2-3 weeks later, he was home again for Christmas. The first 2 years at the academy (With no car), he'd call us for Martin luther King and President's day long weekends, and we'd go pick him up to come home for the long weekend. So the 2nd semester was like 2 weeks at school, home for a long weekend. 2 more weeks at school, home again for a long weekend. Back to school for a couple weeks, home again for spring break. Then, gone for 2-3 months before summer break.

    Once he started his 3rd year and had his own car, life changed dramatically. We still had season tickets, so we'd see him every or other weekend in the fall. But 2nd semester, we'd never see him. He was skiing, snowboarding, hanging with friends, etc... Hard at first, but it's natural and what he SHOULD be doing. Not coming home.

    Last year, we saw him at christmas, then only a day or two for spring break because he spent the time doing other stuff. Then, we saw him for 2 days in the summer. He came home to get his driver's license renewed. He did 3 weeks in ohio, 3 weeks of BCT, and for his vacation he went on his own to Peru to volunteer at an orphanage and do some sightseeing. So, from 1 Jan-11 til Parent's weekend Sep-11, we saw him for 3 days. We had a great fall seeing him every weekend or two during football. We also took a family vacation/cruise to St. Maarten and the Bahamas for Christmas. But I really don't expect to see him again until around May, right before graduation, when I go to pick up some of the stuff he has in his room that he doesn't want shipped off to grad school or pilot training.

    So no, it doesn't get easier. Once they drive, it actually gets worse. Once they turn 21 years old..... Forget it. You'll see them for the major homecoming, but once home they'll spend that time with other people. And if you happen to leave NEAR Colorado springs, its even more difficult because they know the area real well and aren't shy about going other places and not coming home.
     

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