What the heck is wrong with me?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by hopeful1998, Jul 21, 2016.

  1. hopeful1998

    hopeful1998 Member

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    So, I made It through I day, first phone call, two sad letters from DS, didn't even shed a tear in his 18th bday(this past Monday). We , in fact, got his first happy letter that he got to raise the American flag with color guard ON his bday. Now, I can't seem to shut off the water works. What the heck - I'm not a crier, don't even seem to get emotional when it's "appropriate" !! Is this normal? I can't help but to think Im sad because his happiness gives a permanence to his absence?
    All I can think is "why didn't you take the full ride to cal poly slo"?. Ugh - I need words of encouragement!
     
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  2. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    ImageUploadedByService Academy Forums®1469084568.641265.jpg

    This. Four years from now, you will be on your feet crying and grinning and cheering with sheer joy and pride.

    You are going through a bit of the grieving process, as you watch the little boy you raised recede into the land of memory. You can't have that little boy back, you can't freeze him in time and space, you can't stop his progress out of the nest. You can grab onto the present and be in the moment with him - but also at a respectful and healthy distance - and let your own path unfold as you watch his with interest and love.

    If your mom and dad are still with you, this could be a great conversation with them, because I am sure the memory of your nest-leaving, when it became final, is still seared into their brains.

    It's the way of humans. Be a bit sad for the departure of that little boy you know so well, and delight in the man he is becoming before your eyes. You will still see glimpses of the boy the rest of his life.

    When we visited my mother-in-law, even well into her 80's, when she was still making some meals for herself in a continuing care community, I watched her smile quietly to herself as she watched her DS/my DH devour a Taylor pork roll sandwich on white bread, a massive pickle and some odd fresh fruit jello thing, when we visited her in Philly. She told me later it was his favorite Saturday lunch as a boy, and when he brought mids home with him for the weekend from USNA. I offered to my husband to stock the makings, but he just said, no, it only tastes right at Mom's kitchen table, and laughed. My sister-in-law, married to the younger brother, also a career Navy officer, shared that the same applied, only with an Italian roast beef sub.

    He will always be your son. Just not the same, but someone new to know and love as an adult.
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
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  3. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    It is different....Don't ask me how or why. Dropped older brother off to traditional college never gave it a second thought. Wish I could tell you it will end soon, but my son will be a 1stie(Senior) this year, I can still tear up thinking about this whole experience. We are a military family, and I am pretty much considered a hard case by my family, but this is the one exception. BTW still had 3 more at home so it wasn't empty nest!

    Some of the Dad's started an expression"Pride leaking out" you an search the treads on this forum to see more on this .

    http://www.serviceacademyforums.com...this-is-what-its-all-about.42506/#post-421566

    One thing to remember is that you have not lost a Son You have gained a Whole family because that is what the Academy kids and parents become.

    Last but not least. If you think you are crying about him being gone. Trust me you only have to read about the angst of the families whose DS/DD did not get an appointment. They are still shedding the occasional tear. I know I had one of those too.
     
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  4. Stealth_81

    Stealth_81 Super Moderator Moderator Founding Member

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    I won't say anything to try and "fix" the feelings, because we have all gone through them. You will definitely have high and low points in the next few years and sometimes you never know why things changed. One of the things that always helped me in the low times during the first year was writing him a letter telling him about your feelings, why you were both sad and happy for him. I think that those letters help both parties since it gets your feelings out, and also lets him know that you're thinking about him. My son has said that the worst times at USAFA, as well as on his deployments, was when he wondered if anyone remembered where he was. I still write to him every few days while he is overseas.

    Stealth_81
     
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  5. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Ha A letter might be a good way to vent...Mine would never read it, but the venting process would work all the same. This son is our "Cave man" he would jump out of the car and run when we got to the airport to avoid that last Hug and Mom crying. I finally got smart and get the siblings to drop him off so I didn't cry half the way home. Any time I get sentimental with him he puts his fingers in a little cube shape, and says "Put it in a box Mom, you can drag it out later".

    BTW I still end up with the 5AM runs to the Airport...the siblings don't seem to love him so much at that hour...GO Figure.

    One other note....have found that DAD really likes to go pick him up from the airport alone. About the only time he ever gets so see him the whole visit, gets a little update o how things are going, talk a little military lingo.
     
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  6. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Not all sadness... If I really didn't convey, part if your tears are not sadness for your loss. They are this overwhelming sense of emotion, your son and your family are part of something bigger now. like when you hear the national anthem, or Lee Greenwood's ...Proud to be an American.
     
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  7. hopeful1998

    hopeful1998 Member

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    Thanks to all. I'm very upbeat in my letters. I even sent a transcript of admiral mcravens UT commencement speech, essentially telling him to "get over it" when he was complaining about things.

    This may be off topic a bit, but it's a big sadness trigger for me. in his last letter he said some plebes in his company were acting like children("how on earth did they get in"?) and as a result, they all got punished ( multiple occasions)

    Yes, I get it. They are a unit, and no longer individuals. However, when I think of my friend, whose kid wanted an appointment so badly, it's frustrating!
     
  8. LongAgoPlebe

    LongAgoPlebe Member

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    It is tough hearing when the actions of one get many in trouble. I know you know that is part of the learning process too so I won't repeat it. But the other part...about some plebes acting like children...that is all normal too! All of them are "up against it" 17 hours per day (except when sailing and there's no wind, perhaps!). People do stupid stuff when they're up against it. Heck, *I* did stupid stuff when I was up against it. I mentioned on another thread that if it could be dropped, I dropped it, and every time I dropped something I had to shout "Ah-WOOOOOO-gah!" and my squad had to shout "DIVE! DIVE!" while I did a diving pushup to retrieve the dropped article. Cadre would pin notes and things to my white works because they didn't want the poor widdow pweeber dwopping important things. When I got my head in the game, I stopped doing stupid stuff. Your son's shipmates will too, for the most part - and for the very few who don't, they'll have to find ways to win anyway, and help their shipmate win too. They'll figure out the first part pretty fast. The second part is why it's a four-year program.
     
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  9. Dadof2

    Dadof2 Member

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    Yes, I think it's normal. Isn't it a kick in the butt, though - you spend 18 years trying to raise a kid who will grow up to be a self sufficient, ethical, responsible adult and when they finally do it, your parental instincts kick in and it feels all too soon and you want them back.

    Can't say there was a lot of waterworks with DW and I last year during DD's plebe year, but a lot of worry and emotion as she experienced the high's and lows. All I can say is enjoy the fact that he is happy now. He is likely to have a lot of ups and downs over the next year, and let me tell you the downs are the most heartbreaking as a parent. Especially if there is serious questioning of whether this is where he wants to be. Toward the end of DD's plebe year, on the last day possible, our DS got his TWE from USNA. As much as it was tough to see DD go through plebe year, seeing DS's disappointment that he wasn't going through plebe year was just as tough. In the end it worked out fine - he is going to a SMC on a 4yr ROTC scholarship so same destination, different route there.

    Good luck and enjoy PPW.
     
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  10. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Ever since the IG played Lee Greenwood's "Proud to be an American" during our unit's very first ORI out brief slide presentation (this was a new TASS started from scratch), and we had all outstanding and excellent ratings and declared "operational" only 14 months after first starting the unit, I cannot even get through the first chorus without tears, no matter where I am or how many times I hear the song.

    BTW, DH tears up a lot more, especially when reading DD's letters, especially the last "happy" one that was four pages long, but he calls it allergies.
     
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  11. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Allergies? yeah right :)

    4 pages? you have got to be kidding. If I took everything my son has said since he went away it wouldn't fill 4 pages
     
    Last edited: Jul 21, 2016
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  12. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    IG - Inspector General
    ORI - Operation readiness inspection?
    TASS - Beats Me

    So for all you Non- Military families welcome to the world of "Militaries"(I a sure someone out there has a better word) a language defined by its excessive use of acronyms, which when spoken by a pair of career retirees, turned Defense contractors, can sound much like space aliens. with certainly no more than 3 complete words per sentence!

    There is a huge post of acronyms someone will re-post as soon as I write this...mostly because I am too lazy to go search it out!
     
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  13. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    It's the Acronym Sticky at the top of Community Info Forum.
     
  14. hopeful1998

    hopeful1998 Member

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    I wrote DS a letter today and used your comments that everyone reacts to stress and exhaustion differently. It struck a chord with me, and hopefully with him as well. Thank you!
     
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  15. hopeful1998

    hopeful1998 Member

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    I can't imagine dealing with one sib getting an appt and one getting a TWE. That could put some long term stress on you and the family. God bless you!
     
  16. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    We went through the same thing. It wasn't pretty. I think there are TWINS that one has made it one not. That seems even worse!
     
  17. 2020HD

    2020HD Member

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    I think what hit me the hardest was what Capt MJ said so well (above); you can't have that little boy back. Parents and their children who go to a regular college have at least a four year transitional on-ramp to adulthood. There's no one moment where they realize they don't still have the same roles as they have always had. The kids are back home all the time, and these days they may be back after they graduate... for years more. They don't get "90 seconds to say goodbye to your child" like we did or go home from that realizing that that little boy will be gone the next time you see them. The whole weaning process, instead of taking years, is compressed into seconds. Hell yeah that's hard. And until it's replaced with the next form of your relationship, it's all you have at the moment. Write letters is the best advice.
     
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  18. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    My apologies...I am guilty of both - military and defense contractor. So here is the spelled out version for the one not yet guessed:
    - TASS - Tactical Air Support Squadron

    Back in my day, the aircraft was the OV-10 Bronco, and the pilots were called FACs (Forward Air Controllers)
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2016
  19. Capri120

    Capri120 Member

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    Unlike Dadof2, our older DD received a TWE several years ago, but, with her as well, it has worked out for the best. Even though DDs are 7 years apart, they have competed against each other for most of their life. I'm Sooooo glad they were not closer in age.:eek2:
     
  20. forumjunkie

    forumjunkie Member

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    Oh shoot that was an easy one I should have been able to figure it out! That's why I was never good at game shows. Don't apologize , you just get to check the bi-lingual box! As you can guess, 'Im married to one of those, Mil/contractor types, I am used to it, but I have stood back and listened to a few of them when they get deep into conversation, and get a real chuckle thinking about how it must sound to a civilian :)
     
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