I wrote this on a blog and this it's appropriate here:
We concluded one of the, longest, happiest and saddest days of our lives. Bittersweet to say the least. When I saw DS's shaved head, all I could see was him as a baby. That's when it hit me hardest and I was overcome by emotion. We were leaving our son in the hands of someone else to take over the next stage of his transition to adulthood. Interlopers on the process of parenthood. Now, someone else was going to have dominion over my child. We will no longer be the primary authority in his life. He has left the nest and will only be a visitor to this place we call home. A four year weaning process cut down to 30 minutes. The emptiness of his familiarity will be profound, but all growth comes with cost. I know that time will moderate this new normal.
He's entered a world that will provide extraordinary opportunity and risk. A place that will push him like nothing he has ever experienced, but will make him a man like no other place can. It was his decision to do this, and we are at peace with it in addition to being proud. A remarkable individual, who is at a school filled with people just as remarkable. Not special people, but extraordinary people. Selfless, smart, leaders, and I truly believe the best this country has to offer. How lucky they are to have one another and how amazing they will be on this journey together. He's in the right place. Our Service Academies maintain an expectation and value system of excellence, the only constant in a free society of variables. Where our political parties and leaders, media, institutions and many facets of society have failed to maintain civility across the spectrum, these people give me hope and renewed conviction that indeed we are still the greatest nation that has ever existed. We are the shining light on the hill, and it is they that carry the torch.
None of us set out to raise superheroes, just a better versions of ourselves. Help them learn from our mistakes while letting them learn from theirs. Our DS, like all three of our children, is an amazing kid, but we didn't do it alone. He had God given talents that we as parents helped nurture and maximize. But he was surrounded by people who genuinely cared for him and conditioned him to be his best self. In addition to blood relatives, our extended family at Church, summer league swim team, and year round club team (old and new) have been a blessing. The coaches and teachers DS has been exposed to have been paramount in helping develop his intellect and moral character that permeates the soul. And his friendships that he developed, were just as diverse as anyone and all great young people that we are proud of. He represents a piece of each of them that have touched his life.
So, as I step off this soap box, I say thank you to all who have helped DS on this path, but we are no where near finished yet. This is just a new beginning for him, a journey of a lifetime. May God Bless America and all those who keep her safe. GO NAVY! BEAT ARMY!