November 2007 I was a civilian mom with little interest in the military. That all began to change when my son walked into my bedroom one afternoon before Thanksgiving and announced he wanted to apply to West Point. Ok, I thought as I stopped dead in my tracks. I didn't even know where the place was, I googled to learn West Point was pretty far away. Hmmm...
Fast forward seven months and I'm quite familiar with where West Point is located. Got myself an EZ Pass as proof (I know West Point is located in NY but NJ tolls are a stinker!) It's reality, I'm now the mama of a soldier. My son is attending the United States Military Academy upon successful completion of Cadet Basic Training. The day my beloved son stepped away from my mother's arms and into the Long Gray Line will serve as one of the proudest and saddest days of my life. Sigh...
Since my son has begun his 47 month journey at the United States Military Academy, I have been humbled by the kind and sincere people who have reached out to me.
To my mom who faithfully listens and pushes away her own feelings to allow me to have mine.
To my sisters, one who had tears in her eyes yesterday when she heard my son's voice in the tape recorder listening to our 10 minute call from him last week. The other who despite a hectic schedule and a great disdain for writing letters is now sending her nephew hand-written notes.
To my husband who reassures me that I'll be ok even when I'm not sure.
To my aunts who send me Scripture and love.
To my two remaining OS who love on me real good and make me laugh and cuddle up next to me even though they're nearly 12 and 14.
To my friends who send cards, messages, phone calls and unbelievably ask me how I am doing, I hold those words close to my heart. My special friend Jenn has her own little warrior now as of July 8th but comments on all of my posts, almost without fail.
And to countless strangers who are now in my family.
I love hearing people's stories. Some of you have been sharing your stories with me. From all over the world, people have been reading. Now, I know some of you are looking for "recon" that is, fodder for a certain New Cadet. Others are just curious. It's been wonderful to connect with people from Russia, Chile, the Netherlands, Hawaii, Korea, Singapore, Egypt. The military weaves folks together. Our family has enlarged and we're not even a month into it.
Since most of you probably don't read all the comments on my posts, I thought I'd share a small collection of comments I've enjoyed receiving.
Today I simply want to share the post with you...these are from folks I will probably never meet personally but sense a kindred spirit nonetheless.
Like this comment...
"As a '92 grad who comes from a VERY close family like yours, know that the love you send does make all the difference. My dad wrote me a letter every day during my plebe year, just an anecdotal sentence or two as he drank his breakfast coffee. Some day, it was nothing more than a rant about the cat or a joke about my mom's lasagna, but it was exactly what I needed to hear, on a consistent and caring basis. There were many times that those notes helped me remember who I was, and the the people who knew me best in the world believed in me."
Another person shared,
"Our son is in the class of 2010 and is presently a first detail squad leader for "Beast" (yes, he was one of those cadets on R-Day). However, we consider it a miracle that he is there at all. You see, less than four months before his R-Day, he was accidentally stabbed in the chest with a hunting knife and underwent emergency open heart surgery. We nearly lost him. As a result, he was medically disqualified from the academy. Nevertheless, he didn't give up. He worked hard to recover from his surgery and get back into shape. He applied for a medical waiver which was granted three weeks before R-Day. In spite of the pain from his surgery, he made it through "Beast" and His Plebe year. He is now going into his Cow year and has been on the Dean's List every semester. I share this because we feel this story can serve as inspiration to others."
And then this one which arrived today...
"I am a West Point grad from Class of 1975. One of the great things about West Point is the intensity of the experience, both good and bad. Your blog awakened that in me and brought tears to my eyes. My first month at West Point was really tough, the only reason I did not quit was because I could not bear the thought of going home and people thinking I could not cut it. So it does not surprise me that in the first phone call you got that weariness. Frankly, it took me twenty years after West Point to realize it, but it was true for me and is true for your son; he is in a great place doing great things and he will have experiences and friends that he will never forget. God bless him and your family. And to the cadre reading this, you too!"
I can't wait to hear from more of you and hear your own stories. My sister urged me to start a blog over a year ago. She knew I liked to write so it didn't take a lot of prodding. Writing is a release to me. A way to express and feel, the urge to write overtakes me at times. Words fascinate me. I collect them and I look forward to your comments and thoughts.