My son leaves for GL this Sunday and my heart is broken. I am sad, worried, and very proud all at the same time. Whenever I start to think that he wont be around anymore I get very emotional. He is my first born, my only son, and my buddy! I am going to miss him so much. I also worry hoping that he knows what he is getting into. Although some of our family has served our Country, we are not what you would call a military family. I know all of our children must leave the nest. We do the best we can and then they must move on to build their own lives. It is just really hard letting go and not being able to know if they are okay.
lest you think you are alone, this was posted by a dad to another member dealing with separation anxiety....
"I know you have seen some encouraging comments from other members, but I wanted to weigh in here too. On 28 January, a month after completing college, my son was sworn in to the Navy DEP. It was a couple of days after that when it hit me....after 23 years of a daily relationship with him everything was about to change! I knew joining the Navy was going to be the absolute best thing for him. But in spite of that, I became very depressed. I had no idea what I was doing but googled Navy support groups. I found this site. I remember posting my first comments.....reluctantly because I thought others would think of me as less of a man.....how depressed I was already at the thought of my son leaving and he was not leaving for boot until 1 May. Well the responses were surprising! All the admins and a number of other members put me at ease when they responded that every dad on this site, if they are honest with themselves, experienced the same thing. I also followed the great advice from the admins to read as much as possible on this site. All of this really helped! But then came the week before he left. I became very upset and just wasn't sure how I was going to cope. It really took some work to get it under control. Then the day came to put him on that plane to Great Lakes. As the tears flowed, it was my son in a bit of a role reversal that said, "dad, it's going to be just fine." Well from that point everything happened just as it was described by the admins and other members on this site from receiving the "kid in a box" to the form letter to the first phone call. The best advice I received after his departure was to write often. I didn't really think my son would care that much because my son has always been very independent and not the "home sick" type. But I found out two things in writing the letters: he loved them and encouraged it and they were very therapeutic for me! In the 7 weeks after I received his address I wrote 16 letters. All typed, no spacing, and not one under 4 pages long! I would never have imagined being able to come up with that much to write about....but you will be surprised. It truly helped the time move along as well. Then believe it or not, PIR was upon us. My son graduated on 28 June. The only thing I can say about PIR is that as it relates to my son, it was the second greatest day of my life......second ONLY to witnessing his birth! When you see your sailor march into that hall and you realize he/she is now a part of something greater than themselves, it is an indescribable feeling of pride. A feeling that washes away all the tears and angst of the previous 8 1/2 weeks of separation. Now as I look back, I am amazed how time has passed so quickly! As of today my son has been out of boot camp almost as long as he was in it. He is in Pensacola attending IT A school. This is totally different from boot camp. It resembles being away to college as you can communicate freely (voice, text, e-mail) with the exception of when they are in class. So to wrap this up, as others have said, hang in there! You too before you know it will be in the same shoes as many of us....looking back wondering where the time went and posting comments to help parents going through that which you have endured. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful this site is to help you through it.....from really good information to Navy FAMILY who are there for moral support. God Bless you and your son for his service to our great country!"
I wanted to thank everyone who replied to my post. It is really appreciated. It is good to know that people share the same emotions and to hear from those who are going through it and have gone through it. I just have to take this one day at a time. He is and will always be my little boy and I am also so very proud of the man that he has become. God bless all of our sons and daughters. I will keep you posted as to his progress and I look forward to reading posts about your sailors.
Mark, Welcome to the Navy Family! I know exactly how you're feeling. It's super tough from the start but you'll find that it will get somewhat easier to deal with as you go along this journey... Try to keep yourself busy and most of all feel free to share on here post away..
Let me say that about any dad who is involved with Navydads experienced exactly what you are. I did 2 months ago. Lots of quiet tears when the rest of my family wasn't looking. He was my baby and the only one of three who hunted with me, fished with me, had a successful wrestling career w/ me as his coach, etc. Let me continue by saying that I just got home last night from PIR. Sadness replaced by extreme pride! I had the privilege of seeing 500 plus sailors pass from adolescence to young adulthood. He's no longer our baby, he's an honorable young man; a US Navy sailor! I thought that I would be full of tears at PIR but not so (to my great surprise, maybe a few now as I write this but tears of pride). Those young men learned so many lessons in 2 months, unbelievable. The reception by so many strangers at the airport yesterday was amazing. We had no fewer than 5 normally grumpy TSA agents congratulate us and thank us for our son's service. Perfect strangers walk by and say thank you. Thank God most Americans realize what our kid's sacrifices do for our great country. Fear not, your sadness will by replaced by pride. He'll still by that little guy you raised (which will serve him well at basic) but he will grow into being your good friend as well as your buddy. Plan to go to PIR if you can. It's an amazing thing. And plan to go to Sarg's Meet & Greet if you do go. An amazing gentleman who makes PIR even more fun. Thank your son for his service for us and write lots while he's at RTC. Those Seaman Recruits live for mail. Hooyah, Go Navy!
Mark, my son has just caught the bus to his hotel before going on to MEPS in the morning so I'm in the same boat you are. He's my only son and we're very close. I do have to say that I'm so very proud, though, that he is not only following his dream, but serving his country in this world's finest Navy! And, as a bonus I get to perform his oath of enlistment, being a retired officer myself. Let me just say, as a father, no one should be more proud than someone who's son is going to serve in the US Navy!
My son left on 7/15. Remeber no news is good news. You need to know that he is becoming a man and is in a new chapter of his life. It is all good for him. You will hear from him so keep your phone close. also most of the time when they oked to do so they will write most the time on Sundays. Keep an eye out about Wensday's mail. I got a call from him on Saturday. He is in ship 11 div 284. You will be getting a form letter and info first, and the kid box. My house is really lonely but I know its the best for him. Otto Boslow
We went to MEPS in Chicago this morning to be there when our son was sworn in. First of all I have to say that the people who work at MEPS especially the officers and other military personnel were great. My wife and daughter came with me. Afterwards we got to spend some quality time with Stephen before he got on the bus that will eventually bring him to Great Lakes. They also had a great presentation for the family members on what to expect next.
I have always been an emotional person, wearing them on my sleeve. I did my best to keep it together but it was really hard watching him get on the bus. The thing that I did notice was that my son seemed really excited, also very nervous, but mostly excited. That made me feel a whole lot better. I am filled with so much pride not just because of his impending service in the Navy, but mostly because of the man that he has become. He is such a great guy. Funny, handsome, caring, and very smart.
I am unsure how long my heart will remain this heavy. I know things will get a little easier day by day. But for now whenever I see one of his baseball caps, or his car sitting empty in the driveway, or the messy room that he left behind, I start to well up and need to find a place to shed those quiet tears and pray that God and the Navy are taking care of my boy.
Hi Mark: My son is one week into boot camp. His recruiter shared the address with me, I have already mailed two letters. Michael is my second of four sons; he is the one who worked the hardest to achieve. He researched all branches of the Armed Forces and he chose the Navy! Thankfully, the Navy saw his fine qualities. It has been an emotional time for me, as well. Always thinking of what he is doing and how he is coping. I have only been at this website for a couple of days - already feeling the support!!
Hey Pat, Thank you for your response. I am still waiting for my sons address but I decided to write him a letter everyday and then mail them together once I have the address. Like you I keep wondering how he is doing. I think the hardest part is not being able to contact them. The other part is just plainly missing them. I seem to be doing okay but then something will remind me of him and my mind will wander. The bad part is I am finding it difficult to focus on my work. I am in sales and just don't feel like selling anything to anyone. I spent most of my day yesterday on this website and looking at You Tube videos trying to gain a better understanding of what he is going through and what happens next. It is nice to know that us dads are experiencing similar emotions and that the support is here for us. Maybe our sons will get a chance to meet while at Great Lakes. Thank you again.
Thank you B'sNukemom&dad,
I sent the picture to my wife and she loves it!