We all go through transitions, right? Some seem so monumental at the time, and then aren’t. Some, even as we are participating in the Rite of Passage related to that transition, hammer home the reality that things will never be the same.
This week, we drove out to West Point, for what will probably be the last time. Packed full of celebration food and clothes for three seasons, much of the trip out was melancholy. All those lasts–right up to driving through the Stony Lonesome gate.
Cue the whirlwind that is Grad Week at West Point: BBQ at South Dock, tailgating at North Dock, happy hours from one end of post to the other, and much more. And that was just day one.
Watching our son graduate, was a very proud moment. He’d worked so hard, sacrificing much along the way. Peering through binoculars, we caught a glimpse of him before he disappeared into the crowd of nearly 1,000 other Firstie cadets. He wore the red sash one last time. He’s worn it well. We have been witness to the type of leader he is, and of all the moments that make me button-busting proud, watching him take care of his peers (and their mamas), makes me most proud.
He will be a strong, compassionate and focused officer. Of that I have zero doubt. He has transitioned from boy to man, from enlisted to officer, from cadet to 2LT. He has more grey than he entered with, lifelong friends, and a knowledge that he can do anything he sets his mind to.
I, on the other hand, am not so sure of all that for me. I, too, have more grey than when he entered. Have connected with women I have no doubt I will be friends with until my dying day. But I doubt myself. I struggle with focus and the fierceness I had 5 years ago…I think I will do what I would suggest for others: give yourself some grace. This is a huge transition and it takes time to absorb. The mama of a cadet is (occasionally) needed. The mama of an officer, not so much. At least not like that…time will tell.
Transition from last week to this has been abrupt, and yet a long time coming. I have so much to capture mentally but little capacity to do that right now. I’m sure, if you have sent a child off to serve, enlisted or officer, it is the same. Pride, mixed with a little anxiousness. Happiness, mixed with a sense of lostness.(Yes, I made that word up!)
If you aren’t already, join us on Facebook. I may feel lost as a mama, but I am definitely where I belong within MMN. Whether your child is exploring service, actively serving, or discharged, we have a community who embraces you and your situation. Branch affiliations are all represented, and more often than not, we don’t even ask which branch you are. Because to us, you are family. Even as your family goes through the inevitable transitions.