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A Military Mom’s Story From The Porch

A Military Mom’s Story From The Porch

No matter what the circumstances, it is difficult when your child joins the military. If the family is from a military background, you have a little bit of an advantage because some of the “unknowns” are known. But when your child joins the military and your exposure has not been firsthand, the learning curve is sometimes steep.

Rachel’s military experience consisted of living in a highly saturated military community, so she has had many military friends over the years. Her vast understanding was 1. military people move a lot. 2. military servicemen are very polite and like to poke fun at other military branches. 

Rachel’s son joined the military right out of high school. He began pursuing this opportunity his senior year. Rachel was relieved as this child was, shall we say, her most challenging. It turns out that all his energy just needed to be harnessed and directed. Her son signed with the Navy and was headed to Great Lakes as soon as his open contract was called up.

“Leaving for boot camp” is usually bittersweet for families. You are excited for the day to come, and you also dread it. Rachel’s first lesson learned as a military mom was “hurry up and wait.” (IYKYK) The day finally came. She got a text one afternoon from her son stating that he was on a bus on his way to Fort Sill, OK for Army boot camp. (WHAT? I know you did not see that coming.) Well, neither did she. His contract had been picked up by the Army, and he had switched without telling her. “I know my son and goodbyes are not something he is good at, so he did what he needed to do to be able to leave.  The phrase ripping the Band-Aid off definitely has new meaning for me!”

Best Decision Ever! This young man has excelled at everything he has attempted in the Army. His family and friends are amazed at the transformation and accomplishments he has already achieved. (We would like to tell you- but OPSEC!)

His boot camp graduation was something Rachel will always cherish and remember. “Seeing him in his uniform, for the first time was amazing!  I am not much of a crier, but when he walked out in formation, tears started to flow!  Wow!  After a rough high school career, seeing him succeed in the military was awesome.  He was still his funny, outgoing self, yet he had a new confidence in him that I had never seen before.”

Rachel has definitely learned more about the military and specifically the Army since her son joined. She gets lots of advice/information from all her military friends but is learning that each branch explains it differently. One funny story Rachel tells is this- “When my son first went to Boot Camp, I was trying to figure out how to mail a letter to him. I went online and was reading on an Army Boot Camp Facebook page, and all the people kept saying PLT.  I got so excited seeing those letters.  I didn't realize at that moment that I was reversing the letters in my mind, and thought it was saying PTL. The reason I was so excited was that I just assumed all the people were Christians, and they were all Praising the Lord (PTL)! When my friend explained to me, PLT was platoon, I was both embarrassed and sad.”

Authors Note: I will add that the “well-meaning military friends” have actually taught her a lot. For instance, 2 years ago this is how she spelled- “R as in rabbit, A as in apple, C as in cat, H as in house…we put a stop to that immediately and now she is 100% squared away with the military phonetic alphabet. You’re Whiskey Echo Lima Charlie Oscar Mike Echo.

Rachel says the hardest thing about being a military mom is that he is far away and very busy. He is off to another school in a few short weeks. It is a very hard one and that makes her nervous. “I am excited for him because this is what he wants yet at the same time, my mama’s heart worries.”

Her son’s favorite meal is Grilled Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo and Rachel has shared that on our Stories From the Kitchen.

Thanks to all those Military Mom’s out there who are keeping the home fires burning. We celebrate you every day!  




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