There comes a time in every mother’s life where she has to let go. No one can ever prepare you for how you will feel. I have heard many of my friends and family members say over and over again, “I can’t wait until he/she turns 18 years old, he/she will be out!” I was never that parent. I was the one who dreamed of my older two moving into an apartment together while going to college, sharing a car that I purchased for them. Well, that’s not the case.

When my oldest child, C1, went off to college I didn’t have the chance to grieve her leaving the nest. I didn’t even get the chance to drive her. See, she went off the same week C5 was recovering from open heart surgery. I was blessed to have my best friend and her husband available to pack her up, drive her, get settled in and give her a proper good-bye. That was two years ago. Now, it is C2’s turn to leave the nest. I just want to say everything is very different. First, I will be perfectly honest and say, I am not ready! He is 19 years old and decided after a semester of college (which he lived at home) he was enlisting in the Air Force. He pretty much kept it low key. He finally decided to let me know about his plans a few days before Christmas. I wanted to scream and shout ABSOULTLEY NOT, OVER MY DEAD BODY! However, I simply said, “This is not what we agreed on. We agreed you would complete your bachelor’s degree and then enlist at a higher rank.” He looked at me and said, “But this is what I want to do.” And that was that.

At that moment I realized he was an adult and needed to make his own decisions. I also knew he had done his homework and was one hundred percent sure of his decision. So, that meant I could only do one thing; give my support 100 percent. He is very intelligent, determined and like his mother very stubborn, so I know he will be fine. I gave him the speech of I will miss you, don’t like the idea of being away from you…..ya, ya, ya. The most important part of that conversation is how proud of him I am. How I know he will be great at whatever he decides to do. How I know he can achieve anything he puts his mind to because I have seen him do it time and time again. How proud I am to be his mother and how I am here to support him in what he does. I will admit I had to put on my poker face while saying this because I all really wanted to do is cry like a baby.

Tomorrow I will put on my big girl pant and attend my sons swear in ceremony. Then I will hug, kiss, and tell him I love him. I will leave my son to be looked after by God and by the United States Air Force. I will ask God to give me strength and to please bring my baby home safely. I will leave that place a changed mother. I swear, I wish someone would have told me letting go was going to be so damn hard.

Love and 21 kisses,

Angel J.

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