Basic Training: The Hardest Thing I’ve Endured As A Mom
That title is simple and absolutely true. Basic training is the hardest thing I've had to endure as a mother, thus far.
When my son made the decision to join the Louisiana Army National Guard in the fall of 2016 during his senior year in high school, I was so proud! His basic training leave date was September 18, 2017, and I was prepared. Or so I thought.
He was anxious for that day to come. He assured us he was not afraid, just ready "to get it over with."
We dropped him off at the armory early Monday morning. He boarded a plane bound for Atlanta that afternoon. We spoke to him when he landed, believing we would speak to him when he arrived at Fort Benning, Georgia. I was prepared to have that quick call upon his arrival be our last for at least a couple of weeks.
It never came.
As of the writing of this post, I haven't heard my son's voice since he told me he had ordered a bacon burger at the airport on Monday, September 18th, at 5:45PM. I haven't seen his face since we left him at the armory that morning at about 8:30AM.
Since that time, he's had his head shaved, gone through the processing soldiers in training go through, filled out multiple pieces of paperwork, and is preparing to start rigorous training. (SEE VIDEO BELOW) I've read every document I can on what he will go through to prepare him to defend our country and his fellow brothers and sisters in arms.
They will put a weapon in his hands and teach him how to use it. They will put his body to the test to make it stronger. They will test his mental and physical strength every day. I know why they will do all of this.
They are making my son into a soldier because it takes soldiers to defend our country. My son will be one of only 1% of the population who does that.
And all I want as a mom is to hear his voice and see his face.
I am fortunate to have found a closed group of parents of soldiers in training who understand. It's difficult to grasp the roller coaster of emotions parents go through during this time.
Yes, it's only been seven days. It feels like seven months.
Parents are faced with challenges of all kinds. My heart goes out to parents who have dealt with the devastating loss of a child or some other challenge. I can only imagine that difficulty.
As for this mom, my cell phone never leaves my side, even when I'm in the shower! We've been warned that the much-desired phone call comes at the most unexpected times. I am waiting on the day I receive an address so I can send the letters that are written and waiting to be sent. My husband and I scour the private Facebook pages of the Basic Training post in the hope that maybe he will be in a photo.
My son will be fine. He is strong. He is spirit-filled. He was ready for this.
This mom will be fine, too, because her son is all of those things. Even if I miss him every minute of every day.