I remember when he first told me he was interested in the army. Fear entered every fibre of my body and when he never wavered from that route I was beside myself. I had a hard time taking off my "mom hat", you know the one that says I'm supposed to watch over and protect him. Because taking off that hat would mean accepting the fact that I wouldn't be there to watch over him. For the first time, it hit me that he was going to grow up and live his life in what could be a dangerous country. But I knew he was sincere and I knew I would support him 100%. I just had to wrap my head around what it all would mean. There were many nights I lost sleep, picturing a future so far off that only a mother's hysteria could conjur. I'd cry - real tears and silent ones. But most importantly, I started to do research. And when we started looking at colleges and speaking with ROTC staff and cadets, I realized this was the kind of world my son wanted and it would be so good for him. And seeing how much he has grown and thrived during this first year is proof positive that he is exactly where he needs to be, learning exactly what he needs to learn. It's in his stance, his smile and the way he takes care of himself by working out and eating right and having such a healthy happy lifestyle. He works hard, and it shows, and again I couldn't be more proud of this man. I can look 3 years from now and see him in full dress uniform being commissioned as a second lieutenant. Because 3 years from now he's going to be stronger, and still determined and I will shed tears of pride and joy because not only did we raise a fine young man, but we have raised a United States soldier and the things he's going to accomplish are going to be amazing, I just know it.
Do I still get scared and lose sleep? Yeah, sometimes. But I don't dwell on things that haven't happened yet. He still has a lot to learn, and so do I. But when the time comes I know I will have to be just as army strong as he is, and I will be because I'm his mother, and as he has sworn to protect our country - I will forever protect him, even if I'm thousands of miles away (in my heart and in my thoughts and the way I lead my life). While he does his duty, he will always know how much he is loved.
Even though my time is still a few years away, this picture speaks to my heart, as I'm sure it does to any Military Mom out there.