One year, officially. One year ago yesterday, I watched the boy I loved, the son that made me a Mama, get on a bus and drive away. I wanted to write yesterday, but my heart was aching. I guess, looking at the photos from that day, I wish I had really understood — I would not see that boy again. Ever. I just didn’t know.

The next time I saw him, he was a man, and a soldier. He stood differently, held himself differently, physically changed, his mannerisms..changed. Gone was my boy.

Any military parent will tell you that the moment they see their child again after their initial training (boot, basic, any of it..) they are overwhelmed with pride and emotions.

I was so very proud. But part of me, even on reuniting with him, grieved. My boy did not come back. And the military, designed to strip away the former and make new, had done so. (If you don’t understand why this journey is so hard on a military parent, just read that last sentence again..and again..and again.) 

One year ago, I feared my own missing, his safety and deployment. Because, I didn’t know. I didn’t know that the hardest part of this journey would be letting go, in one moment, of the boy I had been raising. 

And as he stepped onto that bus, I didn’t know the good that would come. That he would begin to make his way in this world and carve a life for himself. That some of what the military stripped away, needed to go..gone were his struggles with self doubt, the faltering of faith in his own abilities, and the moments of questioning his own worth.

He. Was. A. Soldier. He had made it.

He would continue to learn, to excel, to move forward with his life. And so would I.

So, really, in a year what have I learned?

That it is only by pushing to the other side of fear, that we find the opportunity to learn how very strong we are.

And that my kid was a lot stronger than I ever realized.. and so was his Mama. ❤️

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