Thursday, March 31, 2011

thanks a lot...

Fear is a part of the parenting experience. 
From the first moment we hold our newborns
and ever after we have some level of concern
about our children's well-being. 
Worry is fear's troublesome voice that whispers
in our ears and paints ugly pictures of what might be.

My son's Navy journey thus far has stirred this nagging voice.
As a mother of four I thought I had nearly mastered worry
and fear. It is a matter of survival and sanity, to come
to some sort of truce with with these destructive thoughts.
But, oh, the prospect of my son in boot-camp, 
in an extremely challenging school, on a ship,
working on a nuclear reactor, so far from home!!~
These thoughts have awakened my fears more than
I care to admit. 

But here I am admitting and facing my fears. 
And I have found an anecdote, a tried and true 
balm for my trouble spirit. 
I am focusing on GRATITUDE, on paying heed to the 
good and beautiful things in my life. I am 
actively appreciating the gifts that surround me-
the blessing of a sunny morning, my parrot's chatter,
the sweet sound of my children's laugher. 
I have been reading 
Like the author of this book I have begun a list
of one thousand gifts. One of those gifts
is the opportunity offered to my son by the US Navy.
Gratitude enriches my life, slows my thoughts, stills my heart
so that I might see the blessings of my life.
Fear fades. Worry hushes.
My heart is filled with quiet joy.
Click HERE to follow my list of 1000 gifts.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

the power of thoughts

I find myself fighting doubts, wondering if we have left a "T" uncrossed, 
an "I" undotted as my son's boot camp departure inches nearer. 
 You see, today's Navy is over-manned.
Recruits find themselves under the microscope, as the Navy
 can well afford to accept only the best. 
Even with an ASVAB  score in the highest category 
my son has to toe the line. The Navy disqualifies 
many recruits for seemingly small things. I understand 
this though. With recruits and potential recruits lined 
up for jobs, it is the logical thing to take only
 the cream of the crop. 
This being said, I have to have confidence in my son. 
He is determined and a hard worker. 
His test scores have qualified him for one of
 the military's most challenging educational
programs~ nuclear propulsion
He had an incredible opportunity. 
And he is thinking BIG!
So, I will do the same.
 I owe it to my son and to myself to think BIG!
"Who are we? We are children of God. 
Our potential is unlimited. 
Our inheritance is sacred. 
May we always honor that heritage
 - in every thought and deed." 
-Russell M. Nelson

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

the funny thing about time...

What's the deal with time? It seems to go in jerks and fits,
not in some nice, flowing linear path. 
See that sweet boy? He's my future sailor and I could swear
I took that photo last week. How did he get to be a high 
school senior? We were on cruise, off the coast of Mexico.
My sailor boy loved that ship. He was seven and he and I explored
the ship together. I was so happy that he seemed to love the sea 
and ships as much as me. 
So he will eventually spend a lot of time at sea, working hard,
but hopefully also appreciating the majesty of the world's oceans.
Time is a strange concept. As the days tick past and boot camp
looms I sometimes want to rush forward. I want to be
on the phone getting that "I'm a sailor!" call at the end of boot camp. 
But mostly I am savoring these days while my son
is still here, still, in some ways, that grinning boy on the big
cruise ship, my buddy watching the sun rise off the starboard deck.
All the while, the clock ticks...

Thursday, March 17, 2011

the "d-word" revisited...

A few posts back I mentioned the "d-word"... danger. 
We live in a dangerous world, as is evidenced by the current
 tragic situation in Japan. My heart goes out to the people
of this country. They are showing such grace and resilience
in these unimaginably trying circumstances. The losses
are incalculable and now a nuclear disaster seems to be inevitable. 

The U.S. military, and particularly the Navy, are deeply involved
in rescue and recovery aid at this time. They are doing noble work
and they are in danger. I pray for all involved in this situation,
 victims and rescuers. There are so many heroes~
 the people of Japan who are helping one another, 
all of the brave aid workers, the military personnel,
the nuclear workers who are trying to avert a total reactor melt-down. 
So many are in the danger zone.
I pray for good news, for safety,
and I pray prayers of thanksgiving for heroes unsung.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Remember this...

~Sailors aboard the USS TORTUGA delivering humanitarian aid to Japan~
~photo credit~ US NAVY~ enchanced by SeaDreamStudio~

There are real heroes in our turbulent world.
Our military is all-volunteer. 
Our country CHOOSES to help the world.

Friday, March 11, 2011


Today I am taking a break from my rambling to encourage prayers, donations, good vibes... whatever you can offer to those affected by the massive earthquake in Japan this morning and tsunamis following. 
There is reassuring news from our Naval facilities in Japan. 
The tsunami waves are just beginning to be felt in Hawaii where many of our sailors and their families are located.
If you are looking for a reputable agency to donate to for disaster relief,
I recommend the United Methodist Committee on Relief. 
The USS Ronald Reagan will be joining the 7th Fleet
in recovery and relief efforts. 
Godspeed to these brave sailors.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


Today I'm swabbing the deck and working in the galley.
My son's recruiter is coming for dinner and I have to make things 
nice for him. You'd think the Admiral was coming! But~ I have so many
questions for him I think I need to be sure everything is cozy 
and he is well-fed. It's not like I have to convince him to take my son. 
He has been USN property since he signed his contract in November
of last year. Still, I have a loooong list of questions regarding topics
ranging from wisdom teeth to boot camp choir. 
I'll post a recap tomorrow and hopefully have some good info to pass on.
Now, back to the deck. Seems the rest of the crew has disappeared,
so I'd better get busy!

The recruiter had to postpone his visit  due to some pressing
Navy business (perhaps he is pressing his uniform), so I now have time
to make my list of questions even longer!! If you have one you'd like
for me to ask him, post it as a comment below.
I'm figuring I'm going to have to hold him hostage for seven
or eight hours to ask him all mine, so what's a few more?? ;)

Monday, March 7, 2011

the eggshell problem...

I'm blessed to be a mom of four~ 3 boys and 1 girl~ they are the treasures of my heart.
What joy they have brought to my life! 
and oh, what worry!

From day one our children are a mixed blessing. They fill our hearts to the very brim with love, happiness, hope and dreams of their glorious futures. And they can paralyze us with worry.

The world is perilous and isn't it our job to divert and shield our children from peril? How much we desire to protect our sons and daughters, to wrap them in a cloak of safety that is impenetrable. How impossible our task.

Worry is an issue I have had to face and attempt to conquer. When worries come (and they do) I ask myself~"Does my anxiety accomplish anything good?" The answer is always no. I try to steer my thoughts toward things I CAN control. I think thoughts of gratitude. I brainstorm on activities I can do that are positive. I do not always succeed, but like most things, the more we do them the more naturally they come to us. 

Lately, I am struggling with fears that my son will do something that could jeopardize his future in the Navy. As he jumped on the neighbor's trampoline the other day I thought~"Oh, no! What if he gets hurt and is medically disqualified?" When he gave a ride to a kid that I know has smoked pot before I thought~"What if they get pulled over and find pot on this kid?" When my son slacked off in school I thought~"What if his grades aren't good enough and he loses his chance to become a nuke?"... and on and on...
There is so much at stake.

But I remind myself that this is HIS life, his journey. I tell myself that what is supposed to happen, WILL happen. I breathe and pray and think positive thoughts. AND I tell my son to take it easy on the trampoline, to be careful who he associates with, to do his homework~ to keep in mind what is at stake... and then I try very hard to let it go. 
For me, gratitude and faith are the antidotes to worry. 
~most of the time~ ;)

Sunday, March 6, 2011

welcome to the neighborhood

First impressions carry a lot of weight.
Often they are a glimpse of the true character of people.
In my short time getting to know the US Navy community I have been astonished
by the supportive, caring people I have encountered. 

I'm a information junkie, so from day one when the Navy 
was just one of several options my son was considering, I have been
scouring the internet. One of the first sites I found is one 
of the best ~ . Here I found  (and continue to find)
a treasure trove of information, links and, best of all,
support from a mom's point of view. I can not say enough about
this outstanding resource. I ♥ N4M. 

The Navy has MANY wonderful official sites (some links are to your left)
and a great presence on FaceBook including US Navy Life .
A one line comment I made on this page regarding my son being a recruit
resulted in not one, not two, but THREE ladies contacting me
via FaceBook to make sure I knew about Navy for Moms and to offer
to answer any questions I might have. Amazing!! 

Over and over I encounter people with some connection to the Navy 
and they all are welcoming, supportive and eager to share information.
I am sure this is true of the other military branches also. 

It speaks to the character of our military as a whole and my first 
and ongoing impression is that this is a group of people that care
and look out for one another~ a community. It reaffirms
that this is the place for my son. Knowing that our sailors are being
backed up on the home-front by this caliber of people is a good, good thing. 

As I learn about and experience life as a Navy mom
I hope to be a positive part of this community, passing on 
my experiences and knowledge (when I get some)
and offering support to others. 

So I offer a huge thank you to those who have welcomed me
thus far. Your support is priceless and I treasure it. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

the gift of "lasts"...

We moms are big fans of "firsts"~ first smile, first word, first steps and on and on to first dance, first car.
"Lasts" are more illusive, perhaps because we don't want to think of them and how they mark the passage of time so distinctly.
 Do you recall the last time your child crawled up to your lap for a cuddle and a story?
How about the last time you felt a small hand slip into yours? When was the last time your child watched "Arthur" or colored a picture for you?
 No, we are not as fond of "lasts". They are bittersweet at best.

But in these months before my son leaves for Navy boot camp I have noticed that I am regarding "lasts" at bit differently. Yes, they are still bittersweet, perhaps even more-so, because they seem to be so clearly marking the end of my son's childhood. Still, there is something of a blessing in this knowledge.

At Christmas I took more time to watch my 4 children together. My oldest is married, but acts like a 2 year old when he and his wife are here. It was fun to see my "boys" (14, 18 & 25) romp around like puppies. I loved hearing the sounds of the boys and my daughter and daughter-in-law laughing, playing X-Box and enjoying each other's company. I noted to myself, "This might be the last Christmas we will all be together for a while."

Every day there are more "lasts" to cherish. There will be a day that will be last that I nag my future sailor about his homework, his clothes on the floor or his bedtime on school nights. There will be the last kiss on the head and the "Nite, mom. Love you." from this sweet boy who towers over me.

So, I savor them, these poignant "lasts". I hide them in my heart and smile. They are a gift, a reminder that what we have is this moment.  I strive to live in the now, to appreciate my children, my husband, my friends, my life. Nothing lasts forever... not even these precious "lasts". ~♥~

Friday, March 4, 2011

boot camp ~ oh, boy!

Just a quick post this morning to direct you to a great site regarding Navy boot camp .
Found this link on Navy for Moms ,  which you need to visit, if you haven't already.
We moms have a lot of anxiety about boot camp. 
It is difficult to send your child to a place that is going to be using
all sorts of extreme techniques to test and mold them into a Sailor.
While it is understandable that the Navy needs to know 
how these young people will stand up to pressure,
as a mom (or dad) it is tough to think of the process used 
to reach this end. I think any info we can get will help us be strong
during this time. They churn out new sailors constantly
and I remind myself that they know what they are doing. 
Hope you take the time to look at this site

Thursday, March 3, 2011

not even close...

Healthy birds leave the nest.
We all know that. Nature tells us this is true.
Parents that successfully launch their offspring out into
the world should feel that that have done their jobs well.

For most kids, college is that first big step toward adulthood.
You pack them off with lamps and laptops, a car usually
and the knowledge that you will see them soon and hopefully
fairly often provided their school is reasonably close.
If nothing else, you count the days until Christmas and other
school breaks. And there is email, texting and phone calls
to help you keep in touch. You keep their room intact for those
treasured visits. You might even visit them for a game or
special event. Still, there are lonely, sad times. Letting go is hard.

But what happens when your high school senior signs on the
dotted line and becomes property of the U. S. Navy?
For me, initially there was great excitement! And I am still excited
and happy for Ian~ proud of him for making this commitment
at 18 years of age. He has qualified for and signed up for one
of the most challenging educational programs in the military,
the Navy's nuclear propulsion program. His schooling will be
approximately 2 years. And that is 2 years of long, intense classes
followed by mandatory study hours and other Navy duties.
It's a tough school and upon successful completion of this program
Ian will spend the following 4 years working on a nuclear reactor
on an aircraft carrier. He is then obligated to 2 years of Navy
Reserves, or he can, of course, re-enlist.

Now, this is what he knowingly signed up for. It is an amazing opportunity
for which we are extremely grateful. I will send him off with some (okay, LOTS)
of tears, but also with pride and joy that he is embarking on this great adventure.
And the moms that are sending their kids off to college feel these emotions, too.

But, I can't help but think about how this is so not the same in the following ways...

#1~  Can't quit! ~ Getting out of the military before you have completed your term
of service is not easy and will often haunt you (if you have a less than honorable discharge).
If you decide, along the way, that you're not cut out for the military~ oh, well. Nor is is it easy
to change your rate (job). The Navy spends time and money to train you in a certain field
because they need you in that job. Choose carefully. So unlike a college kid, there is no quitting, changing schools or majors, or taking a break. Military lesson #1~ persevere.

#2~ Contact is limited. ~ In bootcamp, recruits get to make a FEW phone calls. The first one is a 30 second "I got here alive." call made upon their arrival at RTC (Recruit Training Command). Then, there is NO communication for approx. 3 weeks, during which time you know your child is being yelled at, sleep-deprived and intensely physically and mentally challenged. No college fun. No cellphone. No parties. No calling home.
After the first 3 weeks your recruit can write letters on Sundays and there may be a FEW short phone calls in the following weeks. Depending on your child's rate, often contact is limited when your child is deployed. This can be for security and also logistics play into this.

#3~Your child will not live under your roof again~ One of the things that I've heard from other Navy moms is that you should go through your child's room with them before they leave for bootcamp. The fact is, they will not be living with you again. I seriously doubt that Ian is going to come home from 6 years of active duty military life (much of it on a ship going all over the world)  and want to fall back into his high school bedroom with Halo posters and some Legos under the bed. If so, we're going to need to have a little chat!

#4~ The d-word~ Military life is dangerous. Period. Ian will be on an aircraft carrier all snuggled up to a
nuclear reactor. He will visit ports all over the world. And everyone in the world does not love Americans.
Here is an example from today's news. This is not something any military parent or spouse likes to think
about, but it is there.

These are certainly not the all the reasons that military service and college are different, but these are the ones on my mind today. Ian CHOSE this and we back him up 100%, but it still makes a mom's heart ache.
It is going to be a challenge to let my child grow up this quickly and this completely.
So I tell myself~ Healthy birds do indeed fly... or sail away.
And when they do go, to college, to work, to sea~ they carry our hearts and our support
with them always. ♥

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Navy for peaceniks...

Who would have thought it? I'm a Navy mom.
I prefer not to discuss politics here, 
but I will confess to a "flower-child" background. 
I even attended a "NO NUKES"
march on Washington, DC way back in the day. 
And what is my son going to be in the Navy?
Ah, gotta' love that!
Nukes work in nuclear propulsion, by the way~
NOT nuclear weapons.

This world requires a military presence. 
We can not pretend that we do not have enemies.
But, if you think all the Navy is about is war
read this about just one of the
 Navy's humanitarian aid missions.

And let me tell you, nobody wants peace
more than a military mom! 
I love my country...
and my son.

the Navy is a sea of acronyms

The military loves acronyms. I think the Navy has about a billion of them.
Our Navy journey begins with this one... DEP
which means Delayed Entry Program

DEPper's have qualified for and selected their rate,
which means they know what their job will be
at the successful completion of the required training.

Ian meets with his recruiters on a regular basis.
There are one-on-one meetings and group
meetings with other local recruits. They work
on learning
and the Navy Core Values .

And I am savoring my time with Ian. I am appreciating his wacky
sense of humor, his determined personality and even the way he
comes down the stairs like a barrel rolling down a mountain.
I love times like last night when ALL of my children are home
and hanging out. I treasure these moments in my heart.♥

Welcome aboard

I have been a Navy mom since early November, 2010~ the day my son signed his contract with the US Navy. When he signed his paperwork his journey began. Now as the days pass and his departure grows closer
I know that I, too, am on a journey. It will be a journey of pride, fear, love, sorrow, joy ~
and mostly one of letting go.
 Join me as I traverse this new and challenging sea.