Sunday, July 26, 2009

My Son, My Airman

On July 26, 1999, my oldest son enlisted in the United States Air Force. He was 17 years old and freshly out of high school.

My youngest daughter and I drove B to a Holiday Inn, just minutes away from BWI (Baltimore Airport). He was departing for Lackland AFB in San Antonio, TX to begin his Air Force adventure. My heart was full of pride. Mom tears were rolling. It truly was a Vegetable Soup of Emotions kind of day. We'll negate the fact I had to pull over on the beltway (495, for those of you who know the DC area) until I stopped crying. My poor daughter thought for sure, her moments were numbered...in other words, you don't cry and drive on the beltway!

B is my oldest son. He was the little boy; I always dreamed of and hoped for. B quickly became a ‘big brother’ to his two older sisters. His quiet demeanor, heartwarming smile and intelligent wit have always been his finest characteristics. We often are befuddled how he survived living in a house with two older sisters and a mom, which ultimately meant he had three ‘moms’. He had a knack for getting out of Dodge, when the drama of two teenage sisters thickened. And then, he would reappear when all was quiet. He played soccer and ran Cross-Country. B was an avid reader and still has a quirky smile! He is my son...the little boy I wanted long before I even grew up.

B is brilliant. He is smart; always excelling in school, except for a Child Development class in his Senior Year. I guess even the best of guys, have their limit. B and I would often sit and watch Jeopardy, he would somehow answer question after question…when I asked him how he knew all this stuff, and he’d reply that he just knew it. He’s a sponge for information.

I remember well the day in February; he came to me and asked what I was doing the next day at 3p.m. I asked him what he planned for me and that is when I learned how intent he was to enlist. Since he had just turned 17, he needed parental consent to enlist. We had talked of college, but his interest was to go into the military. I looked into his eyes and knew this is what he wanted for his life.
On that fateful 11th day of September in 2001, my son was the one person in this world I needed to talk to most. I can still remember clearly his words, “Momma, I’m packed and ready to go.” Mom tears rolled. Vegetable Soup of Emotions took over. It never ceases to amaze me how as a mom, my heart can be filled with so many emotions…some of which contradict the other. Pride, fear, love…to name a few.

B served his four year duty, most of which he was stationed at Tinker, AFB in Oklahoma City. He deployed several times, to various Middle East locations. On one visit home, he presented me with a flag which had been flown over Afghanistan in October, 2002. We were fortunate enough to meet him at BWI when he came home, from his deployments. (ahhh, the memories I hold in that airport!) I believed when B first enlisted, that he would make the Air Force his career. When he fulfilled his contract, he chose to depart and went into the Reserves. He has been serving at Hill AFB for five years.
B is an awesome guy. Yeah, yeah… I know, but he is my son. B graduated from Weber State in December and will take the GRE on Monday…next stop Graduate School! He is pursuing a degree in Psychology. Oh, the places he will go!

Ten years ago, my teenage son began his path of manhood. Following six weeks at BMT, I had a glimpse of the man he would become. Ten years later, I could not be any more proud.

It is my honor to call him, Son. It is my honor to call him my Airman.
B, I do love you so!

24 comments:

MightyMom said...

great post!

somehow I like that second pic better!

probably the smile.

AirmanMom said...

mightymom...trust me, there was a huge inner debate whether or not to post the BMT photo...but it was who he was at that point. Young, scared and stepping into a brand new world.
The more recent photo is the man he has grown to be and the smile speaks volumes!
Thank you for stopping by!

Second City Wifey said...

Great post! You are obviously very proud! Please send him my thanks for his service.

coffeypot said...

At least you were there. My mom said goodbye at home and my brother dropped me off at the airport. I have seen many mom-tears in airports in my travels over the years, and they are all very touching. And I feel the pride you have for all your kids in your writings. Great job!

Mari said...

I enjoyed this post. It echos my own feelings and tears when my son enlisted - also at 17 and joined right out of high school. His first military portrait looks a lot like your sons.
Congratulations on having a son like this - you have every right to be proud of him!

Bag Blog said...

I went back and forth between the photos thinking, "Is that the same young man?" My how they grow up! You have every reason to be proud of your young man - congrats!

AirmanMom said...

wifey...I thank you for stopping by!

AirmanMom said...

coffeypot...your kind words are deeply appreciated.

AirmanMom said...

mari...17 is so very young, it feels like forever ago! I know you know how I feel, thanks for stopping by!

AirmanMom said...

bag blog...yep, the surface has changed but the heart is the same! Thank you!

AFWingMom said...

Great post! I can sense your pride and absolutely agree that you have much to be proud of. Please thank him for his service and from one PAFM to another ~ (((hugs)))

Donna said...

You deserve to be so proud of such a fine, young man who served his country! Please give him a BIG Tennessee hug for me and THANK YOU for his service!!!!!!!!

AirmanMom said...

afwingmom...my warmest thanks and good wishes to you and yours!!!!

AirmanMom said...

joyce...I thank you!

jojo said...

Beautiful post from an obviously proud mom..;p

AirmanMom said...

jojo...I do love my son so!

Evansmom said...

What an amazing post. Bravo to you and to him.

Brenda Jean said...

This is such a cool post. My son is 15, and though he hasn't said it out loud, I think he will join the military. It scares me, but at the same time I know I would be so proud of him. At least I have some time to get used to the idea:) I'm adding you to my blog roll so I can keep up to date!

AirmanMom said...

evansmom...I thank you for stopping by!

AirmanMom said...

brenda jean...your kind words are deeply appreciated. I believe our children always end up where they are meant to be!

CI-Roller Dude said...

Mom, you did a good job. They'll both be fine. I'm in your area this week doing some "Mess Kit" repair stuff.
I was on a plane with a bunch of Zoomies who'll be going to Afganastan soon.

AirmanMom said...

ci...thank you for your kind words. I'll lift for those deploying to Afghanistan!
Hey...thanks for all you do!

imbeingheldhostage said...

Beautiful!!! Thank you Airman Son!!!!!!!!!

AirmanMom said...

ibhh...I thank you for your kind words!