Maybe I’m just being sensitive but I have been struggling lately with the reaction I have been getting from others concerning my son joining the Air Force. It has been very surprising to me that mothers in particular don’t seem to understand the deeper feelings that are involved.
Out of all the women I know who have learned about my son’s decision to join; only one has acknowledged the difficulty of this as his mother. Every single other person has said things like, “Oh that’s great,” “You should be proud,” or something along those lines.
Although I totally agree it’s great and I am beyond proud, I am also struggling to accept the changes that are ahead. Yet whenever I have mentioned this, it is almost as if those feelings are dismissed. I get remarks like, “He’ll be fine” or “You’ll be fine.”
Of course I realize that in the end we will all “be fine.” But meanwhile, it’s difficult. I have trouble sleeping when I allow my thoughts to wander to the day my son leaves. I sometimes fight back tears in my quiet moments.
Like I said, just one mother has acknowledged how difficult it would be to have her child leave for the military. Oh, how I treasure her sincere acknowledgement.
Then on the other side I am struggling with those who have made comments like, “I know how you feel.” For instance, one mom whose son is going off to college in Chicago (we live in Milwaukee, Wisconsin) told me she knows how I feel.
Now I completely agree that seeing your first child off to college is difficult. If that were my son’s plans I would have to deal with the pain of him leaving. But please don’t tell me that when your son is two hours away and my son plans on enlisting for six years, that you understand how I feel.
Then there is the woman I know whose 19-year-old daughter is moving into her own apartment (in the same city) and she tells me the same thing, “I know how you feel.” My son will be far away from home…I really don’t think you know how I feel.
Like I said, maybe I am just being sensitive. But at the same time, I don’t know how many more “I know how you feel’s” I can take before I scream, “You don’t know how I feel!”
Photo by soldiersmediacen on Flickr