I’ve never had anyone come ask me about their decision to join the military. There’s so much to say, I really had to think about what the most valuable things to share with you would be. You know I didn’t get in until very late in life and your experience would be so different than mine. I mean, I got in LATE — it was literally the morning of my 40th birthday and I was standing in line at 4:00 am to take the final physical training test to graduate basic training (you probably know it as boot camp).
We both have children though, and yours are about the same age as mine when I joined. With that in mind I have a question for you to ask yourself before we go on, because when you have children and you decide to join the military, it’s vastly different than someone who has no ties.
Are you ready to wake up in a bunk in the middle of the night, panic stricken because you can’t get to your kids?
That’s what happened to me my first night in basic combat training. I woke up unable to breath.
“God,” I thought, “what if my babies need me? What if they have a bad dream? What if they’re sick?”
I didn’t realize what I’d done until I was in a top bunk, in a room filled with at least 30 other women, that I couldn’t even call my children to comfort them if I wanted. (You don’t get to keep your phone in basic combat training.)
Are you willing to not be there for your kids when they need you? Can you let that go? Are you willing to let go of the control over your child’s life to have a profound influence in their upbringing? Are you willing to give that to someone else? Is there someone in your life you trust to do that?
If I didn’t have strong faith in God to take care of my girls in my absence I would not have been able to withstand the distance from them. I know you’re a believer, and that helps greatly, but it won’t change the consequences you will have to endure when you decide to give employment to the United States priority over raising your children.
I can assure you, that while you think you might be away from your kids only a short time, (if that’s true), the times you are away may come at the most inappropriate times such as birthdays, school plays, first days of school and more (all of which I’ve had the very sad misfortune of missing in my daughter’s lives).
I can never get those times back, and worse, they’ve formed the relationship I have with my girls in ways that I couldn’t have predicted, ways that I cannot go back and change.
I guess the question is, are you ready to sign your motherhood over to the United States and give your children to whomever your childcare plan says is in charge if you have to leave?
If your answer is yes, or even a maybe, then let’s go ahead and meet up Friday. I’d love to share the amazing experiences I’ve had with you and benefits of joining the United States Military, (because there are lots of good ones).
Please comment below if you're a Mom in the military. I'd love to hear your comments and how you've gotten through times you've had to be away from your children. What are some creative ways you've kept in contact with them?