I’m Happy to be Writing Again

You may or may not have noticed that I’ve been absent from Medium for several months. I’ve had a hard time adjusting since our youngest son, Michael, left for Air Force Basic Training two weeks after graduating from high school in June. My husband and I are officially “empty-nesters.”

If I thought the first couple of weeks Michael was gone were difficult, they were nothing compared to the last couple of months. Despite the fact that I too served in the Air Force, albeit many, many years ago, and I should’ve been prepared for what was to come, as a mother my memory as to the events to come.

When Michael first left home, I consoled myself with the fact that I’d be seeing him at his graduation in eight weeks, however, as realization dawned and my memory slowly returned, the closer he came to graduating from basic training, the more depressed I became. I’d been so focused on seeing him at graduation that I lost sight of the fact that it would be many months before I saw him again after he graduated. Even then, I’d see him for only a few days before he moved to his (as yet, undetermined) permanent duty station.

The realization that my “baby” is now an adult and officially out on his own, did not go over well. It has taken me several weeks to come to terms with the idea that he will no longer be living at home.

Since graduating from Basic Training, Michael is now stationed at Sheppard AFB in Texas where he is learning what will be his job in the Air Force. Fortunately, he scored high enough on the AS FAB to get the job he wanted. He’ll be working on the electronics system on the new F-35A Lighting, the Air Force’s new Joint Strike Fighter.

The F-35 supersonic, multi-role, fifth-generation stealth fighter (Image courtesy of: http://www.airforce-technology.com/features/feature46212/feature46212-1.html)

Last week he graduated from his first training module. He’d talked to me about how difficult it was and how much he stressed about it. Since he’s studying the F-35, he wasn’t allowed to fail a single test. If he did, he’d be reclassified into a different job. It’s my understanding that if he’d been studying any other aircraft, such as the F-16, F-22, etc., he would’ve been allowed to retake a test if he failed, but only after repeating that week’s course study.

Michael said there were only three other people in the F-35 class. When he graduated the first section (Electronics Principles, or EP for short), we were so proud of him! Only 25% of those who go into the F-35 electronics program make it through the first block of training. Now he’s in his second training module which ends November 22. From what I understand, he’ll then be sent to Eglin AFB in Florida to begin training on the actual F-35 aircraft. He broke the news last night that he probably won’t be able to take leave until after he’s done with tech school, which means he won’t be home for Christmas.

I was used to Michael being gone for six weeks in the summer when he went to visit his dad, but this is different. This is his first time away from home on his own. He’s suffered from some homesickness, and still is to some extent, but I don’t think he’s having near the trouble I am. He’s been the one constant in my life for the last 18 years. He was what kept me going during that awful time in my first marriage. Then when I finally left his dad, who was extremely abusive to me, it was just Michael and me. We were our own little team. Even when I remarried, and he grew into a teenager, he and I remained very close. He was never one of those sulky teenagers who slunk off to his room without talking to his parents.

As a mother, it’s a hard transition to make. From the day your child is born, you devote your life to protecting and nurturing your him, to being there for him whenever he needs you. Then suddenly one day he leaves home, and you hope and pray you’ve prepared him for life, that you’ve taught him all the important things he needs to know to be happy and to thrive.

Of course, there are phone calls, video calls, emails, texts, and letters. But nothing can replace the one on one connection of being in the same room together.

How do you go from having a close relationship with your child where you know where he is at all times, what he’s doing, what he’s thinking, and having long discussions about his day, to suddenly not seeing him for months, talking once or twice a week on the phone, and exchanging texts on a semi-regular basis because he’s so busy and stressed?

Do you know what I miss?

His beautiful smile

his deep man-like voice

his unabashed laughter

his funny stories

our inside jokes

spending the day together

his talented sketches and drawings

our two-hour conversations every day after school

But most of all. . . I miss the hugs. The hugs I can’t give him and the ones he can’t give in return.

He called me late one night when he was stressed out and a little homesick. My husband and I had just gotten into bed. As he was talking, I heard the crack in his voice, and I knew he was trying not to cry. I reassured him the best I could and told him how proud we are of him and how much we love him. When I hung up the phone, I laid there in bed with my head on my husband’s chest with tears streaming down my cheek, and my arms literally ached to hold my son.

No matter how old he gets, he’ll always be my baby boy.

So you see, this is the reason I’ve been away from Medium for so long. I’ve been having a hard time and for some reason writing just seemed so trivial compared to everything else I have going on, because of course, this isn’t the only stressful thing that’s been happening in my life, but it’s made the biggest impact.

As fellow writers, I’m sure you know it’s also true that the longer you’re away, the harder it is to come back. For weeks I’ve been telling myself tomorrow is the day I’ll start again, but then tomorrow comes and goes and so does the next day and the next day.

But, I finally did it!

So this is me explaining where I’ve been, why I’ve been gone so long, and hoping you’ll remember me and embrace me back into the fold.

To those who don’t remember me and those who are new and don’t know me, I invite you to read my stories and get to know me.

I’m back, and I plan to be around for a while.

THANK YOU for taking the time to read my words.

If you would like to leave a response, I’d love to hear your thoughts.

If you like what you read, please hit the ‘Recommend’ button. It’s the cute little green heart. If you found this interesting, there’s more where this came from.

One clap, two clap, three clap, forty?

By clapping more or less, you can signal to us which stories really stand out.