The Day My Son Left For Boot Camp.

I drove my son out to Los Angeles last night. I waited with him while he checked into his hotel room. After he was all checked in, we went to have dinner.

“Where do you want to eat?” I asked. “Rubios?”

“That sounds really good, actually.”

So we ate fish tacos, while I tried super hard to fight back tears (and Gabby tried super hard to fight with Ethan.)

I could see the nervousness that he felt for what was going to take place in a few short hours, but I could also see the determination and excitement. We ate our fish tacos in silence, while he would occasionally check his cell phone for text messages from friends and comments on his Facebook wall.

After we finished eating, I dropped him off at the hotel and me and The Other Kids headed to our hotel just a few blocks away.

I sent him a text message just before I laid down to go to sleep.

“I am so proud of you. I love you.”

I tried to sleep. I tossed, I turned, I sat up, I got up and turned on the laptop. I finally drifted off to sleep sometime after midnight. I was awoken a few hours later with sharp stomach pains. I got up to go to the bathroom, but the pain was so intense, I had to crawl. I pulled myself up onto the toilet and just sat there, moaning from the pain. Nothing was happening, just pain. I thought I may have to go to the hospital. An hour later, I crawled back into the bed, hoping the pain would go away. It never did.

We woke up at 7am and headed down to the lobby for our free continental breakfast. The skies were gray, covered with thick gray clouds, a light rain fell from the sky. My stomach was still aching, but I tried to eat a little something. I knew it was going to be a long day. I texted Andrew to let him know we’d be heading over to see him at 11:00.

When we arrived at MEPS

, we had to go through security that was very much like that at the airport. Once we entered, I looked for my son. I saw him sitting along with other young men and women who would be shipping out with him. I wanted to run up to him and tell him not to do it. “Come home with us, Andrew! You don’t have to do this!” Instead, I hugged him and asked him how he was feeling. “I’m hungry.” He replied.

We waited while he finished all of the processing details. My parents showed up along with my husband.

While I was sitting and waiting for Andrew to be finished, I saw a mother hugging her son. Her back was to me, so I couldn’t see her face. But I could see her son’s face. He held her tightly while she cried. He rubbed her back and told her not to cry. He said he would be okay. She wouldn’t let go of him. I had done such a good job of fighting back the tears, but when I saw that, I couldn’t hold back anymore. I put my head down and started to cry. After they finished their embrace, the mother headed towards the door. I ran up to her and hugged her. I don’t normally hug strangers, but I couldn’t help it. I told her that my son was shipping out and I knew exactly how she felt. “This is so difficult.” She said, as she cried. “I know. I know.” I responded. I later realized that I had been communicating with this woman on a website for parents of Marines. We promised we’d keep in touch while our boys were away.

When Andrew was finished with all of the interviews and paperwork, I asked him what time the bus was going to be leaving. He said sometime between 4 and 6 pm. I wanted to wait there with him the entire time and watch him get on the bus. I didn’t want to leave him until I absolutely had to leave him. My husband pulled me aside and said staying there to watch the bus leave may not be a good idea. “I think it will be too difficult for you and it may be for him as well.” I had never thought of it that way. I thought he would need me to be there until the very last minute. I asked Andrew how he would feel if I left before he did. “I’m okay with whatever you decide, mom.” I struggled with what to do. I wanted to be there for him, but I didn’t want to do anything that would make things more difficult for him. In the end, I decided to leave him and let him begin his journey without me.

His dad took him aside and gave him some words of wisdom. We took a few pictures with my camera phone (because I forgot the memory card for my real camera. Ugh!) and then it was time to say our goodbyes. He hugged his grandma and grandpa. He picked up his sister and told him he was going to miss her and that he loved her. He hugged his brother and best friend, he hugged his dad. Then, he walked over to hug me.

“I love you, son. I am so proud of you. In your darkest moments, think of how much I love you. And please, don’t forget to massage your feet.”

He started to laugh.

“I love you too, Mom. I won’t forget to massage my feet.”

I cried while I held him tightly. This was it–the moment I had to let go and let him become a man, let him become a Marine.

I kissed him one last time, told him I loved him a few more times.

And then I walked away and just left my son there.

Walking away from that precious boy was the hardest thing I’ve had to do since becoming a mother. As the door shut behind me, I felt as though I couldn’t catch my breath. The reality hit me hard– that was the last time I’d see or speak with my son for three months. No phone calls, no text messages, no emails. Nothing. As the cool air hit my face I inhaled as deeply as I could. Then, I fell into the arms of my husband and let it all out. I couldn’t stop the tears from falling. He held me as he fought back his own emotions. “He’s going to be okay. It’s time to let him go and live his dream.”

I knew that at some point that night, I’d receive a call from Andrew. He would read from a script and then hang up. I had read about it, Andrew had told me about it. I held my phone in my hand all night long. I wasn’t going to fall asleep until I got that call.

Around 9:30, my phone rang. I took a deep breath and answered.

It was so loud– so much shouting in the background. He couldn’t hear me, so I shouted “Hello!”

My son began shouting into the phone. I could hear anxiety in his voice as he read from the script.

“This is recruit Valtierra. I have arrived safely. I will contact you in 3 to 5 days via postcard with my new mailing address. Please do not send any food or bulky items. Thank you for your support. Goodbye for now. I love you.”

From what I’ve read, the “I love you” is not in the script. But my son said it.

That phone call broke me all over again.

I didn’t sleep all night, his voice played over and over in my head and I was sick with worry for what he’s going through.

Tonight as I was getting ready to walk out the door to go shopping for a trip tomorrow, my phone rang. Same area code as the phone call I got last night from my son. Could it really be him calling again? No way. Wishful thinking. I picked up.

It was my son. This time, there was no yelling in the background. This time, his voice was calm (from exhaustion, I imagine.)

I knew what he was going to say, so as he spoke, I just said “we love you, we’re proud of you.”

He hung up.

I just stood there, in shock. He called a second time. I don’t understand why that happened, but I am grateful it did. I needed to hear his voice today.

68 thoughts on “The Day My Son Left For Boot Camp.

  1. Steph

    Wow wow wow. This made me cry. I’m not a mother yet, but with your words, I could feel everything you were going through. I’ve been reading your blog since 2003, when I was merely 20 myself. I can’t believe Andrew is now a man who is a Marine. I’m proud of him, too.

    1. New Army Mom

      My son leaves for Army bootcamp on 1/22/13. He has my full support and I am trying to have a great attitude and show him my support by being strong. I cry every night knowing I have to let him go to be the man he wants to be. It is scary knowing all the possibilities that could happen.

      1. PS

        My son leaves on the 14th. This will be one of the saddest moments of my life. I totally support his decision. But my heart is so heavy with the thought of him leaving.

        1. Laurie

          My son leaves the on the 14th as well. I’m hoping I can keep from crying at MEPS. I don’t want to risk him crying because I’m upset. I am excited for him as he begins a new stage in life. Leaving home eventually *is* one a parenting goal, right? This is so hard.

          1. chris

            I’m so glad I came across this website. My son is leaving for bootcamp next month and I am overwhelmed with anxiety. I know this is what he wants to do and I am very proud of him .It is just so hard for me to let him go . I pray that he will stay strong spiritually, mentally and physically relying on God for strength. Having said that I just can’t get over the sadness I feel thinking about him being gone and not talking to him for such a long period of time. I know he’s not the first to go through this but it doesn’t make it any easier. I do appreciate all of your comments expressing your feelings , makes me feel as if I”m not alone. God luck to all of you and God bless your soldiers.

        2. Jeanette

          My Son Chris just left for Army boot camp and my heart is broken but I am so proud of him and what he’ll accomplish. I also have another Son, Jon in the Army but it’s still hard to let each child go. Good luck to you all.

          1. Caralina

            Wow this made me cry all over again. My son left for Parris Island on the 14th. I really didn’t expect it to be this hard since he hasn’t lived at home for almost a year. I did really good at MEPS right up until we said good bye and was getting ready to leave him there. Now i sit and wonder about him and how he is doing. I keep asking myself when it will get easier and if i can make it one day without crying? This is hard but i am so very proud of him.

  2. Habbala

    I’m sitting at the airport with tears streaming down my face. My heart hurts for you. My son is 6 months old and the idea that he will grow up and could decide to be a marine shook me. I am praying for you and your family: peace and safety.

  3. Allison

    I gave birth to my daughter four weeks ago. I finally understand what you mothers are talking about. I prayed for you on the day he left. I will continue to pray for his safety and for your heart to stop feeling like its being shattered into a million pieces. You raise a good man.

  4. Kathleen

    This was absolutely beautiful! I have a son graduating from high school in a couple of weeks, and I know I would support him if he chose a military career, however, selfishly, I do not want that for him, or should I say I don’t want it for me? You should be so proud of the young man you have raised. My father was a career military man, and I also have two brothers who served. But I would be exactly like you, and I think most mothers would. Thanks for writing such a beautiful post. Tell your son that we are proud of him!

  5. Amanda

    You are all so brave. Thank you for sharing your son with our entire country. I wish there was something I could say other than I honor your pain and your fear and promise to always come back here to listen to you. Big, big love.

  6. daniel

    Good for you for hugging that woman. I don’t know why, but of all the things in this post, this is what struck out the most. Even in your time of emotional need, you were able to reach out and be there for someone else.

  7. Kate H

    I can’t think of the right words, because I can’t possibly know what you’re going through (my son’s only 7 and I plan to stay in denial as long as possible about his leaving me some day). Please know you and Andrew are in my thoughts. I guess his dream is your nightmare right now, but you will get past it with time… and when you get to hug him again.

  8. Suzy Q

    Beautiful, eloquent post. Sending you Internet love today and will be hugging you for real this weekend.

  9. Michelle

    Wiping the tears as I type. . .

    That was beautiful. Hugs from Vienna, VA. . .

  10. Alice the Brit

    Sitting in the parking lot outside Wally World, tears pouring down my cheeks trying to compose myself now after reading your blog entry…. You *should* be so incredibly proud of Andrew & as hard as it was to let him go, he will come out of this as a man who values honor, respect and authority. I sort of envy you actually, my oldest, 23 yr old son is still ’floundering’ with has no real direction.. though I would no doubt sob when my son left as you did, I would also be so proud too. My son could use a stern lesson in honor, respect, (especially in authority) & hard work.

    [[[hugs]]] …… Alice the Brit.

  11. Melissa S.

    V- No one went with me to MEPS when I was 18 and I would have been very comforted to have my family there. I felt in limbo and alone. I know your son was very happy to have you all there. I cried thinking back to that time of uncertainty in my life. The first few weeks of boot camp are intense, especially for Marines. The drill instructors have the task of taking recruits from different backgrounds and values and they have to level the playing field so to speak. “Break them down to build them up.” don’t be afraid of this process. As a recruit, I kind of went numb and realized that it wasn’t personal. It’s their job. Because your son has such strong support and ties to home he will be resilliant and will not be broken but become stronger. Keep telling him you love him when he calls. You are a great mom and your son is so lucky to have such love, passion, and support. Hang in there and know that this is temporary and will pass as difficult as that sounds in this moment. Love you, girl.

  12. Kelly

    I cried while I read this. I cannot imagine the mixture of pride and sadness you feel right now! Thank you to your son and family for the sacrifices you are making for us all!

  13. Tricia

    I hugged Jeremy extra tight today when he left for school, he’s only 10 which is pretty much the age Andrew was when I met you, right? Wait maybe 8, anyways my heart hurts for you, you made me cry while reading this

  14. Rachael

    If I did not have to be taking care of my 2 year old and getting ready for visitors to come over, I would seriously just sit in front of my computer and have a really, really good cry for an hour. Instead I’ll just wipe my tears, but I will still be thinking about you. I can’t even imagine. I can’t imagine letting go of my boys and sending them into the world (and I have a while, my oldest is only 6, but still…), let alone sending one of them off to boot camp. You are so amazing and it’s wonderful that you are so supportive of your son’s dreams, and letting him become who he is meant to be. (Hugs)

  15. bethany actually

    Y,you showed such grace and generosity hugging the other mom. Andrew learned that grace and generosity from you. He’s going to be an amazing Marine. I’ll keep praying for you!

  16. Leah

    Wow. Your mother’s heart is so transparent so beautiful. My children have not chosen a military career (one young one left but she wants to be in the arts) but my brother did (Air Force). I know its not the same as one of my children but my heart aches now that he is overseas. I will pray for you and your family and especially your son. I have read your blog a long time, you have instilled deep roots of love and support in him so he will make it thru just fine.

  17. Roxanna

    Oh Sweetie….I am SO GLAD that he was able to call again, and just when you needed to hear his voice. He has such amazing strength, and so do you. I can’t even begin to imagine how hard this is for all of you, but as a mom…. this just about kills me for you. I know he’ll be fine (better than fine) but it is so damn hard to let them go, and row. From one mom to another, I am holding you close in thought and heart.

  18. souphead

    some of the comments are making me cry as hard as the post itself.
    you are a wonderful mother who has raised a wonderful young man (not to mention the other two awesome kids!). keep being proud. keep telling him you love him.
    i’m proud of you.


  19. Matthew

    Thank you for allowing your son to serve our country. He is a fine young man and we are all proud of him. Hugs to you. I can only imaging how you feel. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your son!

  20. Sarah Adams

    My heart just shattered reading this. As a mother, I think we are conditioned for moments such as these, to let our children go and chase their dreams. But that doesn’t make it hurt any less. My son is almost 11 months old, and I can’t imagine letting him go one day, especially since we almost lost him once before. I think you are a shining example for all mothers who are going through the same thing, and I think you are truly brave for putting it out there for everyone. My thoughts are with you, and my prayers are with your son. I thank him for his service to our counry.

  21. Christine

    Yvonne, thank you for sharing this with your readers. You have brought me to tears more than once this week. This post was beautiful.

  22. Gc

    I just wanted to say “Thank you” to you and to your wonderful son. I don’t think that it’s said enough. It is such a great and unselfish sacrifice for the families and the individual serving. I wanted to make sure you knew that it was appreciated

    – a daughter of a retired Navy officer, a sister to a Navy officer, a cousin to a Marine

  23. oliveoyl64

    V, I sit here with tears streaming. I have read your blog for so long, I cannot remember how far back, but I have watched this young man grow up right along with my DS(18). You have raised an amazing human being. He is kind,caring,compassionate, a great brother and SON. None of that will change!

  24. Casie

    Your son will do great. My husband is a former Marine and he’s told me many times he’d go back if i’d let him. Boot camp will be hard but it will be worth it. He’s going to come back looking like a man, covered in muscles (Josh looked like a grape stuck on the top of a tooth pick). He’s going to make great friends, have an amazing experience. He will love it and he will hate it and in the end, he won’t trade a single moment of it. Your son picked the most challenging branch of the armed service to join and I truly believe that speaks volumes of his character.

  25. Beth

    I give you strength! My son left for Air Force boot camp in November and reading this brings back all those emotions. He was my oldest too! Andrew will make it through this and be a confident, stronger man for it and you will not recognize him at his graduation!! I still miss having him in my house every day but this is giving them wings! I am praying for you both!!

  26. Susan

    What a beautiful post. Thank you to Andrew and to his family for all the sacrifices.

  27. Rachel

    Longtime reader, first time commenter. I read this with tears streaming down my face. My boys are 5 and 2, and your beautiful words and strength resonated with me. You and your boy are both so strong and your amazing bond will carry you both through the next few months. What a good mom you are to be so supportive of your son’s dreams.

  28. ella

    I cried reading this. My time is coming when my son leaves for the Navy. I’m sure I will cry just as much if not more.
    Tears of sadness at letting him go and tears of joy for such a proud moment in his life and ours.
    Thanks for sharing this with us.

  29. Annie W.

    Sweet, dear Yvonne… Thank you for sharing such a touching and emotional part of your life with us. I am keeping Andrew in my prayers, that God’s white light of protection will surround him. You, sweet Mama.. I am holding you in my heart. Our children will always be our babies… Blessings.

  30. Joceline

    Read this with tears streaming down my face. Over the past couple of years I’ve enjoyed reading about your family, your love and commitment to one another; I have no doubt that your son will thrive and achieve great things in this next stage of his life.

  31. Dani

    Wow. This post has me crying. I can’t imagine my son going into the Marines and your son is an AMAZING man for doing it. You have raised a wonderful child and I will keep him in all my prayers.

  32. Jane

    As I came out of the supermarket that sunny day, pushing my cart of groceries towards my car, I saw an old man with the hood of his car up and a lady sitting inside the car, with the door open. 

    The old man was looking at the engine. I put my groceries away in my car, and continued to watch the old gentleman from about twenty five feet away. 

    I saw a young man in his early twenties with a grocery bag in his arm walking towards the old man. The old gentleman saw him coming too, and took a few steps towards him.

    I saw the old gentleman point to his open hood and say something. The young man put his grocery bag into what looked like a brand new Cadillac Escalade. He then turned back to the old man. I heard him yell at the old gentleman saying:

    ‘You shouldn’t even be allowed to drive a car at your age.’ And then with a wave of his hand, he got in his car and peeled rubber out of the parking lot.

    I saw the old gentleman pull out his handkerchief, and mop his brow as he went back to his car and again looked at the engine. 

    He then went to his wife and spoke with her; he appeared to tell her it would be okay. I had seen enough, and I approached the old man. He saw me coming and stood straight, and as I got near him I said, ‘Looks like you’re having a problem.’

    He smiled sheepishly, and quietly nodded his head. I looked under the hood myself, and knew that whatever the problem was, it was beyond me. Looking around, I saw a gas station up the road, and I told the old man that I would be right back. I drove to the station and went I inside. I saw three attendants working on cars. I approached one of them, and related the problem the old man had with his car. I offered to pay them if they could follow me back down and help him.

    The old man had pushed the heavy car under the shade of a tree and appeared to be comforting his wife. When he saw us he straightened up and thanked me for my help. As the mechanics diagnosed the problem (overheated engine), I spoke with the old gentleman.

    When I shook hands with him earlier, he had noticed my Marine Corps ring and had commented about it, telling me that he had been a Marine too. I nodded and asked the usual question, ‘What outfit did you serve with?’

    He said that he served with the first Marine Division at Guadalcanal Pelieliu, and Okinawa .

    He had hit three of the worst ones, and retired from the Corps after the war was over. As we talked we heard the car engine come on and saw the mechanics lower the hood. They came over to us as the old man reached for his wallet, but was stopped by me. I told him I would just put the bill on my AAA card.

    He still reached for the wallet and handed me a card that I assumed had his name and address on it, and I stuck it in my pocket. We all shook hands all around again, and I said my goodbye’s to his wife.

    I then told the two mechanics that I would follow them back up to the station. Once at the station, I told them that they had interrupted their own jobs to come along with me and help the old man. I said I wanted to pay for the help, but they refused to charge me.

    One of them pulled out a card from his pocket, looking exactly like the card the old man had given to me. Both of the men told me then that they were Marine Corps Reserves. Once again we shook hands all around and as I was leaving, one of them told me I should look at the card the old man had given to me. I said I would and drove off.

    For some reason I had gone about two blocks, when I pulled over and took the card out of my pocket and looked at it for a long, long time. The name of the old gentleman was on the card in golden leaf and under his name was written: ‘Congressional Medal of Honor Society.’
    I sat there motionless, looking at the card and reading it over and over. I looked up from the card and smiled to no one but myself and marveled that on this day, four Marines had all come together because one of us needed help. He was an old man all right, but it felt good to have stood next to greatness and courage, and an honor to have been in his presence.

    Remember, as we approach another Memorial Day, OLD men like him gave you, and all of us, FREEDOM for America . 
    Thanks to those who served and still serve, and to all of those who supported them, and who continue to support them.

    America is not at war. The U.S. Military is at war. America is at the Mall. 

    If you don’t stand behind our troops, PLEASE feel free to stand in front of them! 

    Remember, Freedom isn’t Free. Thousands have paid the price, so that you can enjoy what you have today.


  33. Judie

    My son is leaving in the morning for the Army. This is breaking my heart and your words have helped me to know what to expect when I say my good-byes.
    ~ Thank you~

    1. Peggy Mitchell

      My son just left this morning for Boot Camp.. I am such a mess. He is my first child and he’s never been away from me more than a weekend.

      Sending Hugs

  34. Jennifer

    I was wondering when he was going to leave. My son left March 26, my husband’s birthday. It has been incredibly hard. I miss him so much. But, he got to call me this past Wednesday!! He sounded tired, but excited the end is near. He will graduate on June 22 at Parris Island.. I am so excited!!

  35. Angela Dupas

    It is June 26th.. Two days after watching my son leave the recruiter’s station to head to MEPS in New Orleans, La. We live in DeRidder, la. I know exactly what you were/are feeling.. As I am going thru it myself as we speak. My son arrived at Parris Island last night around midnight and around 12:30 am I got THE CALL. I’m an emotional DISASTER! Today is the biggest struggle ever since becoming a mother… My heart my thoughts and my prayers go out to you and all that have to endure this.

    Much love and MANY MANY BLESSINGS!!!
    Angela 🙂

  36. Angelo

    It takes a lot for me to shed a tear yet alone share my feelings. I cried while reading this and I want to say thank you for sharing your experience. Along with every other mother who commented and shared their thoughts. I’m 24 years old and I’m in the process of joining the military. I haven’t spoken to my mom or dad in several years due to having our differences and not seeing eye to eye on things. They have no idea this will be another decision of mine that im sure they will be against and I’ve debated wether to even tell them. After reading what a parent has to go through for their son/daughter to enlist in the military, I think I owe it to my family to keep them informed. I would’t want to keep them in the dark even though we may not have the best relationship. Thanks again. My prayers go out to you, your family, and your son. =)

    1. Y Post author


      I was not very supportive of my son’s decision in the very beginning. But once I realized he was doing it for the right reasons and that becoming a Marine was what he wanted more than anything, I supported him 100%. I think it’s best that you’re honest with your parents. I will send good thoughts that they are accepting of your decision, even if it takes them a while to come around. Please know that I am proud of you for this decision and wish you all of the best!


  37. kim

    I know exactly how you felt,my son left for bootcamp Dec 9th 2011, those 3 months are beyond words I can describe, I still can remember the day he came home and told me he joined the marines,I was so happy but sad,then it seems time flew by and he was gone off to bootcamp,few letters here and there,then they day came for bootcamp graduation, he was 30 pounds lighter and looked exhausted, when we hugged we couldnt stop crying, his whole demeanor was different like in a short 3 months he went from a boy to a man,I honestly couldnt be more proud of him. now he is about to finish school and going on to C school, crazy to think this time last year he was a high school graduate now he is a marine..

  38. Peggy Mitchell

    I am in such tears for you.. My son left me this morning for Bootcamp for the National Guards, he is away for 20 weeks. I am a lost cause and really no support group here for me. I am a stay at home mom, and I have never had my children away for more than a weekend…. My son whose 18, decided this was his route that he wanted to take. I am proud yet so sad at the same time. I keep getting told just think of it as he’s moving into his own place, well his own place i can see him and call him at anytime, now I am not even sure when that is… May our Guardian Angels watch over our children while they are temporary away from our wings… HUGS TO YOU!!!

  39. kim calvert

    You just described everything i went through last night with my son even down to the fish tacos. I fought the tears but when i hugged him the last time before we left the tears just started flowing. Its part worry but mostly because i’m so proud of him. Thank you for sharing this. It is making it a little easier for me. I love him so much and i know he will be strong.

  40. Steffany Santiago

    OMG.. I read this story and I would of sworn it was written by me…If you replace Andrews name with DRAKE and take out “RUBIOS” this is my story.. Thank you so much for writing this beautiful post. My son left for boot camp Dec. 17th. 2012 and I feel like i’m falling apart. I’m going to dig deep the way I told him to and get through it. Thank you again and god bless.

  41. type

    My son left for boot camp yesterday this was the hardest thing I have ever gone through. I cried everyday for the last month and I am crying as I type this. I as well tried not to cry when we dropped him off at the recruiter. I kept telling myself not to cry so that I did not make it any harder on him. He took one look at his sister and she started crying hysterically and then he did the same. I know I can get through this knowing what he will endure will be far harder. God Bless all recruits and my son in their new journey in life. I couldn’t be a prouder mom. God please give them the strength physically and mentally for the challenges they will face. I love you my son your my hero!

  42. Laura

    I found your blog about a month ago, I woke up on a Sunday morning around 3:30 and couldn’t sleep because I was emotional thinking of my son leaving for boot camp, I read your entire blog about your son, it took me a couple of hours, I cried while reading it, but it made me feel better. My son is leaving next week. In your blog you seemed to be in contact with other parents of the boys in your sons group, how did you find that? Im feeling a bit overwhelmed with all of this, and it would be so nice to be in contact with other parents.

    1. ella

      Laura if your son is shipping our for Marine recruit training you can go to marineparents dot com and recruitparents dot com.
      My son ships out May 13. We are happy and sad. Talk about roller coaster emotions!
      Good luck to him and you.

  43. Sally

    I cried when I read this. My heart breaks for my own son as well who leaves for the Army on June 3, 2013. How am I gonna let go? I already cry all the time. God bless you and I pray for all the service men out there. I Lao pray for all the moms to stay strong for their child. Crying is a part of grieving. Let it out. I sure am.

  44. Mayra Vasquez

    Wow! as i read couldn’t stop crying! My son is graduating High School in two weeks and leaving Sept 11 to Navy, it has been so incredibly hard for us to know he will be gone in a couple of months, I have cried so so much feeling guilty that I might of not been a good Mother,maybe to strict or to pushy, but when he told me that because of me is that hes doing it for all the sacrifices I did for him, That It was his turn to do them for me, broke my heart even more I don’t know how to let him go and every day gets so hard knowing the day is close, Its hard for me to see how he is trying to let his brothers and sister know how much he loves them,because he knows he wont be home for a long time and its the first time they will be apart, always taking pictures, making sure his almost two year old sister learns his name right before he leaves ,attending his brothers baseball games,and playing wrestling with his teen sister, or when I’m cooking he hugs me and tells me I’m gonna miss your cooking momma I love You! uhhh brakes my heart, I guess We just have to cherish and make many memories with him this last few weeks we have together!I cant even imagine how I’m gonna be that day, if its hard now to stop crying and I still have him here.

  45. Colleen

    Yvonne, thank you for posting this. Our son is in wk three of becoming a Marine. I never imagined the intensity of emotions I would feel and you do a great job of describing them. I personally am on a roller coaster of emotions. Pride, excitement, fear, depression, anxiety. I’m trying to keep myself distracted but it’s only temporary. Here is the thing, even when he does graduate, we only get to see him for a few days and he will be off again. I just want to hug him so badly that it hurts. I know we’ll all get through this. I’ve heard it said, “He enlisted, we were drafted.”. Semper Fi!!!!!

  46. Yasing

    Thank you so much for sharing… As I read your story I had tears in my eyes. I was feeling exactly what you were feeling. My son Sebastian left yesterday to the Air Force and I felt exactly the same, I was trying to be strong but my emotions took over, I tried to be strong for him and show him support. I won’t see him for at least three months, that is breaking my heart. I keep my phone next to me hoping that I can tell him once again how much he means to me and how proud we are of his courage. I’m also excited to see the transformation. Again, thank you for sharing and thank your son for my freedom.

  47. Cynthia Stephens

    Thank you. My son leaves Cleveland airport sometime tomorrow, 11-13-13 for the Army. I never had tears until just now, reading your letter and realizing, I too must let go. It’s been 23 years since this miracle child was born to me and through all the good and bad, he has truly grown to be a man worthy of my respect and admiration. His father left 20 years ago and has never seen him since. What a loss this father has had not knowing his son(s). I could bust buttons I am so proud. He will serve HIS country, what a noble and selfless act. I know I’ve taught him right and wrong and he will carry those values to wherever he is asked to go. Bless your son and thank you again for the peace you have given me.

  48. Christi

    I am so glad I stumbled upon this blog post tonight. I just got back from dropping my son off at the hotel where he will stay before he flies out tomorrow morning for basic training. I am so glad to know that I’m not alone in what I’m feeling. I think some people have no idea what it feels like to have a precious child, raise that child and then drop them off somewhere. Having to walk away and leave them behind. It’s the hardest thing I have ever done in my life.

    Thank you for your post. I really needed to read it, and it’s so great to know I’m not alone. 🙂


    My son left today… I went to say goodbye yesterday. He askedbme not to go to MEPS.. I HAVNT STOPPED CRYING. I kept thinkng about him being there and watching all the other families.. when his girlgirlfriend, my other son, abd I decided to go anyway, he had already left.. I feel I could have told him so much more.. I wish Icould have told him in a hundred different ways how proud of him I am, and how blessed I was to have him in my life.. I know this is a part of life… I just wasnt ready for it yet.. GOD BLESS OUR MARINES AND THE FAMILIES WHO LOVE AND MISS THEM!

  50. Pauline Garcia

    I know it’s hard the same thing you felt I felt I couldn’t stop crying I cried for 2-3 days none stop everything at home reminds me of him I sit in the table eating breakfast,cooking lunch, cooking dinner, he’s not their with me I see here clothes they are their not to eat I see he’s car it’s not their too drive. I have to be strong for both us. I just worry and he sleeps good he’s health. After that iknow he’s will make it. Not to long I lost my dad now my son but I know he will become a great man I ask god to give me strength and good health and courage. We as parents have to be strong and always pray for their safety and good health.

  51. Michelle

    My son goes to the hotel in about 48 hours before we head to MEPS and then he is off to Marine Corps bootcamp.
    I am in tears after reading this story as I know it will be me in 2 short days. I have been crying off and on for days as I think of my baby heading off to become the man he wants to be. All I can think of is that moment that I first held him in my arms and smelled the top of his sweet baby head. I know I raised my children to spread their wings, and he has expressed a desire to be in the military since he was 4 years old, but the ache in my heart is so intense right now. I know he will be successful and the Marine’s are getting a good man that wants to be there to defend our country.
    Can you bottle that sweet baby smell? Cause I’d give about anything to do so right now. I am a proud Mama and cannot want to attend his graduation in September.

  52. Donna Clarke

    This is beautiful. I cried the whole time. My son Bryan was sworn in on Sept 25,2014 he is leaving for boot camp on feb.2,2015 marines reserves. Everyday is a count down for me. I hope your son is doing well. God luck, to you & your son .

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