On Friday, July 28 2017, my oldest nephew, Blake, became a United States Air Force Basic Military Training (BMT) Graduate.
Along with my sister and her family, my parents, and Blake’s other grandparents, I was fortunate to make the trip to San Antonio, Texas to see him become an Airman.
The last time we all saw him was about 7 ½ weeks ago, so you can imagine how overwhelmed with emotion we all were to see him.
The graduation ceremony was a very moving and emotional experience. To see all those brave men and women commit to the United States Air Force (USAF) was inspiring.
Blake’s commitment to the USAF has inspired me to learn more about the military. I have always been intrigued because my father is a retired Marine and served in Vietnam. Like most who served in Vietnam, he does not talk much about his time there (especially to a house full of girls). I would never push the issue either.
One thing I have often thought about is how my grandma handled my dad’s deployment to Vietnam. Maybe she just powered through each day because she had other kids to take care of? One thing I am certain of, she prayed for his safety every night.
I bring my thoughts up about my grandma because when my sister and her family had to say goodbye to Blake for basic training, I was at a lost as to what I should do, say, how to act, etc. I avoided talking about it. Clearly, his departure was hard on me, his grandparents, other family members and friends, but it is a lot harder on a mother, father, and sibling. In this situation, I think the best comfort can come from someone who has experience the exact same thing. My cousin is in the Navy and my aunt was able to explain it best to my sister. She said it is like sending your child to kindergarten and you cannot call or check on them and that is how it is every single day.
I have shed many tears since Blake left for BMT and after his graduation. At one point I stopped and said – this is not about me and I am making it about me. I am feeling sad, but why? My nephew has made his decision – his decision on what he wants to do with his life. A decision that I have already made and my parents and sister are not sad. A decision my sister has already made and my parents and I are not sad. Yes, it is a little different because the accessibility to Blake is different, but ultimately this is about his future and his choices. I can be sad because I miss him, but other than that, I feel nothing but pride for him.