He'S A Boy... He'S A Man... - Just a few thoughts... Blog at Allrecipes.com - 208881

Just a few thoughts...

He's a boy... He's a man... 
Dec. 1, 2010 5:36 pm 
Updated: Dec. 8, 2010 7:30 pm
This is a totally off-topic subject regarding a milestone in a young man’s life. See the separate blog for our culinary experiences.

On November 17th I had a very vivid dream. The kind that sticks with you for a long time. My son was about 2 years old, a very happy child that crawled up into my lap and gave me the best hug. You know the kind, the "I love my Mom" kind of hug. It’s a dream that I would love to have over and over again. He’s my little boy...

But he’s not a little boy, he’s 20 years old and my husband and I were preparing to leave on vacation. A very special vacation... to see him graduate from Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He’s a man...

This journey began several months ago when he came home and announced that he was interested in joining the military. Having gone to community college for 2 years, there were no jobs in the area. He didn’t want to be 20 years old and living at home because he had to, not because he wanted to. Our little boy was planning on leaving... a man’s decision. We are proud of the fact that he made this mature decision on his own, for the right reasons, and not on a whim. Not the choices of a boy, but of a man.

I could hardly wait to see my boy. It was the day before Thanksgiving. As we waited anxiously in the bleachers at the graduation ceremony, the new soldiers marched onto the field. While outwardly many still looked like boys, their training had prepared them to be men.

After the ceremony, the crowd left the bleachers to find their loved ones. We’re searching, but we can’t find him. My first inclination was to yell "Hey Buford!", my nickname for him since he was a little boy. Instead we found a drill sergeant who bellowed out a last name. Immediately a young man reported to the drill sergeant. I hardly recognized him. Unfamiliar clothes and glasses, and a close-shaven hair cut. (See a previous blog regarding his long flowing locks of hair.) However, when he turned toward us, there was no mistaking that big grin. My boy was still there.

He was full of stories of his experiences during basic. Some were amusing regarding drill sergeants’ off-color cadences and told with a boy’s amusement. Some were serious about experiences of war and told with a man’s respect.

In some ways, he is much the same and in others he has changed. He no longer has the boy’s insatiable appetite, grazing through the fridge on a whim, but that of a man used to eating at regular mealtimes.

Texting and Facebooking almost immediately... he’s such a boy. Signing up for his own phone service, paying for personal items..., money out of his own pocket, not mine... He’s a man.

We joined up with one of his soldier buddies and his parents to go to a movie. Like boys, they debated on what movie to see. Later, he told us that now he really knew what it meant when they said he would feel proud to wear the uniform. He had several people stop to congratulate him and/or thank him for his service. (Evidently basic training graduates are easy to spot during their first taste of freedom.) That emotion didn’t come from a boy, but from a man.

As it came time to leave, we hugged him goodbye. It was a strong hug from a man, but I realized that no matter what, he would always be my little boy.

Shakespeare wrote "To sleep, per chance to dream." Hopefully that little boy will reappear in my dreams.

We are fortunate that our son will be able to come home for Christmas. His advanced training should be completed sometime in March and after that, who knows. But we are very grateful for the time that we will be able to spend with him and the time spent recently with him. Since it was Thanksgiving, we were very lucky to have him for the holiday and all through the rest of the weekend.

As an added note, to all of those that have loved ones in the military, be very grateful that we live in the times that we do that we can get regular mail, phone calls, text messages, emails and video chats from our loved ones. And think of those in the past that may not have been so fortunate, that may have gone for weeks or months without hearing word from them.

Thank you to AR for providing an avenue for expressing our opinions and thoughts, whether personal or culinary.

God bless our troops, past and present.
My little boy...
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John & a friend at his going away party
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He's a man...
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Dec. 1, 2010 5:45 pm
Oh, Lora, how PROUD You must be!! Did You just cry during the ceremony?? I'm a cryer when it comes to anything sentimental, especially the kids. What a handsome man you have raised. God bless our troops, and Moms like you.
Dec. 1, 2010 5:50 pm
Thanks Toni Jo! I didn't cry during the ceremony, but afterward when I saw him I have to admit that I lost my composure for just a bit. Managed to "toughen up" so I didn't embarass myself or him.
Dec. 1, 2010 6:05 pm
Shoot, I cried just reading this! What a difference six weeks can make! That was so beautifully written and I'm sure there are mothers everywhere that will closely relate to your feelings. He is so very handsome in his uniform!! I thank him for his service and I also thank you and your husband.
Dec. 1, 2010 6:13 pm
Until you've experienced it, you don't realize just how much of change there is going to be. Even his letters and phone calls had a more mature feel to them.
Dec. 1, 2010 6:15 pm
thanks for sharing magnolia, i would have been bawling during the ceremony! my DS is 17 and heading off to college next year, and already i am beside myself!!
Dec. 1, 2010 6:29 pm
As an Army Vietnam veterans wife- we salute your son! It won't be easy but most things worth something aren't...
Dec. 1, 2010 6:38 pm
Thank you iron maiden and thanks to your DH for his service.
Dec. 1, 2010 6:56 pm
amen, and thank you for sharing. We too, would like to thank your son, John for his service!
Dec. 1, 2010 7:01 pm
Thanks Mimosa, Mike, njmom and petey for your support!
Dec. 1, 2010 9:18 pm
wow Magnolia, that was really beautifully written and what pride you must feel for a job well done. I found myself gulping to hold back a tear or two. Please do thank that handsome man in the uniform for continuing to follow in the footsteps of so many brave ones before him.
Dec. 1, 2010 9:24 pm
You raised him right, mom! Our babies grow up so fast and make their own way in the world! It is wonderful when we can see our children become mature, responsible adults! I, too, am proud to support our soldiers and sailors in the service!
Dec. 1, 2010 10:38 pm
Thank your son for serving his country, so we can live the good life here. I give thanks for all the men and women who serve. How proud you must be of your son!
Dec. 2, 2010 3:25 am
Thank you for such a wonderful blog and for raising such a fine young man! Thank him for his service to this great country! He may appear a man on the outside, but I've just recently figured something out about my almost 22 yo son - they're always our little boys on the inside; and for that I am so grateful! Your son is not only making you proud - but all of us as well.
Dec. 2, 2010 5:12 am
Thanks for the beautiful bittersweet story, Magnolia Blossom, and please thank your son for his service.
Dec. 2, 2010 5:22 am
We just went through the same thing as our youngest DD's boyfriend finished Marine basic training at the end of November. We got to see him at Thanksgiving and it was a big change but he's still his Mom's son under that new grown up exterior. Congratulations to all of you and our prayers and thanks to all our military!
Dec. 2, 2010 5:58 am
Thank your son for his service and thank YOU for raising an awesome young man. I'll be in your shoes one year from now. My shoes'll be damper, though. I'm a crier.
Dec. 2, 2010 6:32 am
I cried. How awesome is he??!! Job well done Mom. You have every right to be proud. What a handsome young man! Thank you and thanks to your son! ♥
Dec. 2, 2010 10:05 am
HE'S A HERO! God bless him and his Family! Thank You MB for raising a Fine Man/Soldier! Your blog brought tears to my eyes as well, thinking of my own 15 yo DS maybe going away in a few years.
Dec. 2, 2010 5:53 pm
What a great looking kid! His smile is the same now as when he was a toddler. You did yourself proud and I send my thanks for the sacrifice you both are making for us all. Peace.
Dec. 2, 2010 6:10 pm
Thanks everyone for your kind comments. Mominator, find some galoshes, cause you're going to need them. I manage to control my emotions in front of other people, it's when I'm by myself (or sitting in front of the computer creating this blog) that I let myself feel all the emotion. Lucky I didn't short circuit my keyboard!
Dec. 3, 2010 1:27 pm
I am such a crybaby, yep sniffling now. How and when do our little boys go from 4 year olds clutching a dandelion bouquet for Mom to going and fighting for our country? Your little boy sounds like he grew into a fine young man. God bless him and his Mom & Dad!
Dec. 3, 2010 6:54 pm
Thanks Cat!
Dec. 5, 2010 4:36 am
Gee, this blog made me cry! They will always be our little boys, even when they are men. God bless him and all our troops in harms way...my christmas wish is they all return safely...very soon.
Dec. 5, 2010 4:39 am
MB - what a brilliant and touching tribute to you all!
Dec. 5, 2010 6:42 am
Thanks for sharing Lora, I am grateful for men like your son,,and women as well,who honor us by defending our country. I bought a box of cards,and addressed them and stamped them,and I am asking my patients,I am a chiropractor in NJ,to send our troops a holiday message,,I also have a box in the office for Soldier's Angels,, They are not forgotten,,Will keep all in my thoughts and prayers,
Dec. 5, 2010 7:13 am
Shoot, here come the tears. What a great blog and tribute to one of America's Finest! Congratulations, Mom, on a job well done in raising a boy to a man. Thank him for us, for his volunteering to keep us safe and his service to our country!
Dec. 5, 2010 7:15 am
What a lovely thing to read this Sunday morning. Blessings on your son for his service, and on you his parents for preparing him and supporting him. My own boys are just entering their teens, and I could really relate to the bittersweet feelings you express so well . . . enormous pride and joy in the men they're becoming and yet pangs for the little boys we still want to hold in our arms. So glad you shared this.
Dec. 5, 2010 7:57 am
Geez - my eyes are leaking again. You must be so proud. Thank him for his service and thank you for raising such a fine young man.
Dec. 5, 2010 9:58 am
Very cool...I know it's not nearly the same, but my son will graduate college soon and I've seen that same maturity in him as he's worked and gone to school a good distance from home for several years now. They grow so quickly.
Dec. 5, 2010 10:40 am
My little one turns 20 months tomorrow and I am trying to make time stand still as hard as I possibly can. I am so frightened of having to see him go someday, but hope that I too can raise a good man to send out into the world. Thank you for raising a man who makes my little boy safer in an uncertain time. Kristie
Dec. 5, 2010 11:10 am
Oh my gosh how proud you must be.It sent chills remembering the day my son commisioned.Heads up ,shoulders back,stepping up and stepping out these young men bring pride to our country.CONGRATS!!!
Dec. 5, 2010 11:57 am
My little boys are 34 and 37; yes, he will ALWAYS be your little boy, and yet he never will be again. It's wonderful and heart-wrenching all at the same time.
Dec. 5, 2010 12:40 pm
What a beautiful blog! Thank you for sharing with us, thank you for raising such an honorable young man, and many, many thanks to your son for serving our country!
Dec. 5, 2010 1:31 pm
Loved reading this - congratulations. Our son graduated from Ft Jackson three years ago. He went from there to Ft Bliss, then Ft Sill, then did a year overseas in Korea. Now he's back at Ft Bliss, shortly heading to Bahrain. His 5.5 years will be up soon, but he has decided to re-up... the Army not only made a man out of him, it gave him a wondeful career. Best of luck to your son - and - hang in there Mom! There is a wonderful sense of pride that comes along with having a son in the military. He has truly become a man... it's a bittersweet moment to watch their basic training graduation. Not only are they graduating from basic training, but as you noted in the title of your blog, he's graduating from boyhood to manhood. Next stop: Fatherhood! :o)
Dec. 5, 2010 1:34 pm
Oh - and a side note: I cried when I saw him in formation at basic training.... I cry every time I see him getting off an airplane when he comes home. Just something about seeing my little boy in that uniform.... (and I'm tearing up just thinking about it now!) So - don't feel bad if you shed a tear or two.
Dec. 5, 2010 4:11 pm
Please thank your son from our entire family. Having come from a a military family myself, I know that often our troops get a really rotten deal from certain elements of our society. He made a mature, manly decision and you will *always* be proud of him. He and your family are in our prayers.
Dec. 5, 2010 5:08 pm
Lora...tears came very quickly reading your lovely tribute to your son. My son is a Marine in Afghanistan. He too turned into a man during basic training. This is a very appropriate forum for your words... I spent the day baking a box of bars, cookies and candies to send over for at least a little taste of home for Christmas. Please thank him for his service from another very proud mother of an American serviceman. We should all keep these fine young people in our thoughts and prayers. Congrats
Dec. 5, 2010 7:29 pm
Thanks to everyone for their kind comments. Since I only have the son, I can't say for sure, but as Moms, I just wonder if you have a daughter you really see her maturing into a woman as they go through their teens. But with a boy, you just still see him as a kid. Until something like this comes along. Simp, uh, let's wait on the fatherhood bit, OK? LOL! To all those that have kids or other loved ones in the service, thank them for their service and hugs to all that may be missing them.
Dec. 6, 2010 7:53 am
Dec. 6, 2010 8:35 am
God bless your son for serving our country! My son is only 1 and your blog brought me to tears! There is something about moms and sons that you just can't explain.
Dec. 6, 2010 9:41 am
It is sad that little boys (and girls, too) must become soldiers at all, but since they must, we may as well be proud of them and their accomplishments. Blessings!
Dec. 6, 2010 11:17 am
The hardest thing I have ever done was watch my oldest son, at 18, get on that bus to take him to basic training for the Air Force. My hubby and I didn't speak a word all the way home, then still without speaking, went to our bedroom, crawled in the bed and held each other and cried for about an hour. Seeing him at his graduation, six weeks later, was so exciting! It's been 12 years now, but it's like it was yesterday.
Dec. 6, 2010 11:37 am
Beautiful blog, I hope you share it with your son, along with all the expressions of thanks (mine included.) I remember feeling the same way when my oldest son enlisted, and even more so after he had served 3 years during Desert Storm. I didn't raise him to be a soldier, but I am proud of him and I think it gave him something he never would have gotten without the experience. Hugs to you and thanks to John.
Dec. 6, 2010 1:29 pm
What a sweet post! Brought tears to my eyes. My son is hard-of-hearing and won't be able to join the military, but it would be his dream come true! It's bittersweet for me. On the one hand, I know he'll never be put in harm's way in the military, but on the other hand, it hurts to see him unable to pursue this dream of his. I'm a single mom too and I know it'd make a man out of him. He's 18 now and he's dreamed of this his whole life. You are blessed.
Dec. 6, 2010 4:08 pm
I grabbed the tissue. It was like reading my own thouhts about my son who is away in college. The little boy who love to hear me sing lullabyes is so busy studying, doing frat work, and working 2 jobs. Somedays the lumb in my throat is tough to swallow, so THANK YOU for your awesome words. I think every mother with a child away can understand. Also, please tell him how honored and proud we all are of his service and dedication.
Dec. 6, 2010 8:40 pm
Again, thanks for all the supportive comments! Obviously, I've touched on an emotion that many have experienced before me. b.riddle, you are right... there is something between Mom's and their sons. Just like being Daddy's little girl is like nothing else on earth. Dahling, I know what you mean. We could hardly speak when he left and I was fighting the tears while I was driving. Managed to get control of myself (still sniffling) and we went to a store. There, in the middle of Farm & Fleet of all places, I saw an Army emblem at the end of a rack. I start getting emotional again, and as I get closer to the emblem, I see it's a rack of all of the military emblems, except they are dog chew toys. Isn't that just a little bit disrespectful? Dogs are going to chew those things up! Thanks BigShots! I had printed out my portion of it to put in his scrapbook, but I love the idea of printing out the rest, just so he knows how much folks do appreciate those in the military. Jewrican, good luck to your son. He is at that age that he will begin to make his own decisions and the best thing you can do is listen. Bakin' Lady, you are so right! I've pulled out pics of the kid when he was little and wonder where the time went. Again, thanks everybody! And hug your kids, even if you have to do it through a computer or phone or by letter. (You know what I mean...)
Dec. 7, 2010 2:25 am
Awww Laura that is so awesome! As military members we sometimes lose perspective on how family back home feel in our absence. I still remember graduating basic and having my mom cry tears of joy until she could barely stand. I didn't understand it then, but 12 years later I know it was a combination of pride, love and knowing I wouldn't be that little girl in the kitchen helping her cook. God bless you and our troops.
Dec. 7, 2010 4:50 am
wow, now thats a great blog, how proud you must be of him and although i do not know him i am very proud of him as well. thanks for sharing.
Dec. 7, 2010 8:36 am
I agree with everything said and being the mother of 3 sons I am still crying reading this but knowing it will be ok in the end! Thank you for sharing your story and your son. And to him I say Thank you for your service from the bottom of my heart.
Dec. 7, 2010 9:06 am
Oh my gosh! I could have written this story. Accept, I wasn't able to see him graduate. I was having surgery so I missed it. However, late in the evening I went on a recovery walk around the hospital wing and I heard as noise behind me. Since it was late some of the lights were turned off so it was really dim in places. When I turned around I saw a soldier, a man with wide shoulders and his head held high walking towards me. He stepped under the light and I was my boy/man walking towards me. I felt like it I was in some type of Hallmark movie. It was amazing. I have never been more proud of him or shocked in the way that he left my sight and the next thing I knew, he had grown into a man.
Dec. 7, 2010 10:24 am
Thanks for the super read, Lora and for making me have to choke back tears at work :)
Dottie B. 
Dec. 7, 2010 12:41 pm
Thanks,MB for the beautiful post. I, too have experienced the bittersweet emotions of watching our little boys turn into big, strapping men. My oldest was in the Army for 6 years where he met a wonderful girl,married, and had a son. That same blond, blue-eyed angel just returned safely (Thank God) from Afghanistan, while serving in the Army like both of his parents. My second Son was a Marine for 6 years. I am so very proud of the men they've become, but oftentimes, still think of them as my own sweet little boys.
Dec. 7, 2010 2:41 pm
I'm in tears after reading this. I have two sons, 4 & 1, and can only imagine a day like this coming (their father did the same thing your son did at 18.) God bless your son and yourself (as well as your family) - he's doing a wonderful thing & its amazing to know we live in a country that has so many wonderful men and women serving to keep us safe.
Dec. 7, 2010 2:43 pm
from a military wife to a military mom "Thanks to your brave son".
Dec. 7, 2010 5:12 pm
Oh My what memories this brought of my own boy...he joined basic training left a boy and came home a Man from Iraq...being the Mom of a soldier is the hardest job in the Military God Bless our troops one and all and thanks for all the sacrifices America Home of the free because of the Brave ~Carmen~
Dec. 7, 2010 7:49 pm
Kieta, now you do know how your Mom felt, all of those emotions you described and thank you for your service. Kacee, how cool was that that he was able to come to the hospital to see you? Fantastic! Mi, no dripping tears on the keyboard! Dottie, congratulations on having fine sons serving, as well as the rest of your family. Thanks to Faith & Foodie for their hubbies' service. Mema glad to hear your son came home safe and sound. Again, thanks for all the comments and keep all our troops in your thoughts and prayers. BTW, DS is coming home for Christmas leave next Friday. Yeah! Doesn't have to go back until Jan. 3rd. Hmmm.. better stock up the fridge just in case he gets his kid's appetite back.
Dec. 8, 2010 6:40 am
This is the firs time I have ever blogged so you know this touched me. My grandson joined the Air Force right out of high school. Something he had been planning since being in ROTC for 3 years. He is 19 and such a man now. I am so proud of him and he is so proud to be a part of the military. He is also in South Carolina. I am very proud of my daughter and son-in-law for the wonderful job they have done in raising such a great young man. My only regret is that his Grandpa was not here to see how he turned out. He was also in the Air Force and would have been so proud to see Andrew now. Thanks to all of you who have such wonderful young men willing to serve and protect us so we can keep the freedoms we now have.
Dec. 8, 2010 6:58 am
I Loved this article. Very well said.. all of it. It made me cry, just thinking about how fast 11 years have gone by.. my boys are going to be 20 in NO TIME. My thoughts and prayers are with your "Buford." I am hoping to talk my boys into being plumbers or pharmacists!! That way they can still help our Country, and my mind can be at Ease! Congratulations, and Thank your son! From: His Country.
Dec. 8, 2010 8:57 am
Lora, I just joined this site and one of the first things I saw was your beautiful tribute to your son. We have something in common. Earlier this year, our grandson graduated in basic training at the same base as your son - Ft. Jackson. He was then sent to Aberdeen, MD - strangely enough, that's where my own father, his great-grandfather - was stationed in WW 11. The circle seems complete. From my 4th great-grandfather, who fought in the SC Militia in the Revolutionary War, to my grandson who will be deployed next spring. For now, he is at Ft. Hood, only about an hour away and we are able to spend time with him before he is deployed in the spring. God bless your son and my grandson.
Dec. 8, 2010 10:53 am
LLM, my son was in Civil Air Patrol for several years, but when he graduated from H.S., he wasn't interested in the military anymore. I too wish that his grandparents could have seen him in his uniform. Thanks Brat! June - how cool is the history of your family? There isn't much military history in either of our families because 1) there just wasn't that many family members and 2) most of them were farmers and farmers didn't typically get drafted (at least WWII). Thanks everybody for the kind comments and support!
Dec. 8, 2010 11:59 am
Reading this post had me crying. Your son looks so much like my 3 year old boy in his baby picture. Good luck to your family and congratulations on raising such a wonderful young man. I know you must be so proud. I wish the best for your family.
Dec. 8, 2010 2:49 pm
Wow! That was beautiful! Thank you! Thank you to your son too! May God bless!
Dec. 8, 2010 7:30 pm
Thanks rileysmama & livesimply!
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Magnolia Blossom

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Married for over 30 years living in a very small central Illinois community. Proud mother of 1 son in the Army. Admin Assistant for an engineering firm. Allrecipes Ambassador. Love meeting AR peeps. They're the very best!
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