Navy Dads

Coming to terms and accepting your son or daughter is grown

Have any of you ever had a break up where the other person seems to be gone before you realized what happened. And months later you seem to still be trying to catch up while they have long sense gone? That is the only way I can use to describe what I am feeling. My son left last July for boot camp and I am still kinda still there. Like I want to be here in the present. I just can't figure out how too and I would like to be in the present when he comes home in June. Much of it I know comes from I really didn't share my feelings with him then and I guess we are both kinda that way. When I tried to talk to him when he was home for Christmas he was like well you never said anything when I left. And that was it... I know he did what he had too. I just try to tell him I am proud of him and I know I am only responsible for my feelings but I don't feel like I am doing a good job of it at all. Just wondered if anyone else has had similar and how you have went about trying to accept they are grown and serving apart from us now. and if it's hard for you to convey how you feel or if they are non chalant about it. I know it's probably kinda empty nest too and I know it is what we want and it means we did ok. Still just hard.

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John....you have been a well versed man since joining Navy Dads. Put your thoughts and feelings to paper and give it to your Son. He will read it a hundred times over the coming years as his life unfolds. It might be difficult for him to have this kind of conversation with you right now.....Time and life will take care of that! The hardest part of being a parent is watching our Sons and Daughters spread their wings and fly away....

I'm a single mom of four adult children (that makes me mom and dad!) and I understand how you feel. I'm going to ask you a single question. What exactly is it that you're hoping for; that scenario where you feel like you're complete? Tom is right, it's hard watching our kids fly away, however, it's not exactly that for me. It's hard watching my kids from afar. And by that, I don't mean distance. Our entire jobs as parents are to prepare them to be productive citizens of the planet. Any relationship you have as adults is a bonus, and honestly, that doesn't always turn out how you'd expect. I have one daughter, my oldest, with a family of her own that lives in her own little bubble. She has a beautiful life but it mostly doesn't include me except for a cursory connection now and again. Sometimes I feel like I did something. But I ask myself what I asked you. What am I hoping for? To be her best friend? She has one of those in her husband. To be the one she leans on? Also her husband. To depend on me and make me feel needed? She doesn't require that (amen!). So what am I hoping for? I don't really know sometimes. It's weird to feel like it's just not "right" somehow.  But, she  seems happy enough with her life just the way it is and I'm not about to create drama just to get answers to feed my emotions. I prefer to tell myself if someone told me that she could have a beautiful life but it wouldn't include me in the inner circle, would I give that to her and my answer is absolutely yes! What I do, though, is tell her I love her. Period. I don't care if she says it back, I don't care if she doesn't feel the same way about me just now. What I care about is when I die, that she knows I loved her.  She will, because I told her so.  So, write the letter, tell him you love him, and that you're there whenever/if he ever wants to chat. I have three other adult children and things are a little more "normal" with them.  I tell them all, any way I can, if they listen or not. AND.. I taught myself to paint at 54 years old and I'm pretty darn good. I also bought a metal detector, because I wanted to and it looks fun. I found something to do with my time that is all about me.  Do that!  Live your life. The only one getting in the way of that is you. He is most certainly going to live his and living vicariously really sucks. Don't fret. It all mellows out over time. You be you, let him be him. Sorry for rambling. Best wishes. (my only son is currently week two in boot camp. Went in at 26 years old, can you believe that? He's chasing his dreams. I'm going to chase mine... just as soon as I figure out what they are! hahaha)

Thank you Michelle, this helped a lot. I prayed yesterday when I posted this. This was a word from God. Thanks for taking the time to share some insight and asking me the questions I need to ask myself.
By the way, congratulations to your son. Best wishes to him and thanks for his service and your sacrifice. Hope you get to go to PIR.
Thanks for your encouragement Tom. And your kind words.

Glad I could help. Thank you for the good wishes for my son. Seldom (like never!) does anyone equate anything I have to say with a message from God (but I get it, this happened to me just last year!), more like the ramblings of a mad woman. hahaha Hope this finds you more peaceful minded than a couple of days ago. What did you decide to do (if you want to share)?

I think that is it. I wanted something to do. And there isn't anything "to do" Instead I am just going to let it be. He cannot relate to where I am cause he is not feeling what I am feleling. Answering that question honestly there is nkthing I need him to say. I am just going to tell him and show him I love him anyway I can.

Been there done that lol ! about a year now . Please don't think I'm taking  this lightly or find it funny cause what you described is what I went threw , my son and  I are best friends , he is our youngest and last to leave. We talked constantly since he was small about ever thing , could not had ask for a better kid , my wife referred to him as my shadow. I can tell you this I have shed more tears in the last year than the other fifty I been alive . We both miss each other and at times seems unbearable on both sides . Its hard being a parent for the past 17 yrs to all this free time on ya hands. I am still trying to find myself at times and still just brake down cause the waves of he's gone hit me , but it gets better and easier I can tell you that. Life is to short to worry about what ya should had done , that's in the past . I didn't get a learners manual with my son, done the best I could and damn proud of him and I tell in every text , email or phone call . Try it  and in the mean time go find yourself . Good luck !

It's never too late to open- or renew - channels of communication.  Guys (being guys) tend to keep the emotions inside, and after an adult lifetime, it's hard to change that habit.  Sons also want to show their independence (remember that?) as part of coming into adulthood.  So write letters as you can, and share what you wish to share with your son.  Persist in writing.  Letters are time capsules; they are a frozen moment in your time that he can peruse once, or many times.   Wisdom, sometimes, takes its time to appear on both sides of the generation gap.  The key message:  you're proud of his independence and his choices.  You have the benefit of experience, and patience; use those gifts to the collective benefit of yourself and your son.  Bless you both.

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