Happy New Year!! I know that you have enjoyed the past week or so with your Mids, and I hope that you have made many memories.
In my book, A USNA Mom’s Journal – Plebe Summer through Commissioning and Beyond! What You Need to Know – I discuss some of the things that come as our Mids prepare to “put their game face on”. This happens before I-Day, During PPW when they have to return to the Yard, or after each visit – especially Christmas break when they have had over a week of unstructured time with family and friends. As Mids return to USNA they need to “detach.” It is helpful to remember that this is normal and it is important not to take it personally as painful as it may sometimes be for us as parents. Not all Mids go through this, but many do, especially for Plebes. When they return it will be the hardest part since reform In the Fall.
Now that they are back on the Yard, they – and you – may experience the Post Holiday Blues. The house will seem emptier, and it will be akin to post I-Day – you will go to their room and they are not there or make reservations for five instead of four, etc. The bottom line is that you miss them – terribly! And they miss home too…
They do miss home and friends and as they look through their social media they may feel that they are missing out. With the start of the Dark Ages, (read my post For Mids the Dark Ages are Not Just History to get a sneak peek of what to expect), some begin to doubt whether they belong or want to continue. This is normal. We as parents have to help them “Embrace the Suck” and help them stay focused, encouraged, and remind them that they are at the halfway point. It is like running a marathon…this is the point where you hit “the wall”. You can choose to give in. Or you can muster all of your strength for the finish line that lies ahead and keep going even though you feel you can’t. We need to remember that our kids have what it takes – they are strong resilient, they persevere, and they do what they must. We may just need to encourage them a bit extra to get through the Post Holiday Blues and the dark, cold, dreary days of the Dark Ages.
We visited our Plebe for MLK and President’s weekends since they were long weekends and were able to get overnights approved. We sent favorite snacks, fun items in their care packages, and sent short verses of encouragement. In the end, they made it through with flying colors and so will your Mids. Sometimes they just need to be reminded why they have chosen the less traveled path.
I suggest that you get together with friends and plan some outings – we went for a fun night at Paint with a Twist with our USNA Parent Club friends (picture below), found some great books to read, finished some knitting projects, and dove into my crafts to stay distracted and focus away from the fact that I missed (and still do miss) my kids like crazy!
When my Mids returned to the yard after break I found comfort in being with fellow Navy parents who understood what my family and I go through. In other words, remember to reach out to your battle buddies or your local USNA Parent Club, and connect. My blog post on the Plebe Summer Challenge discusses some great strategies to cope – this is great training not only as a USNA parent but especially in preparation for the day when they deploy and the separation is much longer – Plebe Summer on steroids to put it mildly.
In any case, know that iI AM WITH YOU IN HEART AND SPIRIT. I remember the days well and am still living through them with my Officers in the Fleet. I am always here for you if you need. Go NAVY!!