One of my biggest joy as a mother is to have a son as a sailor. I remember clearly when my son decided that he wanted to join the Navy when he graduated from high school. At first, I was a little skeptical when I think of all the different kinds of wars going on throughout the world. The first thought is that I would not want to lose my child. However, I immediately reminded myself that this was a dream of his not mine. I was excited for him.
My mind played a lot of games on me. I googled so much about the Navy. He received a scholarship in high school from the Navy. I was a frantic mess. It was happening too fast. I was not ready but he was. He was only 17 years old. What did he know about becoming a soldier? We would have to signed the authorization forms.
The biggest fear was the day when the Navy came to pick him up. I dreaded hearing the door bell. When the bell rang, I looked through the screen and saw the Navy vehicle. I was scared. I truly was. I froze. The tears came. The Officer was still outside. Should I tell him we changed our minds? I was praying for God to tell me the right thing to do. I was having an out of body experience. My only son!
I just stood there. He was ready. We did the formalities. The Officer looked so handsome in his uniform. My husband had a strong conversation with him. When my son took up his bag to leave, my heart started doing flip-flops. He turned and kissed me. My face was like fountain with tears of fear. He walked toward the Navy Vehicle. My heart stopped beating that moment. I felt organs in my body walking. No! No! He stepped in. The doors closed. I watched that van drove away and my heart felt like it was bleeding. I cannot explain that feeling, but it a mother’s grief.
Graduation day in Chicago was overwhelming. Imagine leaving Florida with 99° and then being in Chicago with a -13°. A snowstorm was going on. You could say a snowstorm was happening in my mind. You have not lived until you experience a military graduation. This was the beginning of a moment that I cannot even begin to explain. It was not the same boy who left home. I was looking at one of the most handsome fella that I have ever seen in my life and he was my son. I knew then that he made the right decision. I also know then that as parents, when our children have dreams, our decisions can help to make that dream a reality.
Eight years later the dream lives on. Here I am saying thanks to all our men and women who have served. Thank you to our son, Derrick Johnson as you continue to serve this great America. We have watched you grow up to become a great sailor, a husband and a father.
We love you and we continue to pray for you and all the other servicemen and women. May God continue to bless and keep you, to call for you, and to protect you from all evil. Maybe you draw close to God as you serve, travel, and live in your purpose.