Sunday, January 3, 2010


The Dilemma Every West Point Cadet Faces...Torn Between Two Worlds...Home and the Mission. But the Mission Won...Now He is Gone.

My West Point Cadet's very anticipated times at Hillcrest Cottage are often like a swirling tornado. They come with great force, excitement, and activity. The olive drab satchel explodes open with the smell of stinky socks and laundry pleading to dive into the washer. The uniforms are happily tossed in the corner as well-worn jeans and flannel shirts are embraced for their familiarity, sense of home, and...

a desire for normalcy.

The activity level ramps up significantly with parties, dinners, fire pit evenings, and lots of coming and goings long into the early morning hours. If the Kinleystead food is good, he will come, so there's also lots of extra cooking.

My sleep schedule is altered to catch a cadet hope that a 2:00 a.m. convo could happen in the kitchen (and it did).

"Mama," he told me in the midst of a bear-hug, "I love it here. I wish I could stay. I don't want to go back."

I make advance reservations with him on the calendar. Can we have this night and this night? He usually complies.We had Christmas, he dutifully donned his uniform to attend the All Academies banquet, and the Last Night included a competitive family Monopoly game.

At 4:45 a.m. the alarm sounded this morning, a misplaced wallet scare (the ONE thing he can not forget when flying!), a breakfast waive, a wanting to stay but a needing to leave, and the dash to the airport.


Lots of debris left in the wake. Lots of silence where there was once noise.


  1. Thanks, Bev...You have just captured the very essence of our time together as well. The tug of trying to do it all, visit with all, torn between family, guy friends and girlfriend. Whirlwind. Yup, you have described my experiences as a cadet mom to a Tee! Thanks for being my friend. I am not sure where I would be without the support of my SA Mom friends! So today, as I struggle with my own sense of normalcy without my soldier-cadet, I will tough it out as I smile and remember the clothes dropped in the corner and the unmade bed in a room that will *always* be his Home. :)

  2. Oh, I'm sad for you. Sounds like you had a wonderful time though.

  3. The rumpled sheets tell me that I just need to GET OVER THE BED BEING MADE. Ever.


  4. Loved this post, Bev. You and I are kindred spirits aside from being family. We love our Clayton. Stay strong. The passage of time is a hard but it is a sign of good things, its the hint of promise and plans and purpose.

    Love! See you soon.


  5. What a wonderful (and pretty danged typical!) visit! It's hard to recognize that our babies are adults now -- I'm still not really sure how I'll cope with giving one of mine away to a young man in April!

    Glad you could get "reservations" for some fun stuff and staked out a "mom and me" moment in the kitchen. Loved the High Profile article about the Ball, but thought you should have been featured in a photo! After all -- you were on the planning committee and Clayton is the very bestest Cadet ever! Thanks for posting the photo here so we could see how very lovely you looked and how very handsome the bestest Cadet looked.

    I swear -- we are going to get together for a meal and lots of laughter one time when I get to LR!

  6. Oh Bev, I can so relate. And the pillow still smells like them, and the trail of mayhem they left in their wake suddenly makes you sad instead of annoyed, and you are proud because you know they are where they should be, but all of the sudden it's so QUIET and your heart can't help but miss them..... I understand :)

    I'm sure you're very proud - and you should be :)


  7. As another cadet sentiments exactly!