There’s something about being a Naval Academy parent … you want to share the experience. At the beginning of the journey, you share your anxiety with people who have been through it and can help you. As you move forward, you return the favor. All the while, you want to share with people outside the USNA “bubble” and try to help them understand just how amazing (and surreal) it all is.
That’s why I couldn’t contain myself and wrote “Anchored In Tradition.” And that’s why, in part, Annie Shine has expanded the USNA bookshelf with her first book, “A USNA Mom’s Journal: Tips and Wisdom from our Family’s Plebe Year and Beyond!”
Her connection with the Academy goes back … waaaaaay back.
“My affiliation with USNA began before I was born. My Dad was an international student and is a Class of 1959 alumnus. I grew up saying Rise ‘n Shine with ’59!” she said. “My Dad had been waiting for our oldest son to turn 15 to take him on a Tiger Cruise. When our son turned 15 they set sail on the USS Porter and they had a great experience on the ship. My Dad found two officers that were links in the chain and they took our son under their wing for the duration of their underway. When our son returned home he knew that the Naval Academy is something he wanted to do.”
All of her kids found a way to serve in their own way and in many ways, she sees her book as an extension of the support she’s offered throughout the years.
“The primary inspiration for my book is to pay it forward to fellow Navy families. Because of my Dad’s Navy affiliations and our community involvement, we were fortunate to have had several amazing mentors to guide us through the N*ot College journey, especially during Plebe year. We received so much great advice and information that we were able to help guide and inform other fellow Plebe families and were even asked to become moderators for the USNA classes of 2018 through 2022 facebook pages,” she said. “I have shared my notes with many families, and every year I have a small Plebe Parent Coffee in Annapolis on I-Day Minus One to help prepare parents for the big day and calm nerves. I have been privileged to mentor and help many families through the transition and the journey and that makes me very happy.”
But like a lot of USNA parents, it was the first Plebe Summer experience that changed something for Annie (I’ve written about Plebe Summer a couple of times … it’s a gamechanger for many).
“Another thing that helped our transition occurred during our oldest son’s Plebe Summer. It was a tough transition for our close-knit family, and I have to say that I missed my son quite a bit! A friend of mine reached out and offered to make a pin in the likeness of my son so that I could wear it during Plebe Summer. As he wore different uniforms, my pin assortment grew until I had a pin of my son in each uniform, including dress whites, NWUs, mess dress, SDBs, Summer whites, etc. I would wear my pin and when other Navy Moms would see them they would ask where they could get one. This was the beginning of my MidPins (you can find those here)!” she said. “I actually started it as a fundraiser for our parents’ club and gave 100% of the proceeds to the club for over five years. When I started my Etsy shop, I decided to offer the pins through the shop and I donate a portion from the sale of each Midpin to the Midshipman Welfare Fund.”
No surprise, USNA families are the books’ primary audience.
“I hope to equip new parents with key things they will need to know to survive I-Day and Plebe Summer and thrive through Plebe year all the way through Commissioning,” she said. “I also hope to give insight to more seasoned parents as to what to expect each year, from a Mid’s and a parent’s perspective, and as mentioned before, to help plan a commissioning week that is just right for you and your family.”
You can find Mid Moms And More on Facebook and Instagram. And in case you missed it, here’s another link to her Etsy store (home of the Midpins)
Annie also recommends these books:
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