I’ve written many times about the endless cycle of life at the Academy. Being an optimist, I always believe the last stretch of USNA-induced stress will be the last. That has yet to be the case and the start of the 2019-2020 academic year was no exception.
We were sad when he packed up his stuff and headed to Annapolis for Sprint Football camp. We waited with some anticipation for his first visit with the surgeon to check progress on his surgically repaired shoulder.
Then, as is often the case, he went dark. Several days passed and I received a cryptic message that was less-than-positive.
A few days later he elaborated and unloaded an overwhelming barrage of things he needed to accomplish in the first part of the semester to get back on track after missing some things at the end of the Spring Semester.
It startled me a bit, but I put on my Executive Leadership hat and replied with some potential ways to pare the list down into something manageable to alleviate some of the stress. He acknowledged it in a short response.
Following his personal social media channels, as well as the Instagram and Facebook channels he runs for Sixth Battalion, there were some upbeat times during the annual Sprint Football camping trip and First Night.
A day or so later, I received another message. “Do you have time to talk?”
Now, most of the time, you’d love to see that message from your Mid. But given the tenor of some of his messages, I was anxious. The phone rang and I held my breath.
The details of the call should remain private, but the topic was service selection, which is a big deal for Firsties, of course. He laid out a few ideas and then asked for my perspective on a few items. I had to let that sink in for a moment … he was actually looking for my insight on something.
After a few moments of thought, I walked through some of my logic and thoughts about how some of the service selections might apply to Life After The Navy. When I explained how one line, in particular, might play out in the civilian world, you could almost see the lightbulb go off over his head. As soon as I finished my monologue, he said, “OK, I know exactly what I’m going to do.”
I passed the phone on to Mid Mom and Mid Sib to say goodnight.
I love how my Mid has grown over the past three-plus years. I appreciate that he has overcome numerous obstacles and achieved a great deal of hard-earned success. It is satisfying to see that he has grown into a self-sufficient young man who can fend for himself and help others. But I would be lying if I said it wasn’t gratifying to know that, sometimes, he still needs Dad for some advice.
So while the next USNA curveball is probably right around the corner, this was at least one night I went to sleep with a comfortable smile on my face. I am still “Dad.”