You know those moments that you want to savor forever? You want to remember every sight, smell and nuance, because you know they’re once in a lifetime. As a mom of four children I have been blessed to experience many such moments. When my children were babies I had their baby books out, and was always writing in them. It’s a good thing too, because many of the specifics would have been lost to me otherwise. Life has a way of creeping in, and you forget the exact date of an event, or the age of that first word. Those baby books end at age 5, but the memories keep coming. What is a mother to do? In my case, I use Informant to fill the gap. It’s literally my digital scrapbook , and I use it to create a yearly recurring event with all of the pertinent details. It’s an easy way to keep track of those moments that may go un-marked otherwise. Not forgotten, but the date passed by with no recognition. I am so thankful for an easy way to remember the celebration dates.


We recently celebrated one of those milestone events in our family. My eldest son graduated from Air Force Basic Military Training, and it was definitely a scrapbook event. The USAF knows how to do things big, so it’s not just a one-day, get-it-done graduation. There were four days full of celebration.


It all starts with the Airman’s Run. The trainees run in formation to the cheers of an excited crowd of family and friends. We’re all excited to see our loved ones, but they’re lost in a sea of bald heads and others who are dressed exactly like they are. Thankfully we did know that our son would be in the group wearing a black t-shirt, so we just took photos of the group. He’s in there somewhere! This really is just a “run-by”, which is super frustrating for all of the moms. They run by us, and straight back out of the stadium. Wait…what? I didn’t even get to see which bald head was mine!




A while later, and the trainees come back in, and line up in formation for the Coin Ceremony. We have a better idea of where our son is now, so we focus on that group. This is an actual representation of what we saw. I think my eyes are still strained from trying to find my son in the crowd. It’s a dirty trick to play on the families…really it is. You know he’s out there, but where??


Little sister is so excited to see her Bubba, she can hardly contain herself.

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Yay! We’re finally reunited after two months. I have to say, it was a little…exciting as we were trying to locate him in the sea of uniforms. We felt like treasure hunters as we awkwardly searched each trainee’s face. They had to stand at attention until their loved ones tapped them out. Poor guys…hundreds of strangers looking intently at your face, and you have to maintain your military bearing. I mean, really. 🙂 We did finally locate him, and he was released to us for a few hours before he had to report back to his squadron in preparation for the actual graduation ceremony scheduled for the next day.



The graduation ceremony is a sight to behold. Full of tradition, ceremony and patriotism, it stirs the heart of the coldest person. A mom whose child in out there in uniform? Well, she’s just trying to hold it together…or so I’ve heard.



We meet our new Airman on the field after the ceremony. He didn’t want to stop for an actual photo in his rush to get off of the field, so this was as good as it got. There was a large multitude of “brass” in attendance, and he was afraid he would have to salute someone. “Get me out of here before I see a Colonel.” Ok then…. 🙂


I had to snap this photo as we walked back to the reception center after the graduation ceremony. Really, any self-respecting mom would. My eldest and youngest walking together. She adores her Bubba, and the feeling is mutual. Moments like this are meant to be captured and saved for future savoring. I just love it. 🙂



Of course the other sister is just as proud and excited. These girls love their brother. They even bought t-shirts to wear in his honor. Really, any occasion is good for a t-shirt. We have hoards of them. But, I digress.




My entire family is together in one place…and Mom’s heart is happy.  These times are fewer and farther between as my children age, which makes them even more special.  It was definitely a selfie moment…or groupie…whatever. Notice the excited look on my other son’s face. He loves it when Mom takes pictures. Really, it’s the highlight of his existence, can’t you tell?  Heehee.


Again, my heart is full.



Here we are again, minus our youngest son who had to get back for work. A kind stranger offered to take this photo of us as we toured the historic airplanes on display. Not shown were the tears that soon followed as we said goodbye to our son. It was time for him to take the next step in his life, and for us to go back home.

He is no longer a child, but a young man with military bearing, pride in his accomplishments, and a goal to serve his country. However, this mom will always see the image of the baby who was laid on my chest 21 years ago. The little boy who needed me near just so that he could feel safe. The teenager who at times we despaired of ever making it to adulthood. (Can I get an amen?!)  And I wouldn’t change a thing. 🙂




Amy Sandlin