Lyssa Chapman is one proud mom after 17-year-old daughter Abbie was sworn into the Air Force Tuesday, the next step after years of training as a cadet in high school and one of the final wishes of late grandmother Beth Chapman, who died in June after a battle with cancer. Speaking with The Sun Friday, Chapman revealed it was the Dog the Bounty Hunter matriarch who encouraged her daughter to keep going when she doubted if she truly wanted to join the armed forces.
"I'm super proud of Abbie - she's really an incredible kid," she told the outlet. "What's really amazing is, the last time that we saw Beth alive before she went into the coma, I took Abbie to the house and she was having second thoughts about joining the military."
"And grandma told her, 'Abbie, you do that. You know that's something that's super important,' she recalled. "It was something that Beth was so proud of her for doing."
Abbie added to the story, "She [Beth] was very adamant about me joining, I was considering maybe doing community college for a year but she told me — about two months before she passed — 'No you need to go out there and do your own thing, you need to be your own person — it doesn't matter how young you are... it's time for you to be independent.'"
The newly sworn-in airman said she knows her grandmother "feels proud," and would "definitely" want to be by her side as she joined the Air Force.
"I'm nervous about joining and leaving my mom and my family but I'm excited," she admitted of the next step. "It's like college but I get paid to learn things."
For Chapman, it will be difficult to see her oldest child leave home, regardless of how proud she feels.
"Like any milestone you hit as a parent — from the first step, to the first haircut, to the first boyfriend — it's incredible. Those milestones become bigger and bigger and now this is a really big milestone," she explained. "I just told her, 'I taught you a lot and I think that you have all the necessary skills to make it in the world,' and I'm just really proud of her."
Crying "10 times a day," Chapman said saying goodbye will be "super emotional," but added she feels "very prideful."
"I didn't have a lot of options when I was a teenager," she continued. "I had very different circumstances but she's got the whole world in front of her. I feel like I'm turning in my final art project — Like I've been working on this masterpiece for almost 18 years now. I'm just, I'm really, really happy for her, and I'm sad and happy. It's just a big ball of emotion."
Photo credit: A&E