This was supposed to be a Throw Back Thursday but I have had the WORST of laptop issues any blogger can imagine. Combine that with a side of depression and grieving, toss in a summer cold and you have one heck of a “bowl of soup” that no one wants. Not even me.
Since I’m having laptop problems I’m trying to get my mass of photos moved from the laptop into online storage and an external drive. While doing so, I’m walking down memory lane.
August 28th, almost 1 year ago this very day. My sister was on her way home from the hospital for the 2nd time in a matter of weeks. On July 25th, she had a series of 5 strokes.
Oh how I wish I knew then what I know now. That we would lose her not even a full year from that day.
My dear sister, Theresa went home to Heaven on June 1st, 2014. We laid her to rest beside our Mom and said our final earthly good-byes on June 5th, also my birthday.
My heart hurts, a very deep hurt every day. Physically missing my Momma and sister SO much.
Back to my original post here. Must stay on topic here.
Almost a year ago, September 3rd, 2013 my son left for Basic Combat Training (BCT) and AIT, which was done back to back, also called OSUT (One Station Unit Training). At 1PM CST on September 4th, 2013 he was headed to Ft. Leonard Wood where he would meet his Drill Sergent’s, battle buddies, stay in reception, undergo shark attack and so on.
I’m STILL looking for the memo that says, “Yo, Mom you’re headed to BCT also!” Daily stalking of the mail carrier. Almost constantly writing letters.
The begining I think had to be the hardest. You see, I write this not just for me, or for our readers but I’m also a member of a few Facebooks groups that virtually held my hand as I walked this journey, distanced from my child. Not being able what I’m supposed to do. Be a mom! And I’ll link them to this post. There are a lot of new members that have a lot of questions and feel the same as I did. (proof I am normal and everything I felt wasn’t actually me fall off the ledge of all things sane)
On September 9th, I FINALLY got my very first letter from my son. My Soldier in training at that point. No return address.
WHAT?! Ok, I can handle this no return address thing. Shouldn’t be too much longer. It felt like forever!
He was in reception, meaning he hadn’t been assigned to a company, unit or platoon at that point. They are getting their gear, waiting for “new arrivals” to fill the units to the platoons. They’re already learning the very start of team work and working together. To sum that up in a nutshell, they pretty much stink by the end of the week as showering is limited and team work is applied … now this is how it went for my son.
Every Soldier will have a different experience as will his/her family.
The up’s and downs for my son and for me … well, bluntly there just are no words unless you walk that mile. Do you feel like you’re crazy because no one gets it? Ok just checking, ’cause if so that means you have a loved one in the Military. 🙂
On September 11th, 2013 is when I got that very first phone call. Whew, it was a tough one. It was SHORT, and there was no room for speaking to each other. It went a little something like this:
“Hi Mom, I have arrived at Ft. Leonard Wood safely, I’ll be starting intense training and my time will be very limited. I will be in touch soon with more information and my address. I love you.”
Insert bawling here. A lot of it. A grown woman throwing a bawling tantrum.
I heard his voice, over analyzed every breath he took.
I knew then he had gone through shark attack and it was the start of “Hell Week”, he sounded stressed. You see, as I over analyzed everything I also searched and posted in the Ft. Leonard Wood family groups, meant for families of those who have a Soldier in training. Google had become my best friend. It held much information about what my son was going through as he was just 2 and a half hours away.
Sept. 12th, another letter. This one was upbeat he had been to the PX on base, thought it was awesome, was ready to send home gifts, talked about how cool it was to meet battle buddies from all over, the different ethnic backgrounds was amazing.
FINALLY on Sept. 16th, I got (what had to be the longest wait EVER) his address! With all thanks going to the Family Groups I also had found a photo of him during training. Triple skip in this gals walk that day. Downside of having gotten his address was that He wrote out a scripted letter as if they were telling him what to write, he slipped in an “I love you so much -n- miss you”, as well as a round about time when to expect his phone call(s).
Here is one of the 1st photos I found of my son during his training.
Then it began. The hunt for my Soldier in training. It may sound crazy, but I’m here to tell you that when dressed in ACU’s (camoflauge), in gear and safety glasses they ALL look alike! I’d find a photo and ask my husband and daughter “Hey, you think this is him?” we had several laughs with conversations consisting of the following:
No Mom, that can’t be him, that Soldier has boobs!
No honey, that Soldier isn’t white.
No, that Soldier is wearing glasses.
No, that Soldier has the wrong shaped nose.
As you can see, it gets harder and harder to play this twisted, emotional knock off game of “Where’s Waldo” …. it’s called, “Is That My Soldier”?!
By now, my tear ducts had dehydrated. Yes! It’s possible. That’s when you have cried yourself out of tears and only snot will come out of your nose. But don’t worry, as you make these attempts of dehydrated crying the snot goes away too! So hey, there’s an upside. No more gunk flowing from every orifice in your face.
Yes, if you’re counting we are “only” about 18 days into this journey. Ohhh, but what I learned. How others helped me find photos and information, that is priceless.
Phone calls were few and far between. If one Soldier does something wrong or out of line, everyone takes the fall, privileges are lost for everyone. Privileges are also earned. Nothing is given.
There are ups and downs, sometimes injuries that vary in degree from minor to who knows what. I don’t say this to scare anyone but to show how much EVERYTHING varies from person to person.
My son, a healthy young man ended up having dental work done and knee problems and some other issues that came up. The emotions are a whirlwind. You want your “kid” home, safe but you don’t want him (or her) to quit to give up. Some make it through and Graduate, others aren’t able to for one reason or another. Some change their minds and that’s that. Their long journey into RHU (return home unit) begins. Some have underlying health issues or can end up with an injury during training. Hey, no one wakes up and says, “today, I will injure my ankle”. Be it in training or at home.
This is my son. My Soldier. The very moment that he was pinned as a United States Soldier. This was taken during the very moving Graduation Ceremony. As each Soldier Graduating approached the stage, they shouted their last name and state … I get goosebumps remembering and then they are pinned.
If there is more interest in my posts about my son and our family’s experience with his journey I’ll be more than happy to write more and share more photos. But hey, I may do it anyway.
Please, enjoy this moment with me from December 17th, 2013 at Ft. Leonard Wood, MO.