Monday, August 29, 2011

I ♥ the mail carrier!

What a wonderful thing is the mail,
 capable of conveying across continents 
a warm human hand-clasp.  
~Author Unknown
The Navy teaches you things, lots of things~ 
like an appreciation for the U.S. Postal Service. 
In these days of instant communication, the thought of waiting
for a letter seems rather quaint, but when a loved-one
is in boot camp, letters become golden.
So far I've gotten two~ the form letter
and a nice 3 page letter last Friday.
It was so good to "hear" my son's "voice",
to see his new "military handwriting".
He is doing well and says parts of boot camp
are FUN!! And some parts suck.
He has made some friends and is learning
to deal with sleep deprivation.
He misses us.
Today he started his 4th week and graduation
on 9/30 doesn't seem so far away anymore! 
I am so proud of him. He is working hard
to become a Sailor, but...
he is still my boy, my sweet son who remembers
that his mom likes to know where her babies sleep.
So, this made my day. 

Monday, August 22, 2011

waiting game...

A week ago I got my son's form letter from boot camp. I was delighted to read the lines he wrote...

He's okay! Likes the food! Misses his girlfriend and dog 
and still has his sense of humor!! 
Best of all the first line~ "I'm doing good."
Oh, joy!!! My mother-heart was filled with gratitude! 

Now a week has passed... a long, quiet week. Today my SR started
week three of boot camp. Hopefully his division is working together. 
This is how they earn phone calls and the privilege to write 
and receive letters (of which he should have a lot waiting for him!). 
In the Navy, no news is good news. I know better than to expect 
any communication this soon. It will be at least 3 weeks... 
no sooner. 

So, I am in the doldrums... the still, quiet time of waiting. 
I am staying busy and thinking the best.
I hope and pray that my son's division is smart and strong.
I hope I hear his voice soon... or open my mailbox
to a sweet surprise. I hope my son has made some friends
and is learning and feels he has made the right decision.
Mostly I  hope that he knows he is loved and supported.
Press on, son. Press on. 

Friday, August 12, 2011

the box...

When your child departs for Navy boot camp you understand
that communication will be extremely limited. The night of arrival
 there is a 30 second call to say "I'm here." 
The recruits basically read from a script for that call.
It is hurried and succinct, but the few words
 you hear are like gold. "I love you" never sounded sweeter.

Then follows the wait for the dreaded "kid in a box". 
My son arrived in Great Lakes this past Monday and "the Box"
arrived on our doorstep on Thursday. In my continuing effort
to "man up" and face this Navy thing square in the face,
I opened the box. Inside were the clothes and shoes my son
left home in, along with his boarding pass and a few other 
papers. That cardboard box really makes this Navy thing real.
My son is there, in Great Lakes, wearing Navy issued clothes
and shoes... he is gone! Cue the violins,,, but wait! What's that?
There on the box flap is a message... a few words that lit my face
with a grin that has accompanied me for 2 days! 
"This is already too easy! Love y'all!" 
After 5 days does he still think that? ;) Did he write it to
soothe his mom's troubled heart? All I know is that
it made me remember that this is his dream, his life
and I would be a fool to be sad. 
Yes, I miss him... so very much! 
But I am glad for him. And so proud of his choice to serve.
I am so grateful for the gift of those scrawled words.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

signed, sealed and delivered...

No, I was not as sad as I look in this photo, I promise!!

Yesterday was the big day. My son did his final swearing-in
and boarded the plane to Great Lakes. 
He was able to text me and even called from the airport.
And then at 12:32 I got "the 3 second" call.
He sounded strong, wide-awake (I'll bet!) 
and the teeniest bit nervous. I said a few encouraging words
and told him we love him and that was that.
Mostly I am relieved that he is there safe and sound.
I know he can handle boot camp. 
Yes, I miss him terribly, but I am refusing to give over
to sorrow when there is so much to be grateful for! 
This is what he wants to do! Qualifying for Nuke School
is an accomplishment in itself. I am so happy for him 
and I have confidence in the US Navy. 
This is what they do~ they take boys and girls
and make them men and women and United States Sailors.
It is an honor and privilege to serve.
Today begins the wait for "the box" containing
his clothes, the form letter where we can write him
and the next call (in 3 weeks hopefully) and the first letter.
If he can do boot camp, I can do Navy mom!
Having the support of  loving family and friends,
the amazing US Navy family and a strong faith
comforts me and reminds me to focus on the good.
So~ I give the Navy my precious son with confidence
and gratitude and a fervent prayer that these 
8 weeks go swiftly and without complications. 
HOOYAH! Go Navy! 

Thursday, August 4, 2011

3 days...

Look at  that smile! That's my sailor-to-be at the helm
of a cruise ship way back in the day. 
Actually, wasn't that yesterday?

He leaves for his recruiter's office Sunday afternoon
then on to Great Lakes for boot camp.
He is 18.
I tell you, there is no way  to explain this letting go.
The military is not like college. It is grown-up stuff
 and there is little margin for error. 
I think of this sweet boy and how quickly
he must become a man and my 
mother-heart aches. 
But this is an opportunity for him to shine,
to meet the world head-on and 
get busy with the business of life.

I will let him go in a few days. I will fold my sorrow
like a secret and slip it deep in a pocket.
This is what a mother does
and strives to do so with grace. 
Godspeed son. 
I love you.

Monday, August 1, 2011

up, up and away...

At this time next week my son will be at MEPS
doing his final swearing-in. We will send him off
with love, prayers and encouragement! 
Today I am mostly excited, ready for his
great adventure to begin! 
I keep thinking about how important it is 
to have the right attitude. I want my son to go
forth with confidence and determination. 
I can ask no less of myself! I want to focus
on the positive and radiate peace as I support
my son and learn to navigate my new life
with a less full nest. It's all good.