An Outreach Program of MarineParents.com
A year ago today my DH and I drove our youngest son, Patrick, to the recruiter's office for his journey to PI. His ship date was 12/08/2013. Initially, he was to leave 02/2014. However, a spot opened up and the recruiter asked Patrick if he wanted to go ~ he said yes. So, instead of getting the 3 months I expected.. I had 4 days to wrap my head around the idea of him leaving (he received the call the Wednesday before the Sunday he was to go).
All of a sudden plans I was making for the holidays seemed so insignificant; worrying about where to go for Christmas, the amount of driving that we would have to do, what give to get my mom so that she could later exchange didn't seem as important. My son, the youngest of my three sons, was going to boot camp.
I thought I was ready; I thought I knew what I needed to know. I thought it would be similar to when I took Jeff and Phillip to college. I was so wrong! That's why I am so grateful to Marine Family Network for getting me through it. Without them giving me the information I would need, I would have been a blubbering mess by the end of the 13 weeks.
Since Patrick would be away during the Christmas holiday, I erringly thought surely I would be allowed to send something special for Christmas. Nope. Just a card ~ in a white envelope ~ was all I could send. I was devastated. I had images of sending cookies for Patrick and his platoon; perhaps wrapped in red cellophane paper? Perhaps in a decorative holiday tin? Very quickly that image crumbled away. But I did find something I could send him...I sent prayers; lots and lots of prayers. In fact, whenever I would think of him, I made it a practice to ask the Good Lord to look after my son, his platoon and the drill instructors.
The holidays are difficult for the loved ones of boot camp recruits. I totally understand how they feel. In fact, last year we didn't even purchase a Christmas tree. I had left arm bicep/shoulder surgery and was stuck in a sling for four weeks. Whatever decorations I was able to set up prior to my surgery would be it. But more importantly, I just didn't 'feel' a tree would be necessary. Why go through hanging all those hand made ornaments and other ornaments that would bring on a flood of memories then tears?