Well, I know, "hate" is a potent word. But coupled with the word "love" might suggest some hidden deep dark emotion, as we say in the counseling world. You know love-hate relationships. All of us experience this psychological oxymoron, if you will, at least once in our lifetimes, whether we ever admit it or not. In my case, I just never thought it would be with people whom I've never met.
"People." Hmmm. Sometimes I've wondered if they are truly of the human race. I mean, maybe they are Super Heroes! Indeed. That's the category I'm leaving them in. Them? You know to whom I'm referring to, right? USMC Recruit Training SDIs (Senior Drill Instructors) and their sidekicks... DIs (Drill Instructors). Kill Hat. Heavy Hat, etc.. Even their names ignite ((fear)) and ((trembling)) to your very soul!
Yet, who else could yell & scream orders 24/7 and make perfect sense (well, mostly)? Dance and choreograph steps that could win awards and make Recruits cry with either nervous laughter or mostly involuntary tears? Spit farther, jump higher, leap what seems like buildings, then shake rattle & roll 90 well able-bodied YOUNG men into shape, all in one single moment in time? Alas, then continue to don the "stage" effortlessly, seamlessly for three solid months? Certainly, not EVEN the above average human. ((Super-Heroes, I tell you!))
There is no "mean" (i.e., average) for them, except being Mean, Lean, Marine Machines. They own THE category; they are The Few of The Few. The are the crème de la crème of any military branch of service. ONLY about 600 serving this particular volunteer billet. Yes, VOLUNTEER!
They are far from being God. But I think in so many ways, that's who they represent to our young men. Though there are times, I'm certain the Recruits think their DIs are the devil himself.
Certainly, these men of valor could have found an occupation that brought them more money and prestige; yet, not the reward of knowing, come the end of the day, that they were transforming lives.
I have endeavored to remember and take comfort from the promise they made to my son on that first encounter,
United States Marine Corps Drill Instructor Creed
"These recruits are entrusted to my care. I will train them to the best of my ability. I will develop them into smartly disciplined, physically fit, basically trained marines, thoroughly indoctrinated in love of the Corps and country. I will demand of them and demonstrate by my own example, the highest standards of personal conduct, morality and professional skill."
Still, at times, I find myself wavering on the matter. One minute, I'm fighting them. The next, I'm sweetly acquiescing to them, to do their best at redefining who my son is for the cause and love of the Corps.
Truthfully, I guess, I never "hated" them; I just didn't understand them. How could I? After all, I grew up in a minister's family, with only a few threads of military woven through. Then again, maybe there are some similarities there. Ha! You know, Hell, Fire, And Damnation sermons my daddy preached many a time in his tent meetings as an evangelist, back in the day, long before I was even thought of. Now that I AM thinking about it, he kind of looked and acted like a Senior Drill Instructor! Oh my. He certainly had a platoon of "recruits" ~ his audience, congregation, for sure. Hmmm, I think I remember seeing some of them shakin n rattlin, n rollin' in their shoes as well.
And, of course, we have GySgt Carter and Pvt Gomer Pyle as our guides. Ha! Let's not add insult to injury here. I admit, today I watched one of those episodes on YouTube! I must say, the brevity was therapy for this Marine-Mom-In-The-Making!
Moving right along...
In conclusion, I've grown to love these men whom I have entrusted my Recruit. To respect them. To embrace who they are in his life and mine. The essence of Semper Fi. To believe that they have my son's best interest at heart. They do have heart, don't they? Ah, yes! I think I hear those hearts beating now, for the purpose of what they love and have invested their lives in... The United States Marine Corps!
What more could I ask?
To shake their hands and say, "Thanks for pouring/poring yourselves into 'making' and growing my son into a young man, and an honorable United States Marine!"
Ummm, oh, yeah, and maybe, "Sir, might my Recruit...my New Marine, make a phone call come Liberty Sunday, after The Crucible? PLEEEAZZZE!?" ♥s
*UPDATE: I didn't get that one Liberty call. I got THREE! My son survived and graduated and is a proud United States Marine, giving most of the credit to God, his SDI, and DIs. As for myself....I will forever be thankful for the time, energy, and dedication they provided in helping him, but also helping ME to become a United States Marine... M.o.M.! ~Semper Fi~