No witty headline necessary. Around lunchtime, just after I blew off a telemarketer, my phone rang. I was this close to letting it ring but had a split second thought that it could be him. I was shocked to see that it was.
It was a brief co conversation. Painfully so. He just said he couldn't talk long and that he was supposed to tell me he was at Benning and that he was ok. Then he said he dreaded words, "it's going to be a while before you hear from me again."
It was great to hear his voice but honestly it's also tortuous. We miss him so much and now we know it'll be weeks before we can talk to him again.
He was happy to hear we got his letters and happy to hear that I am saving some up to mail. And that is all I can to right now - write letters that can't even be mailed. So that's what I'll do. But I don't have to like it!
Wow, everything I expected has been wrong so far. I was waiting for a phone call and instead two letters arrived today. I am out of town, which made it more emotional I think. It was very hard not to be able to see or touch the letters. My husband read them to me and I could tell he was crying. I was bawling at a few points.
To summarize, he is doing well! He said he swings between "wtf am I doing here?" and "how bad ass it is." He says he misses us very much. Of course that's good to hear but it makes me cry because I miss him so much. He wrote a bit to each person, which was very touching.
He is not actually in Basic yet, but waiting in Reception. He said he likes the people and that they get very little sleep. And he let us know that he's gotten a few shots, including "the one in the ass."
We can't send letters yet but he asked us to write letters and save them to send later. I'm happy to say there's a few already written and definitely more in the works.
His sense of humor, his strength and his love for us all came through loud and clear in the letters. I miss him more than ever but we are SO proud of him!
That's the standard recommendation for parents of kids at OSUT. I think it's good advice and mostly a healthy way to deal with any major emotional upheaval or change. But I also think you have to be careful not to stuff your feelings. I find that if I am really distracted for a while, sometimes a song or thought can really come crashing in on my faux calm. Today that moment was when I was hurriedly grabbing stuff from my bathroom counter and suddenly noticed his picture. It's a searing intrusion of reality. He is not here. When he took that picture, his senior year was just starting. June 2013 was really far away. And now here we are. June 2013 is barreling to a close. July looms. And he is in Georgia. Not only that, but he's already been there a week. And I still think 'oh yeah, he's in Georgia.' I wonder how long that will last.
And for the record, I am not getting used to it and I don't like it. In fact, I propose that the Army reverse years of tradition and allow their new recruits to call their mothers every day. Perhaps I should start a Facebook campaign? Insert cute winky emoticon here.]
This pictures doesn't do Florence justice.
The concert was one of the best.
Turns out it's a Jimmy Hendrix quote. And no, I don't think it's sacrilegious to say it. I figured it might sound that way, but today it hit me, on a run of course, that when it comes down to it, I believe God put music in my life to save me. Music helps me survive. It pulls me out of grief and it makes the happy times even more joyous.
So, of course it's not a surprise that my moods and my music are all over the map since he left for OSUT. Thankfully, I have succeeded in at least one of my parenting goals. I wanted my kids to love music and to share it with them. They do and we do.
When he was little, we went through a country music phase and he knew all the words to Alan Jackson's 'Gone Country' and Toby Keith's 'Beer for My Horses.' Well that was short-lived, but there's been so much good music in our lives since then. When he was in high school, sometimes the tables turned and he got me to listen to and love songs that I probably would've never paid attention to otherwise. For instance, before his cross country meets, he used to listen to Eminem. Now there's quite a few Eminem songs on my playlist, along with Florence and the Machine, Disturbed, and Daft Punk. I in turn tortured him with J Lo, Bruno Mars and Pit Bull when I started going to Zumba classes.
So, as I wait, it is music that I turn to. Sometimes I know I will hear a song and cry and that it will be good for me because I will be able to cry and get on with my day. Other times, I listen to stuff that I know he likes and it cheers me up. It doesn't always make sense. The lyrics in this song don't really speak to me, but the mournful sound of Boy George's voice pretty much mirrors my feelings right now. There's been no tragedy here. My son is simply growing up and moving forward and I sit with a weird mix of emotions and when I listen to this song it is soothing.
I don't know if he will ever read this, but if so, this one is for you!
Today I am really thankful for friends who have dropped me an email or sent texts with nice notes saying they are thinking of us or praying for him or both. It really means a lot to me that people take the time to do this and it really does make it easier.
A Soldier's Mom
This is a journal about my experiences as a soldier's Mom. My son gradated OSUT at Fort Benning in October 2013. He is currently stationed at Fort Carson, CO.