Friday, September 20, 2013

I Have Become "That MoM!" {Well, almost!}

Well, it's been a LONG while since I've been here!  I'm sure many of you know where I've been, and others of you are thinking, "Will she ever blog again?"

You see almost 7 weeks ago I started on a journey that I never knew would turn into what it has!  I have become the Mama of a United States Marine Recruit!  {I don't dare call him a Marine ~ he hasn't earned that honor yet, and now that he is in boot camp, I understand more than ever why so many Marine's would be offended if I did!}

Many of you read this post, where I described Connor as my "warrior boy", and how I have grown into accepting that God created him with the heart of a warrior.  I thought I had been preparing myself for the day that he would go off to what we thought would be the Army, but instead has become the Marines...boy was I ever surprised by what God intended for me! 

You see, my plan was to help him pack his bags, wish him well and kick him out the door send him off!  Sure, I would write, but life would go on as usual and not having to pick up after him, worry about what time he would be home or where he was at any given moment of the day, or referee squabbles between him and his "annoying little brothers"  would be a welcomed relief!

And then he was gone!

I choked up at the Recruiting Office, but that was to be expected, right?  Then, I choked up as my husband described the swearing in ceremony and the "neck adjusting hug" our son gave him as they said, "Goodbye!"  Again, expected, right?

But then came the lack of sleep!  Nights that I had to let the dog out because Connor was not home for a late night potty run, left me writing letters to him at 3 in the morning!  One sleepless night would roll into another, and I was on the verge of tears every waking minute!

Day 3 arrived, the day we were to get the "scripted call!"  This is the call that your recruit announces in 10 seconds that he has arrived and that the next time you hear from him will be via US Postal mail in about 2-3 weeks, then an "I love you, goodbye!", then a "click"!  There is no opportunity to say a word to them!  I had carried my phone around all that day, having been prepared by a family friend that we would be receiving it!  I was paranoid all day that I would miss it!  As we were sitting down for dinner, the home phone rang...  {I had instructed Connor to call my cell phone, so I was not expecting it to be him, but answered it just in case!}

"Hello, this is Recruit Cook...I have arrived safely at MCRD San Diego..." 

My heart dropped to my stomach!  It was over before I could breathe!  I cried!

After that first call, my days became filled with the usual day to day goings on of a large family, but the in between moments became filled with thoughts, letters, web searching, even Facebook!  {Not your usual Facebook, mind you, but the Lima Co. "support group" page!} 

Fellow loved ones of recruits post segments of their letters:

"He says to send protein bars!" 
"My son is really depressed!"
"My son loves this!"
"The platoon was IT'd and spent hours in the pit covered in sand!"
"My son broke his leg!"
"I am now my boyfriend's fiancé!"
"I received a letter today..."
"I haven't received a letter in 21 days..."
"Post your son's name."
"Don't post your son's name."

Not to mention if a photo gets posted...Look Out! Oh, how I begin to scan and exam each face to see if I recognize my son! {Trust me, it's not easy! I actually could swear that in one photo I see Connor, but another woman on the "Lima Page" mentions that it's her recruit as well!}

And forget about when the mailman drives's always a race to see if there's a handwritten envelope in the mailbox!

Honestly, I have always been proud to be an American, and supporter of our troops!  But, not to the level that I am now!  It never occurred to me that the letters that some of these boys {and girls - if they are training at Parris Island} receive, may be the only encouragement they will hear.  One simple letter may be just the thing that gets them through their next challenge!  And, if this is the case, then what about the men and women who are "out there" serving in active duty?

Through this journey, I have learned to fully lean into the One that holds my life, and I trust is carrying my son and his fellow platoon buddies through this intense training!

I have learned that I am not who I thought I was, and that God can use many different circumstances to refine us!

It's a long journey...

So, you haven't been seeing me here lately, and I can't promise you will see me much in the near future!  Frankly, if I'm going to spend my spare minutes writing, I want it to be to encourage my boy - or someone else's boy that "they can do this thing!"

Only 41 days to go!!!

Thanks for stopping by!  Be Refreshed!

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