I’m beyond ready for an update! How about you?
In March when Katie passed away, I kinda lost interest in a lot of things. I was sad and frustrated and overwhelmed. Then, almost immediately thereafter, I had my hands full of “life” and then we adopted a puppy. We’re nuts. And we know it.
We brought little Cali aka CaliFlower into our lives. She was so stinking cute. Sadly, I need to refer to her in the past tense because she had a neurological disorder which caused her to loose her sight and control of her bodily functions without warning…basically overnight.
Bottom line…he’s fantastic! Scooby has brought an amazing amount of joy to our home! While I didn’t think we were up for it, I am so grateful to have him in our lives. Even Tanner is a fan. 😉 This well-mannered dog wouldn’t be nearly as well-mannered without the doggie boot camp he was challenged to by My Personal Dog Trainer. Jaime Juda may as well be a dog whisperer. She has a smart approach to working with dogs and making your dogs happier at home. We are happier because of her too! Thank you Jaime!!
It was around this time that our son let us know that he had decided to join the United States Marine Corps. I didn’t know what to think. He was preparing to graduate from High School. While I knew he wasn’t overly interested in heading off to college, I really thought he would take the community college route for a couple years before deciding what was next. Nope. He was serious. And so we went to meet the Sergeant and see what this was all about. The positives? He was a straight shooter who didn’t mislead me at any point in time. The negatives? He wanted to take my baby boy and turn him into a Marine!!! And ultimately that’s what they’ve done! I’ll fill in some gaps in future posts, but that’s the recap version…
Michael did graduate from High School and about 45 days later he shipped out to boot camp. So let me tell you a little bit about shipping out from MEPS Chicago. I hope this is helpful to other Poolee Parents who may Google things like “Shipping out to USMC boot camp” and “What to expect when your son is shipping out to MCRD San Diego”. Now that my son has completed that process, I think I can give a snapshot of how this works without putting anyone’s safety in jeopardy.
Our son visited MEPS a handful of times before his official ship date. He was questioned and questioned again. He was cleared by Medical. And he took his initial oath about a month before he shipped out.
Stay in touch with your Poolee’s recruiter. If you’re out of RSS Aurora, I feel comfortable saying you’re all in excellent hands and they know their business. If you’re out of another Substation, they’re probably good too (as Marines are always the best of the best), but I am just partial to our recruiters. Anyhow, the recruiters are loaded with information. Get involved. Meet the other parents. Ask questions. This is a family affair. So, the night before ship date my son and his fellow Poolees slept overnight at a hotel near MEPS. We were able to eat dinner together which was really nice. That was a surprise to us, so we were grateful for the extra time together. The morning of his ship date, we showed up at MEPS and what I didn’t know is that this is a four+ hour affair. We only spent about an hour with our son, so the rest of the time was our first taste of “hurry up and wait”. We said our goodbyes as they got into the vans – DON’T FOLLOW THE VANS – and they were off. I was kinda lost for a while there. When your only child heads off to Marine Corps boot camp, I can tell you from my experience that you may feel empty. Sad. Overwhelmed. But thankfully that will subside. Particularly as you start to feel pride for the brave and selfless choice your child has made.
Our son’s plane was delayed a bit due to the weather, but he had food vouchers, some cash and plenty of other Poolees to kill time with. He was fine. He called us in the middle of the night. I was wide awake waiting for the call. My husband was not. So I answered the line, put the cell phone on speaker and then said hello. In just a few short seconds, our son had read the official USMC “I have arrived safely” script to us, I yelled that I loved him and that was our last phone call for over ten weeks.
We exchanged letters (which are very slow) and I sent things like gallon sized ziplock bags – one at a time – so he could store his letters, the dirt from the Reaper, etc. We had one more call – midday about travel. But thankfully I had told him all about our travel plans in a letter so he used that to his advantage and filled me in on other things. It was a very welcome surprise!
We traveled to MCRD San Diego for Michael’s graduation which consisted of a meet and greet dinner with his Senior Drill Instructor, Family Day which was about five hours of catching up with our now United States Marine and finally the graduation ceremony on the last day when we were able to scoop up our “kid” and bring him home for a little vacation before more training. Our son completed his “vacation” and was approved for Recruiter Assistance (RA) so he was able to stay home a little longer. RA has kept him busy and responsible. I’m glad he had the opportunity and I’m glad we had him home for a little while longer. Grateful is a better choice of words.