Our son signed up to become a Marine, at the beginning of his senior year of high school, through their early enlistment program, which means we've had almost a full year to prepare for Glen's departure – although it seems like yesterday I grounded him until boot camp.
And we played out each day, with a little more reverence for military families, while trying to better understand and appreciate our son's life-long dream of serving in the military was going to happen, whether WE were ready or not.
Still. I personally found myself feeling greedy and becoming even a bit needy – asking him to help me with the food shopping, or convincing him...why, YES!!!...I would feel MUCH better, if he would join me in an early evening walk...growing greedier and needier, every step of the way.
On the day he shipped out, the six of us set our alarms for 3:00 a.m. and spent the next 90 minutes waiting for Glen's recruiter to arrive at the house – it was one of the worst and best mornings of my life.
The girls and I sat around the kitchen table, all bleary-eyed from cry-laughing, while Glen and his Dad tested each other's endurance for dead arm punches and purple nurples, because boyzzzzzz will be boyzzzzzz.
The girls suggested we go to the beach to watch the sun rise, in an attempt to distract us from all the, well, you know.
If you were to ask me to describe what it was like watching Glen walk out the front door...knowing we wouldn't be able to see or speak with him...I mean, no phone calls, no emails, no Skype, no texts...nothing more than an occasional snail mail...for the next 13 weeks...well, it's sort of like me asking you to hold your breath...for as long as you can...and then punching you in the gut.
Every day, my husband lets me be the first to check the mailbox, hoping TODAY will be the day we hear from Glen – nope.
It's been 12 days and, although we've received word from his DI (drill instructor) that he's doing fine, no letter from Glen, but it's okay, he's sort of busy, I guess.
My husband and I have joined a couple of Facebook groups in support of parents and family members who have recruits attending the same boot camp as Glen. Here's the really cool part – every week, the parents attending boot camp graduation take photos of other recruits training around the camp and, as a courtesy to new military parents, post these photos to the Facebook group, hoping we'll catch a glimpse of our recruit, with captions like, "Find Your Waldo!" and "More Waldos!
We've found four additional sightings, this week!!! And we'll probably continue spending every evening, scrolling through thousands of photos, and texting each other...this sort of looks like him, yes?!?...for the next 11 weeks...and then it'll be OUR turn to pay it forward and help other parents find their Waldos...because that's what you do for family...besides, what's another kid or eleventy-hundred, right?!?!