;

Letters from Boot Camp

Jul
22


I didn’t expect to get much in the way of letters from Ross. He wasn’t a letter writer before he went to boot camp. In fact, I’ve never gotten a letter from Ross in my life. Even when he was in Texas for the last six months before he came back here to get ready to leave for boot camp. I think he called three times. He emailed me another handful of times. (He’s not much of an emailer, either.)


There’s nothing like boot camp to make a boy love his mama. His letters are entertaining. Sometimes hilarious. Filled with hard details, few complaints, and an underscore of determination. They make a fascinating look into what real life inside real boot camp is really like. I’m so proud of him. And I love his letters! At first I was only writing him every other day, thinking he’d tire of constant letters. Now I write to him every single day, without fail. I tuck in with the letters various things that he’s allowed to have–a phone card (I’m ever hopeful!), stamps, extra envelopes, and various clippings–comic strips, newspaper articles, puzzles, and jokes.

I save all his letters. Carry them around in my purse. Read them over and over. I suspect that when boot camp is over and he has phone and internet access again, things will go back to how they were before, so I’m cherishing this boot camp time while I have it! It will probably be the only time in his life that Ross will want (and nearly beg for) letters from his mother every day. And even WRITE ME BACK.

Some selected highlights:


*
The day I got here, we came in around 2100 and they yelled and screamed and cussed us all night. We were all pretty much shell-shocked. The way they acted is kinda funny to me now. When we finally got to the compartment, it was 0430. They let us sleep for 5 minutes then got us up again.
*
I got so many shots, I lost count. I couldn’t sit down for three days after the butt shot.
*
I have been trying very hard to be invisible. The RDCs [Recruit Division Commanders] don’t know my name and I like it that way. They are mean, but I’m starting to see the purpose.
*
We can’t talk at any time for any reason and I’m starting to get really mad at people who won’t shut up and we have to pay for them with everyone else.
*
I hate boot camp.
*
My RDCs are mean, but it’s their job and I respect them.
*
I wish I could take a shower by myself for more than 2 minutes, have my cell phone, sleep in, have my truck, eat McDonald’s, and get a day off. I miss you.
*
Boot camp is stressful. It’s not like on TV. I mean it is, but on TV all they do is work out and do drills and train. They don’t show you that you have to take tests and prepare for inspections. We have to make our own time to study, like cutting into our 6 hours of sleep and eating with one hand and holding our book in the other. We get from 0700 to 1300 on Sundays to do what we want, but that’s also the only time we have to shine our boots and iron our clothes. I’ve been sneaking in writing after taps.
*
The first thing I want to do after boot camp is eat some good food.
*
We lost one guy because he punched another recruit. Two guys quit and one guy from the division across the hall deserted, just ran away in the middle of the night.
*
I can now make a flotation device out of a set of coveralls while I’m in the water and wearing them in about 3 seconds.
*
I hurt my foot but I haven’t told anyone because I’ll miss training so during the PFA I did 75 pushups in 2 minutes (only needed 46), 79 situps (only needed like 50) then I ran a mile and a half on one foot in 12:40.
*
I wish I could have windows I could see out of. The windows in our compartment have a white cover so they let light in but you can’t see out of them.
*
Mail call is the most exciting part of my day.
*
We just got told at 1400 we are all gonna get beat because one of the guys decided to sneak a cookie into his rack and got caught so now we all gotta pay for it. If we are lucky they’ll let us watch fireworks today, but the way this day has started, I doubt it.
*
We didn’t get to watch fireworks yesterday. We just marched.
*
I’ve decided I hate marching.
*
We’ve all been talking about back home. Everybody’s homesick. We have so much to study, we always have a book in our hands. Keep writing me. I’m always excited about mail. Most of the guys don’t get any and they’re always jealous.
*
I just did the math to see how much they’re paying me since I’m on the clock 24 hours a day and it’s roughly $1.80 per hour.
*
Did I tell you about my glasses? They’re huge, brown, square, and hurt my face. I can’t wait to get contacts again.
*
Everybody here is already just counting the days to graduation.
*
Write me back. I love getting letters so don’t be afraid to write me as much as you want.
*
I’m always tired and everyone is fighting sleep. Boot camp is getting better. The physical stuff doesn’t really bother me anymore. They can’t really hurt me now. I think the hardest part is getting homesick. There’s not a single person here who doesn’t want to go home.
*
Today they got us all at attention and were asking us questions. If you got one wrong, you had to do 8 count body builders. I got mine right and they still made me do it. Then they asked us to pick a number between 1 and 12 and of course you can never get that one right.
*
I can’t wait to see you at graduation.
*

The dates on his letters are always way, way behind from when I get them. This is the last 2 weeks worth of letters. I usually get a batch on Fridays–they can receive mail every day, but are only allowed to mail letters on Sundays. So tomorrow I will get more letters.

I love Fridays!!!!

P.S. I didn’t get back the questionnaire I sent him–but I know he got it because he answered all the questions in one of his letters. He wrote the answers down on a separate sheet of paper instead of sending back the questionnaire. I think….he wanted to keep it!!!

Update: See his Navy Boot Camp Graduation here and read the beginning of his Navy journey here.

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Posted by Suzanne McMinn on July 22, 2010  

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  1. 7-22
    1:25
    am

    This is amazing! I know you will always cherish these letters. I still have some from when my daughter was in college, and she’s now 40!! What are Wesley and Morgan doing with the rest of their summer?

  2. 7-22
    1:34
    am

    Sounds like the old saying “absence makes the heart grow fonder” is true for Ross. His letters bring back memories of when my DD was in Marine boot camp. I remember sending her a stick of gum in one of her letters. It didn’t take long for her to respond with “NEVER” do that again!!!!!!!

  3. 7-22
    1:44
    am

    My son was the same way; the only letters he’s ever written came from his time at boot camp, and they were amazing. I keep them to this day in their own special box.

  4. 7-22
    2:40
    am

    I have two sons in the Marine Corps. Reading what your son wrote brought tears to my eyes. I remember those days and believe me, it all pays off. When you see him on graduation day, wearing his uniform and standing straight and tall, you will not only be proud of him and his accomplishments, you will be proud of yourself for raising a member of the United States Military. Congratulations to both of you.

  5. 7-22
    5:43
    am

    OH HOW WONDERFUL!! You are a lucky blessed mom!!
    Hugs Granny Trace

  6. 7-22
    6:20
    am

    Thank you for sharing those with us. He would make any mom proud! My mom has a pile of letters her uncle wrote my grandparents in WWII. The are a treasure, just as Ross’ are. Ross is a good writer!

  7. 7-22
    6:26
    am

    Thank you for sharing, Suzanne, these precious letters. If I had the address, I’d write Ross AND everyone in his group! There should, and might, be a group for writing letters to our new military during Boot Camp. But maybe they wouldn’t have time to read a whole lot…sounds like they are all kept pretty busy!
    God bless Ross and God bless you.

  8. 7-22
    6:29
    am

    Like I said before, when I was in boot camp mail call was the most important part of the day. My advice? Write about even the most trivial things. Like picking 2 ripe tomatoes but one had a worm in it…I wrapped duct tape around my yellow mud boots but it works great… etc. You get the idea. You would be amazed at how the everyday things mean the most to him and he is learning this important lesson right now. And don’t be surprised if at graduation you barely recognize him. He’s a new man. God Bless and Protect our Soldiers!!!

  9. 7-22
    6:49
    am

    Wow, Suzanne. He sounds so mature and level headed. You have to be WAY proud of him.

  10. 7-22
    7:02
    am

    What an interesting glimpse into boot camp. Thanks for sharing, and you should definitely treasure those letters:)

  11. 7-22
    7:19
    am

    And you were worried you weren’t going to get letters! What a great man he is :sun2:

    “The first thing I want to do after boot camp is eat some good food.” I’m sure you’re taking a cooler of food so he has a choice of something to eat before getting on the next plane!

  12. 7-22
    7:21
    am

    Ross seems like such an honest kid, who really appreciates his Mom. There is no doubt about it, after an experience like this they are never the same…in a very positive way. I’m sure after boot camp they have a great appreciation for the simple things.

  13. 7-22
    7:28
    am

    Oh my gosh, memories! Yes, mail is so important, and he cherishes those letters! You (and he) will be so proud when he is standing on the paradeground at graduation, he is a fine young sailor, a fine young man, a fine young American. You are a special mom! Thank you! :sun:

  14. 7-22
    7:28
    am

    AWWWWW Mom! I bet he will be so glad when Boot Camp is done! I can just imagine the meals you will make him when he gets out of Boot Camp! A veritable feast!!! Bless his heart…hope the days whiz by and he’s home soon.

  15. 7-22
    7:39
    am

    Sitting here Boo Hooing again :) Keep writing Mama!

    I wrote all the time when my DH was in the Navy and gone. Loved those letters :)

  16. 7-22
    7:44
    am

    I had 2 got to boot camp. I remember those letters well and I still have them. Your post brought tears to my eyes as I currently have a son who will return to the middle east, Afghanistan in the fall. Boot camp will make a good son love his mama for sure.

  17. 7-22
    7:49
    am

    While I hate that Ross is stuck and boot camp and is understandably homesick, I LOVE his willingness to write often and am so glad you shared parts of his letters. They are so good! It must be a hereditary thing :)

    ‘Lucy’

  18. 7-22
    8:07
    am

    He is doing fine, and will be done soon! Keep writing him it is very important. You would be amazed at the kids who get no letters, or care boxes from home while deployed! SAD! Look for a Blue Star Group, Navy Mothers, or some kind of support group. You will be so happy that you did. Great way to get information. Good luck to the both of you.

    Love Army MOM

  19. 7-22
    8:12
    am

    what a wonderful man you have made!
    those letters are a treasure–thank you for sharing a little light into what men all over the country are doing for us
    i’m so proud of your son :)

  20. 7-22
    8:18
    am

    Well, he’s right on about the pay and the glasses. They’re definitely ugly. They’re intended to be, I think.
    Great to hear he’s doing so well!

  21. 7-22
    8:23
    am

    How sweet!

    The pay never gets that much better when you consider they’re on call 24/7 their whole military career.

    Oh well. :)

  22. 7-22
    8:38
    am

    Oh Suzanne,I can SO relate! My son is in his third week of Army basic and his first letter was awful, he was so down and homesick and the drill sargents sound ruthless, but his second letter sounded much better:D It sure is neat to get them too as my son had NEVER written me a letter before either, now he tells us he misses us, LOL!!!

  23. 7-22
    8:40
    am

    Thank you for shareing parts of your letters with us!!! Just being a parent myself it brought tears to my eyes. I know how proud you are of him. And that he is sticking with it even though its hard and dirty and he is home sick. How wonderful is it that he misses you and home. Shows that he knows he is loved and has a good home to miss.

  24. 7-22
    8:52
    am

    How proud you must be of him! I love the excerpts you included…very touching. And tomorrow is Friday again!

  25. 7-22
    8:53
    am

    You can honestly get to know by his letters. He sounds strong, but still misses his mama.

    My favorite line: “…don’t be afraid to write me as much as you want.”

  26. 7-22
    9:13
    am

    Thank you.

  27. 7-22
    9:20
    am

    It’s nice to hear about Ross,sounds like he’s making his way just fine!I cant help but wonder what is wrong with his foot,maybe it’s just stiff and sore or sprained. I know he would’nt want to have to start all over,just wants to finish boot camp and get outta there!I’m glad he likes writing and recieving letters!

  28. 7-22
    9:27
    am

    It sounds as thought boot camp hasn’t changed since I went in 1977. My dad wrote me every day. He sent clippings, comic strips, but most precious to me, he wrote about when he went through boot camp before WWII. He went to Great Lakes and it was really ardous. I have saved those letters – they are as precious. It was a great lesson for me, watching those kids who never got mail. I hadn’t realized how much I had in my family until then. Dad’s letters with the stories about his time in boot camp were passed around quite a bit. Today I am still friends with women from my company – almost 33 years later.
    Love love love reading about your son’s experience. You are a great mom, Suzanne.

  29. 7-22
    9:28
    am

    You bring back memories of my daughter’s boot camp days. I can’t wait to hear his stories of the final 24 hours! He will make it through just fine, and will be so proud of himself…and you of him. Aside from the “missing her” part, I loved being a Navy mom. It’s great watching your baby become a part of something so meaningful.

  30. 7-22
    9:32
    am

    Oh how precious!!! as a mom whos 17 year old son plans on joining this is great preparation for me :)Thank you for sharing…

  31. 7-22
    9:40
    am

    It makes me so sad that so many of the people in his recruit class aren’t getting letters. I may be an old lady but I can still write the heck out of a letter. Suzanne, you have access to my email addy through your comments. If you want to get my real info to pass on to your son to give to someone who needs a pen pal, please email me.

    By the way, my mom still has letters my grandfather wrote home when he was in boot camp before entering WWI (yes, WWI not II). He never had to go overseas because after boot camp someone got the measles or mumps so he was quarantined, so by the time he went through all of that the war was over. They’re amazing reading and I’m so glad his sister kept all his letters.

  32. 7-22
    9:45
    am

    One thing for sure…that boy loves his Momma! No doubt about it!

  33. 7-22
    9:47
    am

    Your previous post in this section was “a good mother.” Well, you have earned the right to title this post about bootcamp “A Good Mother, Too.” Yes, when our children are older, we take advantage of those windows of time when they want to communicate……. when they need us most. This post would have made your mother so proud. She can rest knowing what a good daughter/mother/person she raised.

    Beautiful!

  34. 7-22
    9:53
    am

    Suzanne,
    It was so interesting when my daughter was in bootcamp – we went down for graduation and they had some free time. All the soldiers went to the PX for hamburgers and to develop photos. Taking pictures was huge!

    I still have her letters. Beth – the old goat

  35. 7-22
    9:58
    am

    ‘gettin’ off the bus’ hasn’t changed in all these years!! :pirate: :devil2:

  36. 7-22
    10:11
    am

    None of this is foreign to me because I come from a military family. I think it’s kind of funny that my nephew joined the Marine Corp one day when he was really mad that there were too many rules at home. I often wondered how he felt at Boot Camp, since it’s such a day at the spa!lol He was too proud to ever say how good he had it at home, but he survived Boot Camp and probably is better off for it.

    I’m sure you are enjoying the letters. Graduation will be a proud time. :sun:

  37. 7-22
    10:38
    am

    Wow, that makes me proud just to know there are boys like him out there. Honestly, I hope my son never goes into the military because I don’t think I could take it.. Yeah, it’s all about me, but I said I was being honest! The letters make it a lot more worth it in my book.

    Please tell him that I appreciate what he is doing and am prouder to be an American because of it. I am sure I am not alone in that!

  38. 7-22
    10:38
    am

    thanks for the peek into what boot camp is like. I’m not a mom and don’t know anyone who has ever experienced it. I have seen the movie G I Jane though and if it’s anything like that ~ man, this is rough. It sounds as though he is doing really well though. I think he was well-prepared for all of this. from childhood on up ~ and that’s a tribute to his MOM: Suzanne. :yes: :yes: :yes:

  39. 7-22
    10:59
    am

    Dear Suzanne, loved this post. Makes me very proud to know someone like your son is there for the rest of us. If anyone knows where we could write to soldiers, please post. I’m a grandma too, but can still write a letter to try to make someone feel appreciated. We all have a great deal to be grateful for and your son is one of those many things. Thank you for raising such a fine young man. I am looking forward to hearing more about his experiences. Hang in there mama, your boy is making everyone very proud.

  40. 7-22
    11:18
    am

    I shared this post with my husband, who was also in the Navy. He really enjoyed it. He loved the humor, the seriousness and said times have really not changed. Our son was in the Navy, a Seabee.
    Hearing from home when overseas was the highlight of the day. To receive packages was great, too. Our Grandson is in the Army, he deploys to Iraq in September. Married and has a 5 month old daughter. Thank goodness for all the ways we have to keep in touch. Thank you Suzanne for sharing. Know it is still a hard time for all of you. Take care.

  41. 7-22
    11:31
    am

    What a wonderful son raised by a good mother, as the other poster said – ’tis true and you should be very proud of him and yourself.

    I too would love to write a letter to any soldier that doesn’t get mail – to let them know that we care and appreciate them for taking care of us and our country – so add me to the list if it ever comes to fruition. :)

    He is such a sweet boy and it is a testament to you that he misses you and the family so much. Nice job Mom.

  42. 7-22
    11:42
    am

    Entering each new step in life for us mothers is hard buth then the next step is always great too. So happy for you!!!! Blessings.

  43. 7-22
    11:44
    am

    Great….now I have tears in my eyes at work…I will be in your shoes next year as my “baby” will be enlisting. I know it’s good for him, but this is the child that I haven’t once wanted to send packing anywere.

    Smart boy you have there…I hope you get plenty of more letters tomarrow.

  44. 7-22
    12:32
    pm

    What a wonderful post! My son is in the Navy and has been now for 13 years. He is now off the coast of Africa patrolling for pirates (sounds strange for 2010)and although he is married and has children when he is deployed I still worry and miss him.

    When in boot camp my son ended up being in charge of the irons. I thought that was so funny. He had never ironed anything in his life, but took it so seriously and got really upset if they didn’t return them on time, etc. Even now he is the ironer in the house and Easter Sunday ironed both his little girl’s dresses for church!

    Ross’s letters would make a great book. Maybe he will become a writer too!

  45. 7-22
    12:44
    pm

    Ross’s letters are great; I can see why you enjoy them so much. It’s wonderful to have his letters to look forward to each Friday.

  46. 7-22
    1:13
    pm

    What a sweet son! Those letters are precious.

  47. 7-22
    2:44
    pm

    Just wait until you see him in his uniform!! I’m sure he will be in his best physical shape ever. I remember when my husband was in the service and especially Nam, I wrote him every single day. Sometimes I had to wait weeks and weeks and of course he wrote sporadically and I was always worried (sigh).

  48. 7-22
    3:03
    pm

    God Bless your boy and all the others there with him. They wii be men when they leave. That wretched place will be a life long memory!

  49. 7-22
    3:45
    pm

    Aww, that’s so sweet about him keeping the questionnaire! My husband’s in the army and they call those awful brown glasses BCGs. Short for birth control glasses. Because they’re just that ugly. :lol:

  50. 7-22
    10:30
    pm

    It is awesome that you get to know your son in a whole new way. There is so much more to the written word sometimes than spoken ones. He has wit; the comment about the guy running away in the middle of the night made me laugh out loud!

  51. 7-22
    11:57
    pm

    I saved all of my daughter’s letters from boot camp too. I found that she not only became much more openly loving and appreciative of her family while she was in boot camp, but that it LASTED! She’s still more thoughtful, more affectionate and stays in touch much better than pre-boot camp!

    I hope your son does as well…

  52. 7-23
    12:17
    am

    when i was ten, i was “issued” those glasses at the base dispensary. they were free, and i was blind (extreme myopia, really, that was the diagnosis).

    not that birth control was on my mind at ten – i was going to join the convent so i wouldn’t have to deal with “the monthlies” – for some reason, i thought nuns ere exempt, like some sort of neutral gender.

  53. 7-23
    12:44
    am

    Wow! This brings back memories! I was in boot camp in the early ’80s. I’m a female, and i really remember those glasses! We called them BCGs. (The military makes everything into initials, it seems.) BCGs is short for “Birth Control Glasses” ’cause any boy who was wearin’ ’em
    wasn’t gonna find a girl who would talk to ’em! =-) (And that’s the clean version!)

    And he’s not telling you everything! He’ll still have stories when he gets home!
    I know you miss him. And he misses you too.
    =-)

  54. 7-23
    9:05
    am

    Pure entertainment! I loved reading this post and I hope that Ross’ RDC’s NEVER do!

  55. 7-23
    11:01
    am

    How terribly sweet! :heart: Thank you for sharing parts of Ross’ letters.

  56. 7-23
    6:38
    pm

    My mom told me about how her youngest brother went into the navy as “a boy” and came back out “a man”; it was the best thing that ever happened to him.
    Of course, that was way back in the late 1950s.

  57. 7-23
    9:26
    pm

    Suzanne, What a wonderful son you have. You sharing this part of your lives has been very helpful to me. Although I cry each time I read about Ross and your experience with boot camp, it is helping me so much. My 18 yr old daughter joined recently. She has a ship date of 2-22-11, but we have been told that may change any day. I have been reading Navyformoms.com and getting alot of information from that, but reading what Ross is writing is more real to me. Thank you for sharing your son with me. It helps to know what to expect when Amanda goes. Thank you.

  58. 7-24
    12:11
    am

    His glasses are known as BCs or birth control because you look so bad in them no one would want to fool around with you.

    My dad hated his, I hated mine and your son his. Glad to see some things never change ;)

  59. 7-25
    7:54
    am

    Such a sweet boy, writing his mama!

    Boot camp is nasty here too, really hard. Its a test. They push them hard and not just physically. They try every way they can to get you to quit now. There’s no “good job”. No matter what you do, they will always find something wrong to punish you for. They want to know now if you are going to get discouraged and depressed and quit. You don’t hear a nice word from anyone for the whole time.

    Tell him not to get discouraged. Real navy life is not like that. Once you are out of boot camp and working, its much better. They do all they can to help you and strengthen you then. They work for you, not against you, once you’ve passed the boot camp test. That’s how its suppose to work, anyway.

    One more thing about boot camp philosophy (here in Canada)- There are two things you don’t do: 1) disrespect them, never laugh at them. 2) Break rules (They really don’t want rule breakers in the army). No matter how small or silly the rule is, you don’t break it, period. If they really don’t want you, they can make you quit.

    Neither of those things will be a problem with Ross. He’s such a good boy! Boot camp will make him stronger and more mature. He’ll be a man when you see him again!

    I have a very good girlfriend in the army. She’s an ammo tech. They took her at 40 years old!. Can you believe it!

    Sounds like he’s going to make it just fine, good attitude! Hang in there, Ross!

  60. 7-26
    3:09
    pm

    Gee, thanks for making me cry at work! :)

    As an army mom who has been through three deployments so far….you sharing the letters brought back memories. Keep sharing what you think are the most mundane parts of your days. It’s definately what he wants to read about. And what keeps him going during those long marches he hates.

    Thank you Ross for volunteering to do a job that is such a great service to our country.

  61. 7-26
    9:38
    pm

    I once was one of those RDC’s and yes everything they do is for a reason! It may not seem like it at the time, but attention to detail is everything because eventually, he will be responsible for other people’s lives. It will seem like it flew by when it is over, trust me! :sheepjump:

  62. 7-29
    10:26
    pm

    What wonderful letters.
    I wonder if he realizes that the reason the glass is covered is that on board a ship, there are NO windows. The occasional porthole, but on military ships, even those are few. They’re trying to get them used to not being able to look outside. Some people just can not handle not being outside or being able to see outside. This is another way to make sure someone is fit to serve in the Navy. It’s not a good thing to have a seaman flake out after a couple of months at sea because he never sees “outside”.

    And yeah, I remember arriving at Lackland Air Force base at 2100 hrs after a flight from FL. And yes, the TI’s do LOVE to shout. That was 37 years ago. Back then, our parents didn’t come to our graduations – at least not that I remember. So it is a nice thing that parents can now attend their graduations.

  63. 8-2
    12:19
    am

    My Husband graduated boot camp just about a year ago and his letters sound just like that!

  64. 11-24
    12:26
    pm

    Thank you for sharing you’re son’s journey into the U.S. Navy. Just so happens it was exactly 30 years ago today that I myself left for bootcamp in Great Lakes. Not many people I talk with today understand the significance of joining the military nor the feelings we have when discussing our experiences, especially the very first and most profound experience; bootcamp. Your web brought back many wonderful and some sad memories but today I can look back and be proud of what I started 30 years ago on this day, and also be just as proud of the tradition that continues on with Ross and his service in the best branch of the armed forces, the United States Navy. Hooyah Ross!

  65. 2-28
    2:11
    pm

    My son is currently in Army Bootcamp at Fort Jackson, SC. Oh my goodness, how I miss him.

  66. 3-12
    11:57
    pm

    I know this is an older post but I just had to comment. It brought back tears of pride from making me think about my baby brother graduating from boot camp on Paris Island.

    I agree getting the letters from them was a insightful look into the real world of boot camp.

    Tell your son from one vet family to another thank you for serving.

  67. 3-19
    4:40
    pm

    My oldest son also served in the U.S.Navy. He left home for R.T.C. on 9-25-11, 14 days after 9/11. I was TOALLY in shock. My son was still a high school boy, pretty unaware of our country’s situation. I questioned the Good Lord, “WHY”, “WHY NOW?”(in such turbulent times in America!). I was numb for him & I was scared! I prayed harder than I’d ever prayed.

    I received letters from bootcamp too, I have them still in a rubberband in a plastic box. I’ve re-read them & I too, cherish these letters. It was like he needed me, again. I bought everything he asked for; hunted it down, if necessary -packed it up & shipped it from the post office & felt some good in doing so. I really knew I couldn’t do “enough” for him. I felt a huge void inside me. I still felt numb.

    I flew to Illinois & found the Navy Lodge. Snow was on the ground when we arrived. The next day I attended his Bootcamp Graduation, what a proud event! He made a run towards me as soon as the whistle blew! The boy was starving!! He looked hollow & hungry. Right after the ceremony we took him out for food where he had 2 or 3 BIG meals in one afternoon. We took him to Gurney (Big Mall) to eat & walk around & see “normal” stuff that a boy wants to see. When he called to say how well he’d done after “A” school in Dam Neck, VA (Yes, he wanted to be a Navy SEAL), he said “Mom, I ranked #2 in the class, the #1 kid wants a place in California, but I don’t want to go there, so…how about Jacksonville, FL?” (This boy still needed a G.P.S. way back then to find his way home from school). I said “TAKE IT!” He was like…yeah? I’m like …. YEAH! It’s the closest you’ll get to home! Home for us is 2.5hrs southeast of Jax. So, he did.

    Into the first part of my son’s deployment…

    Oh, in all my praying, I had finally came before the Lord in prayer & I vowed to *never* take him back from the foot of the cross again. I know God loves my son, even more than I do & by recognizing that, I honored God – that He would bring him home safely to family – as I had asked. What a mighty God I serve!
    September 2005 he completed his 4 years abooard a Navy Destroyer. I was there every time that ship came in. I couldn’t wait to see him.

    So, to all mothers out there who have a son or daughter in the military, know there are other moms like you – who need support just like you – in our time of questions – questioning ourselves as mother’s & feeling alone. You can visit NavyMomsOnline. I don’t have the link (exactly), but you can join & receive so much information & support you will not feel so abandoned by the changes that have taken place. I wish you the best of outcomes for you & your families. May God bless you all.

    Brenda – Ocala, FL

  68. 3-22
    3:33
    pm

    LOL!!! love this post, thank you for it! Not sure how I came across it, I think I googled for images of “boot camp glasses” and the letter photo from above was one of the pics… haha. My son is in Boot Camp right now and I belly-laughed at your letter excerpts. God Bless!

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The Slanted Little House

"It was a cold wintry day when I brought my children to live in rural West Virginia. The farmhouse was one hundred years old, there was already snow on the ground, and the heat was sparse-—as was the insulation. The floors weren’t even, either. My then-twelve-year-old son walked in the door and said, “You’ve brought us to this slanted little house to die." Keep reading our story....



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