Wednesday, August 10, 2011

He's Home!

He's finally home!
And he's a Marine!

It's been a whirlwind summer and our trip to San Diego was the highlight! I haven't flown in 20 years and to be honest, I was a bit leary. But I was so crazy, excited to see our boy that my nervousness was pushed aside and God gave me peace. Our daughter had never flown so this was a new experience for her as well. She was fine, but it's not her favorite form of travel.

I worked on hexagons in order to keep my mind from wandering.

I would have walked, crawled, swam, biked, pogo-sticked...whatever it took to get to MCRD (Marine Corps Recruit Depot) in San Diego. We arrived on Wednesday, early evening and headed to the Depot at 6 the next morning to watch them practice on the Parade Deck.

The Parade Deck is sacred ground and over 1 million Marines have graduated from this deck. No one walks on it except the recruits, and Marines during drill or graduation.
We were entertained by one of the Drill Instructors who should have been a stand up comedian. I imagine that's a side of him that the recruits never saw.

 Thursday was Family Day and we explored some of the base and stocked up on hats and shirts at the PX until it was time for the MOTO (motivational) Run. They lined up in formation in front of us and ran 2.5 miles. DH was impressed at how they immediately fell into formation after their run and not one Marine was winded.

They then ran off and prepared for drill.

 It was about 1 before we actually got to hug his neck. Whew! THAT was an emotional moment for all of us. I don't know who was holding who up.

The first thing DS wanted to do was eat and we actually lead the way to the Bay View Restaurant on the base. DS didn't quite know what to do with all that food. There was a huge change in our boy, but he was still our boy. Most noticeably was his posture and that fact that he didn't know how to make a choice about much of anything. For 13 weeks he had been told when to do absolutely everything. But he talked...and talked...and talked and DS is not a talker. And we listened and drank it all in. I think we ate, but I could not tell you what the food tasted like because we were so engrossed in his every word. The view was pretty, but I only know that because I snapped this photo. We were too focused on our Marine.

DS gave us a tour of part of the base, but there was places that were off limits to the recruits during training so even he hadn't seen some of it and then there were places that we weren't able to see, but the museum was wonderful.

We met his Drill Instructors who seemed very nice, but DS assured us that 'nice' was not part of their persona during the 13 weeks of training. His Senior Drill INstructor told him he had better go get a haircut before graduation and the barber shop closed at 5. It was 4:55. No matter that he had one 3 days earlier, but when a drill instructor tells you to do something, there is no question that you had better get it done. Thankfully he popped through the door just in the nick of time.

The whole base was impressive and the afternoon went by all to quickly and before we knew it, we had to leave him.

We were back at the base the next morning at 6 for the posting of the colors and graduation was at 10:30. There are no words to describe the graduation, but suffice it to say, it was quite the event.

The speaker told us that we would see changes in our boys, "They will stand up straight, They will eat everything on their plate. They will make their beds. They will wear their their waist... where they belong."

This is where he stayed during Phase I:

All I can say is that we are proud as punch of what he has accomplished! His platoon was even the Honor Platoon!

Here they are receiving their last, and most welcome order from their Senior Drill Instructor. They have waited for this for 13 weeks:

After graduation, the recruits flocked to their gear bags and rushed off the base:

They were all eager to put the Depot in their rearview mirror:

It took him a couple of days to learn to relax again. We didn't fly out until the next day so we explored part of the red lamp district. San Diego is beautiful and the weather...oh my! 60° for a low and 75° for a high. Can you say perfect?! But there are absolutely too many people!

We walked down the charming streets that reminded me of Europe and stopped at The Hard Rock Cafe to eat. Great music and food, but I must be getting old, because it was loud. All of us looked kind of shell shocked.

He had 10 days of leave and then was granted 14 days of recuiter's assistance so he goes in every day and helps his recruiter. They have kept him hopping. He's had to go to Albuquerque (4 hours away), and Las Cruces (4 hours again), and to Artesia (1 hour) numerous times. He leaves between 4:30 and 5:30 and comes home about 10. Long days and although we're not getting to see him much, it's nice having him home at night.

We went to see Grandparents on Saturday and SIL and her husband and one cousin were there as well. It was so nice and cool at their place that we didn't want to leave.
Then we went out to the Shotgun Range on Sunday. It was also DD's birthday. I took cinnamon rolls to the skeet range and they had cards and frog cupcakes for the kids at the Trap Range. One of the trap shooters is a retired Marine so they had lots to talk about and DS said it was really good to be back out there. The kid has not lost his touch either.

I've been spending lots of time in the kitchen making his favorite things although he hasn't been home much these past few days and when he is home, he's sleeping. But, as long as he's here, we're enjoying every minute.

Welcome home Son! Welcome home Marine! We're proud of you Bud!


Janet said...

Congratulations, Marine Mom! I am just smiling reading your post and feeling your joy at having "your boy" home again. We know many young men who have been and are Marines. They are all wonderful young people. I wish him the best in the years to come. Enjoy your time together.

lee said...

Welcome to the Marine Family! My son graduated from MRCD about a year ago and your post brought back all the joy and memories of seeing my son for the first time. I am so proud of my son and of all the men and women who serve our country. Enjoy your time together.

Countrygirl said...

Congratulations! Tell him thank you for serving our country!

Colleen said...

God led me to your post tonight! How inspiring a story about your Marine. My DH served at El Toro for 4 yrs during the Vietnam War, we were so blessed he did not go overseas. Now all these yrs later our oldest grandson 18 yr old just graduated high school is planning to follow in his PaPaw's footsteps. He had his testing and physical today. My heart is so full of pride and fear at the same time. Your story and pictures have helped me so much. THANK YOU for sharing!
Semper Fi!

Karin said...

Congratulations! I can tell that there is alot of proud and love in this post. Its a great pic of your son and well how can you be anything else besides a very proud Mom. Its great to hear that you had a great time in San Diego. Enjoy having your son around you again and all the best for his future!

Cow Pies & Mud Pies said...

Congrats to ALL of you...and even though I don't even know your son--I am very proud of him.

What a blessing to have him HOME. Good to hear from ya, now we know why you haven't posted lately!!! ha ha

You've been a tad busy! Take care.

JMF said...

Really enjoyed your story and am so Thankful for your son and your family. You sure have a right to be very proud of him!! good lookin man too!!! I know he's your boy but they do growup don't they. Enjoy every minute with him.

NaomiG said...

Loved this post. So glad he's home with you--I bet that feels really really good. I was explaining to my daughters the other night that no matter how old they are, they're still my babies, and I'll always see them that way. That thought struck me as I read this--how powerfully strange it must be to see your baby in that situation.

God Bless your son, and your family!!!

Sara said...

We are proud of that young man! And know you are happy to have him home.

rosie said...

What a gorgeous boy... I am so happy that he is home for you.. Enjoy every minute..xx

randi said...

congratulations to your boy! he has much to be proud of!

my daughter's husband was just released from the marines on monday and they are now living a couple of hours away from us. we are so proud of his service, but also super glad to have him close!

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