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.
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 pants...at 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!