It still amazes me to say that. A United States Marine. Wow.
Our son went to USMC boot camp for the right after high school graduation. He turned 18 the month after he graduated and left for Parris Island, SC July 21st. That just happened to be the same day we hit the road for our big move from VA to CO. Talk about an emotional week!
I remember him saying he just didn't want to go to college right away. Maybe later, he told us; maybe after four years in the Corps. He started researching the USMC and read everything he could find online. He talked to his recruiter all the time, working out with him most Saturdays, and attending monthly events in Richmond for the entire unit. He was excited and passionate. What more could we ask for?
He told us he wanted to see what he was made of. He wanted to push himself. He felt like he didn't have the interest or dedication for college, but when he told me those two other phrases I knew he could do anything he set his mind to.
I think most of us go through phases where we want to push ourselves further than we feel comfortable, like my #3bravethings goal, but to join the Marine Corp to do that? Now that's a whole different level. He is dedicated and brave and awesome. I am so proud he committed to such an elite goal.
Ya, that's my boy above. There's a Facebook group for parents and they post photos whenever a group leader is on base and happens to catch a platoon. We often have no idea what platoon it is and we have to zoom in on every single photo to see if it's our recruit (and you better believe I do it on every single one).
I remember a couple years ago, he said to me that he almost felt bad that he had such a good life, that he hadn't experienced anything bad in his life. My husband and I grew up with some pretty big struggles and he had heard the stories and understood where we came from. He was grateful for his life, but almost felt like it was too easy. I told him not to worry. Being grateful is enough. There will always be tough times in life, deep intense moments that you won't forget. Just the fact that he even thinks like that tells me he's going to be alright. He is so much stronger inside than he knows.
This morning, as I think about getting to see him in just a few short days, I realized that he just had his first major life event. Boot camp is intense, grueling, bonding, and unforgettable. For 13 weeks, he's been on Parris Island with only letters from home as his outside communication. He went there as one individual, not knowing anyone there. He was yelled at, made to feel like a nothing, challenged, angered, and pushed. They broke him, then they built him up. He must have felt hopeless at times, extremely frustrated, and very determined. There are probably some "brothers" that drove him crazy and some he would love to bring home. He will never forget them or this experience. Yes, he went there as an individual, but he will come home part of a platoon. They strongly enforce no individuality, but a unit.
I believe he knows what he's made of now.
I believe he has completed a major challenge.
I believe he will be forever changed.
I believe I couldn't possibly be prouder.
I cannot wait to see my Marine!
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