Our 19-year-old has joined the army - army national guard to be precise. He's wanted to do this for years. He quit all his medications cold turkey last January and did surprisingly well for the next few months. (You can't be on medications if you plan to join the military.) He went on several weekend warrior excursions while waiting for his boot camp and thought they were a blast!
Back when he signed up, his recruiter came to the house to administer the "test" (kinda like a college-placement test) and answered lots of our questions: "Yes. We train them and give them a skill that will make them productive citizens in the community." "Yes. When he attends college, we will give him a small stipend. He MIGHT be able to live on his own with that." "When he gets out of boot camp he'd have to wait six months before he can be part of the regular army." "He will be gone to boot camp for 13 weeks, 3 days." "No. He can't decide to quit...." "So, do you all... sounds like you WANT him to leave..." Didn't take him too long to catch on.
Our big boy made himself "ready" to leave months before June 23rd. The last weeks were pure torture. He called his grandparents names. Left giant messes. Broke family rules. Broke God's rules.... We banned him from the house one week. (He slept in a tent outside.) Refused to participate in his going-away dinner... We were so ready to say, "Goodbye."
The wait at the airport wasn't too long. He had some friends come along. Security told him that he had to leave those big bottles of mouthwash, etc. with us. Off he flew in a prop jet to Oregon. Then on to Ft. Benning, Georgia via Texas. Met some guys there. Excited to finally be fulling his dreams!
We got phone calls. He was there. Got his uniform. He'd make it, even though it was hard.
It was hot.
The food was gross. (Grandpa refused to tell him, "Told you so!" even when I begged.)
The schedule was insane.
He was homesick. Send letters. Send money. "Promise me you'll come to my graduation!"
Letters along this same theme arrived. Finally, we got an address for him after 2 1/2 weeks.
Another letter came Saturday. Apparently, he panicked during the gas chamber training. Ran out of the building. Was ushered back in. Ran out a second time. Beat up the 6 guys assigned to haul him back in. (You know how athletic he is!) Finally finished the training when threatened with police involvement. Has an Article 15. Gets to mow the grounds with a push lawn mower. Gets to do guard duty. Gets to do all those army kinds of things....
We're just enjoying the quiet around here. While it lasts (Oct 10th will come too soon, I'm sure.)