We drove Stefan to the Marine and Air Force recruiting office in Hatboro, PA because his recruiter person had a sudden death in the family and was unable to provide transportation for my son, one of his recruits.
I know “recruiter person” is not the official term but I’m still getting the hang of Marines lingo and customs. For example, when we got there, we being me, Stefan’s step-dad and step-brother, one man inside the office addressed me as “ma’am” for every question I had.
It was Sunday. Usually on Sundays I go to the farm to see my favorite racehorses and do stable chores or sometimes go with my daughter to “celebration” at an inter-faith church near Doylestown. This day was set aside for saying goodbye to my son for 3 months. It is the longest separation I’ve ever had from him.
They, the folks who support Marines parents and families, provide us with advice on everything at every step of the way and what they don’t tell you, other parents will. One suggestion from the Marines is to write a letter to your recruit for them to read on their flight to boot camp.
That Sunday morning I wrote him my letter. The first rule I had for myself is to not cry or sound sappy. I told him the story of his birth, which he’s heard before but this time I wrote it down and told him the truth. I was not supposed to have any more children after his sister was born. I nearly died in childbirth with her and ended up in ICU for 3 days.
There are several things I have in common with my son and one of them is that you can never tell us we can’t do something because if we believe we can, we will.
I trained myself mentally and physically to bring him here and was every bit successful. It took courage, patience, stubborn will, no pain killers and teamwork with others willing to help me – the same qualities he will need as a Marine in training. That’s what I wrote him.
Every mother of a Marine has her own understanding of what makes her child want to be a Marine. I’m still getting used to the idea and may never truly come to knowing what motivates him so strongly. I do know he has the warrior spirit honestly and genuinely.
To keep myself together, I need to remember I have it too.