My son went away to Army National Guard boot camp earlier this month. This past Sunday, he was allowed to call home, which was our first substantial contact since he left. We had one very short letter previously, and the “I arrived at my destination in one piece” call. This is exactly as expected; actually the short letter was a bit of a surprise. He sounded in good spirits and a bit tired on the phone. He says that boot camp so far has been pretty much like Civil Air Patrol encampment, only with more swearing and P.T. It’s bound to get harder. These are early days, but even so it’s good to know he’s coping with his usual resiliency.
Neither side of our family is a “military” family, so much of this is very new territory for us. I have worried a bit that my Pagan, far left-leaning son will have difficulty fitting in with what I understand to be a fairly conservative institution. He’s also very good at rule following, so maybe that acts as a counter-balance. The reception battalion put up a video greeting reel, and I was amused to not only see my kid’s cheeky grin, but also the fact that he was one of a tiny minority of new soldiers who actually understood the concept of waiting in line at attention. The bulk of the guys were as my daughter put it, a pile of sad, wiggly puppies.
And now we can add “write letters” to our “wait” agenda. Hopefully we have the address correct. Even addresses in the military are labyrinthine and complex. I hand wrote my first letter. I hope he can read my labyrinthine handwriting!