Sunday, February 11, 2007

"Army Boy's" Visit

(He left early this morning.)

Short and sweet but, oh, so good. Every once in awhile you just have to hug and squeeze your kids — see their precious faces and say the words, “I love you.”

He had so much to tell us — some good, some bad. I can’t write about it all because a) it’s his life and b) it concerns the military. Anything I do reveal, I’ve checked with him first.

Suffice to say, although much of what goes on he “hates,” he still sounds enthusiastic. (Darn.) He’s a smart kid and knew what he was getting into — to a certain extent.

Some interesting tidbits:

His head is shorn of hair (no surprise there except for how he looks) and his feet are blistered. Dr. Scholl made a killing off us this weekend.

The above picture shows his room after an inspection was done. As a result of my son not having put his rucksack inside his locker, the inspecting officer trashed his room — flung stuff out of drawers, etc. (Trashed, it looks remarkably like his bedroom always did at home. Prior to the inspection it looked perfect — except for the rucksack out of place.)

His warrant officer uses some choice words and phrases when chewing out the platoon for failing to meet inspection standards. One particular expression stands out in my son’s mind. (Don’t read on if you don’t like salty language.) “You should be shot with a ball of your own sh*t.” Hmmm. Quite the imagination. The “F” word is also used liberally.

Within a group of 30 recruits (not sure of the exact number) 5 might excel (no crease in their uniforms, rooms impeccably neat, no infractions, etc.), 15 could be mediocre and 10 could be struggling. Those 5 who excel are not going to be recognized or praised for their excellence. Why? Because the rest of the group is not doing well. These numbers reveal a lack of teamwork (very important lesson learned in basic training). The “A” students are obviously not helping the others. For example — if you do well in the topography course but have a terrible time polishing your boots to standard, you find someone who needs help with topography and who in turn can help you with your boots. Tit for tat. And if you happen to do well in everything, you take the time to help the others. A reassignment of recruits within two groups took place because one group’s numbers did reveal failure in terms of teamwork.

While my son was an A student in university, he is definitely one of those who seeks assistance re: certain tasks and who offers his own expertise in others. (My guess as to what he gets help doing? Making his bed to military standards.)

His next visit? Who knows. This one was an unexpected surprise and delight.

And I did not cry when he left. Sad, yes. Tears, no.


The Guy Who Writes This said...

If I were he, I would have cried having to return to the military life.

Anonymous said...

The team work concept makes sense in the army and really in any organization even a family. It's just too bad that they have to enforce it so harshly.

I remember my brother saying the same things from his boot camp days. They strip away as much of your "individuality" as they can and then build you up as part of the team.

Beth said...

Would you really??
Were you ever in the military?
After some of the stories we heard, I would have gone AWOL - weeks ago.

Yes, the team work thing makes perfect sense and I guess over the years (the many, many years of war) the army has "perfected" it. At one point I said to him, "But you're still the creative individual you've always been," and he replied, "I don't even have time think any more."

Nomad said...

I really hear/feel your emotions.
I am most admirable of your love and support for your big guy.
It must be SO hard.

I would have a difficult time with the harshness of the officers...but it sounds as though your boy is learning alot. The teamwork aspect sounds difficult but rewarding in the end. I guess it is true what they say, every team is only as strong as its weakest link.

One thing for sure you are doing an AMAZING job!!!

Beth said...

nomad: Ah, Nomad, your comment made me kind of weepy. (Not your fault - I've been on the verge all day.) It is hard. I don't want him to go back to the "nastiness." And I have no say in the matter. He's a grown man. But he's still my little boy.

St Jude said...

Ah, sweetie, be proud, be humble, and know that you are the most precious of people to him right now. He is still your 'boy', it hurts so much to let your children go, especially if you are not sure that those you give them too will love them as you do.

He is still your son, he carries your values, he will not let you down. You made him who he is. 'They' may try to strip this out of him, but trust me, he is the person you made. x

Beth said...

awww, I'm so glad you got to see him and hug him...that does alot for a mother's soul, ya know?

why do they have to cuss all the time?

Beth said...

st. jude: Well, Nomad's words made me weepy. Your words brought on the tears. (I knew they would come some time today.)
Thank you for your kindness, understanding and support.

Beth said...

beth: After the weepy and teary I hear from Beth and I smile! Good question about the cussing. Why is the "f" word considered so powerful? You'd think it would lose its effectiveness from overuse.
And I like your "hugs and soul" line. Maybe hugs are just one of many ways to touch the soul.

Mom of Three said...

LMAO! Hubby was in the Marines and he never heard that one! He DID, however, hear "I oughta rip your head off and S*$T down the gaping hole that is your neck!"

Beth said...

mof3: Where do they get these expressions/ideas? What kind of minds/imaginations do they possess?
It's like "grown-up" male potty talk.

oreneta said...

Yahoo, that sounded like a good visit. I was initially surprised that they emphasise teamwork so much, but if you think about it, that makes a lot of sense.

At first I thought that the picture was what the room looked like after he left your house.

Glad they are creative with the cursing, much better than just saying f*ck all the time, even if they do say it a lot. I'm going to have to use that one some time.

Ashley said...

I think soldiers are so brave to protect us! You should be proud!

Beth said...

oreneta: Oh sure, you're going to use that expression! (And also the one Mom of Three noted in her comment?) Who on earth would you say these to? I'm no slouch in the "bad word" department but even I can't figure out when I'd use those delightful phrases. We're too nice - and civilized. Right?

ashley: Yes, soldiers are brave and it pains me to admit this, but as a mother, I'd prefer my son NOT be one of them. However, I am proud that he made a decision that he believes is the right one for him.

patricia said...

Yup, you should be proud. I can't imagine going through such an experience. It takes a special kind of person to choose that kind of life.

Beth said...

Oh, he's special - for sure. I don't know where he got the stamina to go through with this. Not from me.