Yesterday I booked our hotel room for Andrew’s boot camp graduation at the end of July. I was able to get a really nice hotel within walking distance of Old Town, San Diego and very close to MCRD. I made reservations for the entire week so that we could relax and enjoy ourselves before The Big Day. Having the room booked made the whole “My son is going to be a Marine” thing feel very real.
This morning I stopped by my parents house to pick up my niece. While I was there, her mailman came by. My dad started looking through the mail. “We got a letter from Andrew!” He shouted. I almost snatched it out of his hand as if it was mine. “No way!” He said. “This is our letter.” (He was joking, but also, he was serious.) My mom opened the letter and read it. it was a positive letter, he sounded upbeat and excited that he only has two months of boot camp left.
This afternoon I was on a work call. I heard the family beep informing me there was a caller coming through on the other line. I looked at the number and didn’t recognize it. My gut said “answer it anyway.” But I didn’t. An hour later, I was on the phone taking care of some family business and the same number called again. I interrupted the person who was talking. “I need to grab this call, I think it may be important.” I clicked over, but there was no one there. I switched back to the call I was on, and then my home phone began to ring. “Hold on! I’ll call you back!” I threw my cell phone on the sofa and answered my home phone.
“Is this Yvonne?” The person said.
“Yes. This is Yvonne. How can I help you?”
“It’s me, Andrew.”
My heart dropped. One thing people always tell you when your son is away at boot camp is “No news is good news.” And because my son was calling me from boot camp, I knew this was not going to be good news.
“I’ve hurt myself and they’re dropping me from the Kilo Company. I will not be moving on to phase two training with my platoon. My graduation will be delayed at least one week, but probably more.”
“How did you hurt yourself? Are you okay?”
“I cut my hand and needed 8 stitches. I have to let it heal before I can continue with my training. I will call you to notify you of my new graduation date.”
“Son, I love you, I’m sorry this happened, but you will be okay. I love you so much.”
“Okay.” He responded.
His drill instructor was standing right there. He couldn’t say I love you back. And that sucked, but that’s life.
I heard the mail truck arrive just minutes after I hung up with Andrew. I ran out to check it, just like I do every day. There were two letters there from my son. I opened them up and began to read. These letters were both very upbeat, very positive. He spoke of all of the friends he’s made. He spoke of how his platoon is finally working together and doing well. (They placed 2nd in initial drill even though everyone expected them to come in last.) Finally, he expressed his excitement to finally be moving into phase two of training.
I couldn’t fight back the tears when I read that, because I now know he won’t be moving on to phase two training with his platoon.
I wish that this had not happened and that he was moving on with his platoon. But it did happen and there’s nothing I can do to help him.
I sat down on the sofa, looked out the window and told myself this was meant to be… everything will be okay.
And then, I ate six cookies.