February 6, 2010

Missing You Already

Don't forget to post some questions for my Q&A post, coming soon!
Wow. The fastest two days of my life. Whirlwind.

Warning: this is super-long, more for my memory-keeping than for your benefit, because I'm so absent-minded (as the story will show) that I know I will forget so many details if I don't write them all down somewhere.

Thursday was Family Day - essentially supposed to be a day for families to come and there would be a little ceremony and demonstrations for the families, and then the guys get a half-day pass.

Actually, I should start before then. Wednesday night was a frenzy of preparing and packing. I not only had to pack for me for (potentially) three days, but also to pack stuff for SoldierMan to take to OCS. I crammed everything in one suitcase, and about 70% of it was SoldierMan's. I piled everything I thought I would need in the middle of my room and went to bed.

I woke up a couple of hours later with what I now assume to have been food poisoning. I was up sick all night. By the time my alarm went off Thursday morning, I was blinded by exhaustion and sickness. I wound up leaving behind: SoldierMan's shoes, hanging garment bag, glasses prescription, and my hotel reservation information. I booked rooms for both Thursday night and Friday night, but at separate hotels. Between two weeks of ice storm and BCT/AIT graduations, all the hotels in Lawton were booked up, so that's how that happened.

So by the time I got to the base Thursday morning, I was half-on the verge of up-chucking and half-freaking out from being so disorganized that I left half his things behind. Thankfully it was both drizzly and freezing cold outside, and that's the perfect remedy for an upset stomach.

On the way there I call my dad (who was coming the next day for graduation) and ask him to PLEASE bring the things I left behind. He gladly agreed, because he's awesome like that.

Anyway, I get to the base and discover that, thanks to the drizzle, the ceremony had canceled and the guests moved indoors. YAY!!!! I still got there at plenty early, so that took the stress factor down a lot.

Suffice it to say, there wasn't much of an event to the Family Day thing. There were tables set up where they were selling battery t-shirts, BCT "yearbooks" and graduation DVDs, the line for which was almost always about 15 people deep. I was not one of them. They began the "program" at about 9:15, since the room was already filled to capacity. Several members of leadership spoke. They recognized those soldiers who had achieved special awards. They killed a lot of time.

The really neat part, though, was that in his BCT class, there were four men who were attaining their US citizenship via joining the military, one from Nepal, three from India, all medical professionals (natch). We were able to witness their citizenship ceremony. It was the only part of the morning the room really was involved in, and of course earned a standing ovation. It was pretty cool.

After that, promptly at 10, they said, okay everyone, go outside and meet your soldier. Great, we all flood outside.

The guys are nowhere.

Still cold. Still drizzly. No soldiers. What's this crap?

Then we see them...way back down the road by the barracks. All lined up in their Class As. And after we all get outside, they make the LONG march toward us.

Have I mentioned it was wet, like practically raining? So yeah, that meant no camera for me. Plus, I didn't want to have to worry about that at that point. I just wanted to see him and have both hands free, know what I mean?

They march and we line the street, looking for SoldierMan. Finally I spot him, second row of 2nd Platoon. I stay in step with him on the side of the road, knowing he has to keep eyes forward but hoping he notices me anyway, being the only one with a giant hot pink Dooney - another advantage of the dream purse. :)

As per the 1SGT earlier remarks allowing us to do so, people crowded around the now-standing-in-formation soldiers. SoldierMan was on the second row, and I was still only 10 feet from him. Waiting for the drill sergeants to release them. Finally, I see SoldierMan make eye contact with me, for a split second.

Then - finally - the drill sergeants allow anyone who can see their family member to fall out of formation. And I finally get to hug him! It was wonderful. And I got to meet some of his buddies, which was cool. But the best part - thanks to the scrapping of the program - we got to leave by 10:30! The program said we weren't supposed to leave till noon.

Sorry, babe, but it was the best out of that group ;)

Downside - the hotel room wasn't ready yet. So we went and ate lunch, then spent another half an hour at Starbucks (so SoldierMan could finally get some coffee!), until finally giving in and checking in early at the hotel. Thankfully, they were very nice and rushed our room, so we were able to go veg out early. Cause really, what else is there to do in Lawton? We had talked about trying to find things to "do", but when all was said and done, just hanging out and watching TV and ordering pizza and having some quiet, alone time was the best option. And it was.

Had to have him back at the bay at 8:00. So I had a whole evening to myself to do...well, to catch up on all your blogs :)

Friday - woken up 2 hours early by crews clearing out fallen trees. Lovely. Try to sleep in until the alarm goes off. Get a call from my dad 5 minutes before the alarm (still in OKC and having to leave super early to get to graduation on time) saying that my grandpa had decided to come. Cool. So I decide to get up and get ready, eat a nice continental breakfast and still get to the auditorium early.

I pull out the Chi, the ironing board and my clothes. And I brush my teeth. And I go to get my makeup out of the suitcase - no makeup. Holy heck. How the crap did I forget my makeup? Oh that's right, that last trip up the stairs to load the suitcase I walked into the bathroom and straight to...well, let's just say I was distracted. Either way, I had no makeup. And while going in public sans makeup normally isn't a bother to me...today was special. Not only was it SoldierMan's special day, but he was kind of getting a kick out of showing off his wife to the non-married guys (I only include that because he said it, not cause I think I'm a supermodel or anything) and I wasn't about to embarrass him by showing up without "looking the role." yes, I realize how that sounds. I don't care.

So, breakfast isn't a possibility anymore. Now I have to get ready in a flash and find the nearest Walmart. YAY for our TomTom!! Got me right there and to the auditorium in a flash, giving me time to get there and put on makeup. (And, suffice it to say, I relearned the insufficiencies of OTC makeup. It's still got nothing on Mary Kay. Nothing.)

SoldierMan's representation at graduation consisted of me, his mom and stepdad, my dad and my grandpa, a Korea vet. SoldierMan is the only other member of my dad's family to join the military, and it's created quite an attachment for my grandpa, which is great. He's already told things to SoldierMan he's never talked about with anyone else. He never talks about the war or the military. But that's a blog for another time.

Graduation was very nicely done. They had a great program laid out and it was efficiently executed, getting us out in exactly an hour. Hooah! Then we were able to sign out SoldierMan for the rest of the day (till 8:00). We all went out to lunch and had a nice lunch just sitting around and talking.

There was almost no picture-taking. But the few I did get are good. SoldierMan was extremely self-conscious in his Class As. He is one of the least attention-seeking people I know, second only to my brother. So it was difficult to get a picture, but I got a couple (also thanks to his mom, whom he can't say no to :))

After lunch, SoldierMan and I snaked through the grotesque Lawton construction and found hotel #2. Another day just laying in bed and watching TV and talking and just being. So wonderful. Just bliss. It was funny, both days we had to fight naps - again. Something about being together is so cathartic and relaxing. Like all the tension elsewhere in the world just melts away when we're together. It was a shorter day than Thursday, but still great.

Excuse the Awkward Family Photo nature of this shot. We took this at the last minute while trying to rush him back to the bay by curfew.

He asked his SGT if, since we live in OKC, if I could just drive him to the OKC airport for his flight the next morning. The SGT, of course, said no, they they were responsible for getting him to the airport. But once he got to the airport, he could do whatever he wanted until he got on the plane.

So, as it turned out, he was going to have about an hour from the time they would get there until his flight. So I drove home after dropping him back at base, got some coffee and at 0400 drove to the airport to sit with him and wait for his plane.

Finally, at 5:15, I had to let him leave again. By that point I had been awake over 23 hours, so the exhaustion and delirium acted like a buffer against the onset of strong emotions. I felt guilty that I wasn't crying like a baby, like the last time he had left. But honestly, my mind just didn't really wrap around the fact that he was gone until I went to bed and started to fall asleep.

So now SoldierMan is at Ft. Benning, GA, waiting to be processed into his OCS company. I know he's really excited, and I'm excited for him. This is what he was really looking forward to and I can't wait to hear all about it. I just can't wait till I get to go be with him again.

If you made it through all that, kudos to you! I know it probably wasn't all that interesting to anyone but me, but like I say, I want to have it here to revisit until the next weekend we get together. Geez, remember when being married meant seeing each other every day? You know, like living together?


  1. This took me back to when David graduated!! I felt horrible for you getting sick the night before you left! That must have been awful!! I can't wait to hear his OCS stories!

  2. Gave me chills!! Less than 2 weeks to go, he passed his PT test!!! I am so envious of all the alone time!!

  3. Ohh that is horrible that you got sick! But thankfully everything turned out great. Love the pictures of y'all two! :)

  4. ugh...doesn't it seem like we get sick at the most inconvenient times. but I am glad everything worked out and you got to spend a little time with him!

  5. O.k. I was like all teary eyed reading this...Joel also graduated from BCT in Lawton! Whats even more random is the morning of his ceremony I woke up sick to my stomach...didn't forget my makeup but was still pale as a ghost the whole day AND met his parents for the first time! I'm glad you had a good time.

  6. I'm so glad everything went well, despite the few mini-disasters like getting sick (hope you are fully recovered!).
    I am glad you got to spend this time with SoldierMan and I hope his OCS passes quickly so you can be re-uinted soon.

  7. I loved reading about this :) I didn't know my husband when he graduated from basic so it was nice to read.

    I hope OCS passes quickly for ya :)

  8. That all sounded similar to when I sent Freddy away to Germany a couple years ago :) They were allowed two duffles to check. The one duffle bag that has all of his uniforms went to Manchester instead of Germany :) They let him do formation in his civies until his bag was routed correctly.

  9. My husband graduated BCT at Ft. Sill as well. I had to fly in from Seattle and the plane to Ft. Sill was so little. It was quite scary. Plus, we had the worst rain storm ever. But I got to see my husband and that was all that mattered. :)

    How long is your husband's training at Ft. Benning? Are you going to visit him there too?


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