Tuesday, February 16, 2010

A Soldier In The Making

Last year, my son had an Air Force scholarship and was accepted to UNCC.  This AF Scholarship was based on my son completing a "technical" i.e engineering program at Charlotte.  He decided sometime over the summer last year, that he really wanted to study History and work towards a History major - maybe teach at some point.  

Because of this change in major, we (he) had to send in a Change of Major request to the AF.  This request was denied.  He was told that he would either have to pursue an engineering degree or a foreign language degree.  Kyle had no desire to pursue either of these and decided to forgo the AF Scholarship.  My thoughts were that he could go to Wake Tech or JCC for the Fall semester (possibly the Spring semester as well), re-apply for an Army Scholarship and hope for the best come the Spring.

So, he attempted to register at both places, but that failed.  All classes were filled at Wake Tech and there was a problem with his registration at JCC and he could not take the placement tests there.  Upon finding this out (spent one morning at work trying to find classes for him at Wake Tech), I gave him 2 choices --> either go to UNCC (he was still registered for Fall classes, but had no where to live) and maybe live with his Dad in Mt. Holly (near Charlotte) or he could enlist.  I never in a million years thought I would hear what I did that evening upon arriving home from work.  My baby boy told me that he would enlist in the Army.  OMG.  I was shocked.  There were no words for how I felt at this time.

We spoke to the Army Recruiter down in Smithfield and Kyle decided that he would pursue a Warrant Officer commission and hopefully, fly helicopters.  He had a physical and other things done in September, took the oath, signed on the dotted line and would be leaving in February for Ft Benning, GA.  It was an up & down time for me.  On one hand, I thought he couldn't leave soon enough and on the other hand, I was sad/scared that my baby was going to be leaving home, to venture out into the world on his own.  It was tough.

And, the closer it got to February 2, 2010, the more upset I became.  Good grief.  Just thinking about him or at times, just looking at him, brought tears to my eyes (and does so while I try to compose this blog post).  The last week he was home was pretty hard.  I was sad/happy/excited/scared - so many emotions running through me.  I could cry at the drop of a pin.  But, I had to get that crying out and at least try to show a strong face the day he left.

That was hard.  Very hard.  I took the afternoon off from work to come home and spend the last bit of time with Kyle before the recruiter arrived at 3pm.  I did really well during this time and while the recruiter was here at the house.  But, I just could not hold it together when it came time to give/get a hug from Kyle.  I simply lost all composure and the tears flowed.  I could not let him go.  One hug.  Let him go.  No - I have to have another and let him know that I am not crying because I am upset that he's going off to learn to be a Soldier.  I let him know that I am SO very proud of him, excited for him starting this new part of his life, and that I am ok.   Damn.  That was so hard to do, but I knew he was excited and really looking forward to what lay ahead of him.

The next day was a little bit hard, but a good group of friends at work and a plan for cleaning out the kitchen kept me busy and not much time to think about Kyle.  I kept fairly busy the remainder of the week - working on the interior of the house (painting kitchen) and other odds & ends, that I didn't have a lot of time to think of him.  But, I still did come evening time. :)

He was in Reception from Thursday, Feb 4 - Sunday, Feb 7 and went "down range" to begin his 9 week Basic Combat Training (BCT) on Monday, Feb 8.  I received a short note from him on Monday and a phone call!  It was so good to hear from him!  He sounded so grown up already.  He told me that he had had 10 shots, head shaved, blood work, eyes/hearing checked, and a bunch of other things.  He said he was in a barracks with about 60 other recruits, that it was hot because they were right beside the showers, he had top bunk and that he was really excited to be starting Basic.  The first 4 days consisted of a lot of Hurry Up and Wait....

So, I have not heard from him since 2/7 or 8, but he did call this past Friday night and hung up without leaving me a message!!  I assume he was calling to tell me about the snow they were getting down there in Columbus.  I do wish he'd hurry up and write me again - with an address so I can start writing to him.  I guess if I haven't heard anything by this weekend, I might contact the Base and see if they can find out what Company he's in and an address.

I will be headed down to Ft Benning the week of April 15 to see Kyle graduate.  I'm really looking forward to seeing him and know that I will see a new man.  I'll say it again....I am Very Proud of my son!!!!!!  And, I love him very much.  I'll update the blog when I have more info to share about Kyle. 

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