Basic Training: Holding My Breath
I knew I was stretched tighter than a guitar string, but I had no idea I was holding my breath until I got this message from a reliable source:
He did pass the most recent APFT.
As I stated in a previous online blog post, thank God for Facebook. My son, my youngest child who graduated from high school this year, is currently in basic training for the Louisiana Army National Guard. He is scheduled to graduate on Thursday, November 30, 2017.
His family will be there to greet him, clap, hug him, and cry tears of joy. I may give him a hug that will last until the army pries me away from him.
I realized the day I got that message that, if I were held under water, I could probably survive. I've held my breath more in the last eight weeks than I have in my entire life.
I held my breath waiting for the phone call that he had arrived at his training post that didn't come until he had been there for nine days.
I held my breath when I found out he had fallen from a rope during their running of an obstacle course. The only information I got was in a letter than said he had bruised his pelvis and ripped the skin from his hands, but he was pushing on because he didn't want to be recycled or pushed back in his training. I knew he was running every morning in that condition. It's hard to breathe when your chest hurts for your child.
I held my breath every time I walked out of a room and realized my phone wasn't in my pocket, for fear he would call. Let's not talk about the one time I actually left the house without my phone. Did you know you can drive and not breathe?
I held my breath knowing he was going into a chamber filled with a gas that would burn his skin and eyes and throat. I held my breath knowing my son was firing rifles and throwing live grenades.
I held my breath when he told me he didn't pass the second APFT. That's the physical fitness test they must pass in order to graduate from basic training. He was only three sit-ups short of the requirement, but the next test wouldn't come for three more weeks.
I held my breath when I got his letter explaining that they were moving into the second week of Blue Phase. He was excited about the last week, but he was anxious about all they would face: field exercises that had them sleeping in holes they dig in the ground for three days, night infiltration drills, and the 10 mile ruck march. He had twisted his knee on a previous ruck march and told me he had been tending to it himself.
As we family members learn in basic training, no news is good news. I really hate that phrase. He is in what's considered the cool down week when their company cleans the barracks and gets ready for graduation. My phone hasn't rung.
I pray for him all day every day as I have when he left on September 18th. I've talked to my so four times in over two months, and I know I'm fortunate for that. Some people aren't so lucky.
My husband and I raised an amazing young man who has overcome amazing obstacles and persevered. He is part of the one percent of the population who will serve and protect this country and the state of Louisiana. I am so grateful that God chose me to be his mother.
We are counting down the days until we see him. I am counting down the days until I can hug his neck and kiss his sweet face.
Until then, I'll be holding my breath.