Hi Anthony, my son arrived at bootcamp on 10/7. It was hard at first and I wrote a letter just about every day informing him of what's up at home as well as cutting newspaper articles of his NFL football teams. By the time I got his address, I dumped all of it in the mail at once hoping it would make his days! Things get better as the days go by but for me, hearing his voice on his first call home after 19 days being gone made my Sunday. Hearing confirmation of how well things are going and that he's doing well in this or that...alleviated a lot of my anxieties and I could hear the maturity in his voice that assured me he was better than okay. I actually received my first letter yesterday and I honestly didn't even need it after receiving that call from him (but I still ate it up). Now I am counting down the remaining 35 days ...the first 24 days have gone by faster than I can account for now...HANG IN THERE ANTHONY...I believe your son is in good hands...and this forum is awesome with dads who "get it" and relate to those emotions. ps. I also jetted out my son's address to friends, neighbors, relatives and even to his Facebook and encouraged them to write him...my son said the letters have kept his spirits up on the tough days and he rereads them more than once! Welcome and thanks for sharing!
lest you think you are alone, this was posted by a dad to another member dealing with separation anxiety....
"I know you have seen some encouraging comments from other members, but I wanted to weigh in here too. On 28 January, a month after completing college, my son was sworn in to the Navy DEP. It was a couple of days after that when it hit me....after 23 years of a daily relationship with him everything was about to change! I knew joining the Navy was going to be the absolute best thing for him. But in spite of that, I became very depressed. I had no idea what I was doing but googled Navy support groups. I found this site. I remember posting my first comments.....reluctantly because I thought others would think of me as less of a man.....how depressed I was already at the thought of my son leaving and he was not leaving for boot until 1 May. Well the responses were surprising! All the admins and a number of other members put me at ease when they responded that every dad on this site, if they are honest with themselves, experienced the same thing. I also followed the great advice from the admins to read as much as possible on this site. All of this really helped! But then came the week before he left. I became very upset and just wasn't sure how I was going to cope. It really took some work to get it under control. Then the day came to put him on that plane to Great Lakes. As the tears flowed, it was my son in a bit of a role reversal that said, "dad, it's going to be just fine." Well from that point everything happened just as it was described by the admins and other members on this site from receiving the "kid in a box" to the form letter to the first phone call. The best advice I received after his departure was to write often. I didn't really think my son would care that much because my son has always been very independent and not the "home sick" type. But I found out two things in writing the letters: he loved them and encouraged it and they were very therapeutic for me! In the 7 weeks after I received his address I wrote 16 letters. All typed, no spacing, and not one under 4 pages long! I would never have imagined being able to come up with that much to write about....but you will be surprised. It truly helped the time move along as well. Then believe it or not, PIR was upon us. My son graduated on 28 June. The only thing I can say about PIR is that as it relates to my son, it was the second greatest day of my life......second ONLY to witnessing his birth! When you see your sailor march into that hall and you realize he/she is now a part of something greater than themselves, it is an indescribable feeling of pride. A feeling that washes away all the tears and angst of the previous 8 1/2 weeks of separation. Now as I look back, I am amazed how time has passed so quickly! As of today my son has been out of boot camp almost as long as he was in it. He is in Pensacola attending IT A school. This is totally different from boot camp. It resembles being away to college as you can communicate freely (voice, text, e-mail) with the exception of when they are in class. So to wrap this up, as others have said, hang in there! You too before you know it will be in the same shoes as many of us....looking back wondering where the time went and posting comments to help parents going through that which you have endured. I cannot emphasize enough how wonderful this site is to help you through it.....from really good information to Navy FAMILY who are there for moral support. God Bless you and your son for his service to our great country!"
Anthony....just to give you some perspective....My Wife received a short phone call tonight from My daughter...in her 4th year and halfway around the World! It was the same reaction as that 1st phone call from Basic and simply made her day/week/month....We have all felt what you are now going through. The first month of basic is heart-wrenching as a parent. With each letter or phone call, your spirits will be raised. Those who have experienced it call it the "rollercoaster". Tears will flow with each letter...but Brother....nothing will compare to the pride you will feel on the day that you are sitting at P.I.R.....as the outer door opens...and you witness the man that your Son has become as he strides in with a pride and conviction that you can't imagine! Use this site and the people here to help get you and your family through the next couple of months. All I ask is that you help the next folks who will follow your path. I wish you and yours the best.....Welcome to the Navy Family!
A few things that I can add to what has already been said is 1. We still have all of the letters Trevor wrote to us back in basic in 2008 and Ethan back in 2011. I find myself running across them looking for something and will stop and read one or 2 of them and the chest swells with pride again. 2. Read, Read, Read and Read some more. 3. Write, Write, Write and Write some more. 4. Don't be afraid to ask questions. There are nearly 9,000 members of this site and We have all gone through the same emotions that you are experiencing right now. Someone will have that little thing they did that will work for your situation and make things easier for you.
I didn't find this site until after Trevor had went through P.I.R. although I have found innumerous amounts of information that helped understand what was going on during each phase of his 1st enlistment. Now that he is into his second enlistment and stationed in Italy I still find myself searching for more information about the base he is stationed at to what there is around him and his family to do on a short or long weekend adventure.
Hang in there Anthony...I feel for you man...as my son and I are very close with a lot of years as dad, coach, diving buddy, volleyball partner, etc. So I get it where you are with this all as I was in your shoes about 4 weeks ago. You'll get a very quick call from him tonight when they arrive (maybe from the airport or from the camp)...either way, just a heads up, it is a very short and scripted call but if you're like me...it was good medicine just to hear his voice and know he made it safe. Hang in there...you'll be in my shoes at the halfway mark hopefully giving similar encouragement to the next guy going through this transition. Best wishes to you, your family and thank you to your son for serving!
I am facing the same thing this Sunday night and Monday morning at MEPS here in Houston. I am on that rollercoaster ride. He has been in DEP for 5 months, but this last week is going by so fast. He is ready and excited to go and start his life, its me and his Mom that are freaking out, lol
Please stay in touch and let me know the PIR experience is:)
I felt the same way you did Oct 1st. I got 2 weeks left until my son's PIR graduation. I'm telling you it has gone by pretty quick now looking back at it, than again the last remaining 2 weeks seem like an eternity away. I look at the calender two to three times a day hoping the day would change already lol! The first letters we got from him were very hard on us, he was home sick and there was nothing I could do. So I wrote him, I wrote him like I was talking to him next to me. It was very therapeutic for me and come to find out for him as well. The encouragement I gave he says in his replies helped him through the hardest of times. As time went by his letters didn't sound so sad, he started to figure it out and put his head down and work hard. The last two letters have been so amazing in the transformation in such a short time. He is working hard, he knows the routine, and he is proud of all his inspections he passes. He even wrote last week he was having fun with some of the training they have gone through.
I find myself watching graduations on this site to see what it's going to be like when my son is done. And you know I get proud of all the young Sailors that go through graduation hall and find myself clapping for them when they enter and the cheers go crazy and then again when LIBERTY CALL LIBERTY CALL is announced! I can't wait and I'm sure you feel the same way. Many of the dads on this site and Navy for moms site has helped me get through the rough days and nights missing my boy. Once you get your first letter explaining what ship and division your son is on, Navy for moms will create a forum for his ship and division number and you can share and read some of the moms and dads from the same group and maybe give you hits when to expect a call or a letter. I go on both sites and these sites are just amazing run by some amazing people who care about your SR and their families.