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Valerie Sweet Avatar

Mother

Boot Camp: [Part 1] Boot Camp is Hard on Parents

Posted By: Valerie Sweet 09-09-10

 
I’M A MARINE MOM: I have tips and advice for new recruit parents. I am a 55-year-old Marine mother. My brother, whom I raised, did seven years in the Marines from 1976 to1983. His last station was near Victorville, California. My oldest son served for years as a Marine from 2000 to 2004. His last station was San Diego, California. Now, my last baby is completing Marine boot camp this month in San Diego. I admit it – my boys are mama’s boys from start to finish. Before they went to boot camp, there was no one they respected more or loved more than their mama. And when they completed boot camp, there was no one they appreciated more than their mama – and that was due to the morale and respect the Drill Instructors taught them. The Drill Instructors are very special men that your child will despise through boot camp, and deeply respect and honor after boot camp. You may find that boot camp is harder on you than it is on your recruit.

BOOT CAMP IS HARD ON PARENTS: Boot Camp is the hardest thing your child will ever do. It’s also the hardest thing you will ever do. As a Marine Mom who has supported the brother I raised and two sons through Marine Boot Camp and training, I know how it hard it is to wait for the first letter from boot camp. I know how hard it is to read those first letters when your son or daughter sounds depressed, upset, and defeated. I know how hard it is to read that your son or daughter feels like they made a mistake and want to come home. I know how hard it is when your son or daughter says they have an injury or a cold or the flu and do not want the Drill Instructors to know because they don’t want to redo several weeks of boot camp they may miss by going to medical. I hope the things I write here help you. I spent many nights in tears, missing my babies and wondering if I had made the right decision pushing and encouraging them to become Marines. I can honestly say, each time it was the absolute best decision my recruit and I ever made. None of us have any regrets. But that does not make the homesickness disappear for the Marine or the heartache disappear for the parent. It’s simply something we all endure. However, all the hugs and kisses after each absence almost fill that hole. This written in several parts due to word limitations for this forum – Part 1: Marine Mom, Boot Camp is Hard on Parents; Part 2: Boot Camp Letters Are Slow; Part 3: What to Write; Part 4: Drill Instructor Letter, Phone Calls from Your Recruit; Part 5: Recruits Hating Boot Camp, Boot Camp Injuries; Part 6: Getting Use to Away Time, Recruit Privacy Issues.

CONTACT ME: [See Parts 1, 2, 3, 4 , 5, 6 for more tips.] I’m happy to answer questions, commiserate, share your triumphs and joys of your recruit, help you provide encouragement; anything at all … just let me know.

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Comments (14)

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Sandy Gordon Avatar

Mother

Hello,
My son left for Boot Camp on August 28th. His dad and I are surviving. His letters actually sound better than I thought they would. we are still counting the days until we see him though. But today I received a letter that said he had his wisdom teeth removed. Is this a normal process? All my kids went to the dentist every 6 months and never has there been a problem with his wisdom teeth.

Posted by: Sandy Gordon on 09/20/2011

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Davese Galla-Rini Avatar

Mother

My son just left 3 days ago for MCRD San Diego, can I send him letters now or do I have to wait for him to send it first. They never gave me any address but I can find it via internet.

Posted by: Davese Galla-Rini on 09/10/2011

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Dell Crumpton Avatar

Mother

Please contact me so I can ask you some more questions. Thank you.
Dell
My son is in Parris Island now.

Posted by: Dell Crumpton on 07/22/2011

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Valerie Sweet Avatar

Mother

That's hard to do since links do not go through so I am unable to post my email address. Please ask the question here and I'll do my best to answer it for you.

Posted by: Valerie Sweet on 07/25/2011

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Cynthia Horton Avatar

Mother

Hey Valerie! Thanks for the information that you posted. My son left on June 28th and I have finally received his address. Someone had told me that a good idea is to number the envelopes so that my son would read them in order. I've been doing this by dating the envelope on the back. Now someone else told me this will get him in trouble with his DI. Do you think that it will? The last thing I wanted to do was call attention to him and now I find out that I may have done that inadvertently. I feel so guilty!

Posted by: Cynthia Horton on 07/05/2011

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Valerie Sweet Avatar

Mother

Dear Cynthia Horton: Definitely date the envlopes. I did! I also wanted him to read them in order. Sadly, today's kids do not know snail mail and they do not know to look for the postmark - probably don't even know what a postmark is LOL. I wrote the date of the day I wrote the letter on every letter and package I sent, right above the stamp and about a half inch high. It will not call attention to him. If a drill instructor picks him out, it's just because it's his poor day to get picked on and nothing you did will cause it.

Posted by: Valerie Sweet on 07/06/2011

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Barbara Wright Avatar

Mother

My son left for boot camp Monday morning. Last week was very hard for me since he was spending all his spare time with his friends and I wasn't getting what I felt as that last bit of time with him, but I understand. It didn't make it any easier. Sunday evening we had to take him to the recruiting office at 7:30 p.m. and he was gone by 7:50. Waited all day Monday for that phone call saying he made it safe. It finally came in at 9:30 Monday night. I had to say hello 3 times before he could hear me due to all the instructions being given by the drill instructors and all the recruits yelling "YES SIR!" He read the script beautifully though he sounded extremely scared. That was the hardest part for me so far, him sounding scared. No mother wants to hear fear in their child's voice. I will be getting an address for him on Friday evening so will have a little bit of a connection. Hopefully he will write. I'm curious where he is now and what he is doing at this point. General concensus is that he is in receiving but that is all that is known. Does he have his uniforms yet? Is he walking around in the same clothes he had on when he left Sunday (yuck)? The only thing I know for sure is that his head is shaved bald. If you know kind of what he is doing this first week I would love to know. I thank you for posting your experience and advice. I look forward to reading the rest of your postings.

Posted by: Barbara Wright on 06/15/2011

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Valerie Sweet Avatar

Mother

Your son is doing fine. Trust me. He has been assigned everything he will need for boot camp including all clothes, glasses, medical and dental needs. He may have sounded scared when he called but the only thing he was worried about was yelling loud enough into the phone so his drill instructor didn't holler at him. His clothes, etc., were assigned to him and he changed into them that very first day.

Posted by: Valerie Sweet on 07/06/2011

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Barbara Wright Avatar

Mother

Valerie, I'm doing better. I have had 3 letters plus the form letter. Haven't heard from him in a week so I'm figuring he's either writing others who have written him or is just busy. I found the training matrix online and that helps too to know what he's doing. Thank you for your comments.

Posted by: Barbara Wright on 07/06/2011

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Joy Morgan Avatar

Mother

I'm so glad I came across your comment. My son is in boot camp San Diego also. It was hard for me to let him go. He made the decision all on his own, and now all I can do is support him. I'm very proud of him, but at the same time apprehensive about his future, and scared for his safety later on. So far, he seems to enjoy it. He was sick at first, but by the time I got his first letter, he was fine. I generally receive about 2 letters a week now, and the only negative thing he has had to say, besides being homesick of course, is that he doesn't get along with his squad leader. His exact words were " the guy has it out for me". I told him to suck it up, that's what it was all about, things would change after boot camp, etc. Now it has been two weeks since I've heard anything from him. I have still been writing, but no one in the family has received a letter from him. My mom looked at some info. on the internet and said that week 8 appeared to be field training and he was probably out in the field and unable to write. I also talked to his recruiter and an ex-marine and the recruiter said he was probably just being lazy! The ex-marine said the same thing my mom said. I'm wondering if there is ever a time they have to go for awhile without being able to send mail, because this is driving me nuts!!!! I'm wondering if I'll be able to make it if/when he is sent overseas and I'm unable to communicate with him. I know he's in good hands right now, but it's still worrying me. A retired Marine told me that "no news is good news" but that's a little hard to take for a single mom, separated for the first time, from her only son.

Posted by: Joy Morgan on 05/15/2011

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Kimberley Skinner Avatar

Mother

THANK YOU-THANK YOU-THANK YOU for these "notes". My son leaves for Parris Island, S.C. this coming Sunday and it is driving me crazy..I just happened across your stories (1-6) and it has made me feel so much better..if i could hug you I would. You are a blessing!

Thank you,
Kimberley Skinner

Posted by: Kimberley Skinner on 03/13/2011

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Jeanne Miller Avatar

Mother

My son will depart tomorrow from Baltimore tomorrow. Is your son leaving from Baltimore too? If so, they will be on the same bus! One of my two former Marines sons-in-law drove him to the hotel where the recruits are staying until tomorrow. He told me about the one call -- which I will get at 4AM!
Jean

Posted by: Jeanne Miller on 03/20/2011

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Kris McLain Avatar

Mother

Bless you Valerie for your posts. My son left 10/18/10 for San Diego and it was very helpful to read this post. I am very proud of him but miss him like crazy. He is our oldest and the first to leave. It makes it so much harder not being able to talk to him. I am going to read the rest of your post also so I will have a better idea of what to expect from the different stages.
Thanks again.
Kris

Posted by: Kris McLain on 10/22/2010

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christina n/a Avatar

Spouse

Hello valerie.. i think i need a lot of help and inspiration right now.. i am going through a tough time. My boyfriend left to boot camp on september 13 to south carolina paris island. and since than i cry every night of how much i miss him and how i dont know what to do with myself. i feel so empty and alone... i mean i am proud of what he is doing and i support him of course. its just hard being away from him and with no contact at all but through letters... i have yet to recieve anything from him and i am hoping i do.. i go to the mail everyday hoping i will find something from him.... i just want to hear from him and know he is okay.. i want graduation to come so i can be with him again and see him and hug him.. I LOVE HIIIMMM ;'(....... and i just hope he come back a better man, faithful, respectful and loving... im a mess and i dont know what to do.. this website has helped me a little by talking with other families... but i still am depress

Posted by: christina n/a on 09/22/2010

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