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Valerie Sweet Avatar

Mother

Boot Camp [Part 2] : Waiting for that first letter - how long?

Posted By: Valerie Sweet 09-09-10

 
BOOT CAMP LETTERS ARE SLOW: Relax and quit stressing about mail because the first letter takes a while. In fact, the first letter will not even be a letter but rather a pre-typed form letter stating the address and short do’s and don’ts. Example: If your recruit starts boot camp on the 27th of January, your first real letter will arrive around February 8th. That’s about two full weeks from the day he leaves. I recommend you begin writing letters to him from the very first day he leaves. Just write a nice one or two page letter each day or every other day, place it in an envelope and stamp it, and have it ready to mail. By the time his address gets sent you in that form letter, before he even sends that first handwritten letter of his own, you will have a small stack of letters ready to send to him. I CANNOT BEGIN TO EMPHASIZE HOW IMPORTANT THESE LETTERS TO YOUR CHILD ARE! When you receive the form letter with the address, start placing a letter a day in the mail for your recruit. Letters take approximately five days each way. If a holiday invades that five days, then it is even longer. Be sure to tell your recruit in that very first letter that it takes five to seven days for each of your letters to reach him and for his to reach you. If you have a stack of letters ready, then it’s easier to be that mom that sends a letter every single day to her child. Think about your child standing with all the others in the platoon waiting for their name to be called for mail. Some of those boys get a letter every single day, and others … only get a letter a week or no mail at all. Don’t let your boy be the one without mail. It is the greatest source of inspiration and support they can receive during boot camp. Now remember this: you may receive several letters from your son prior to him receiving any of yours, in which he says he has not gotten any letters and wonders why no one is writing. It’s heartbreaking to get that from him, but keep in mind that our children were raised in an instant society of texts and cell phones. Many of them have never written a real snail mail letter before. They have no concept of the time involved in sending and receiving letters. You will have to explain that to most of them. You can help them receive more letters by planning ahead a little at their high school graduation. Since both my sons enlisted during their senior high school year, I printed up address labels with my recruit’s name and my home address, placed the labels on the back of his graduation photos and handed them out to all his friends. I then forwarded all letters to my son during boot camp from his friends. Many of my recruit’s friends wrote at least one letter each. The more letters they receive the better your child’s morale will be. Stock up on stamps. I use about six books of stamps for each boot camp. I even write my son’s friends who enlist, because I know how important it is to them. If you are not much of a letter writer, just send cards. Send funny cards, musical cards, cartoons, the funny page from the newspaper, anything at all that is upbeat and makes them smile – but send them something every day. If you just cannot do anything but send cards, then enlist someone else in the family to add a letters to the cards – a sister or sibling, aunt or uncle, grandparent, any one. And don’t expect too many letters in return. My baby, this last recruit, wrote me several times a week, but my first son sent maybe a letter a week, if that. The recruits are very, very busy, and totally exhausted the whole boot camp, and have very little time to write. So tell them it’s okay to just love the letters you send and only write when they can. Then appreciate every tiny morsel of a letter you receive. I teased my son and told him I was like Gollum in Lord of the Rings when his letters came. I would run to my room with it whispering, “My precious, my precious.” He found that so funny, and it inspired him to write more. My husband wrote our son that every one stood against the walls when the mail came so I didn’t knock them down getting to the mailman to see if I had a letter from him.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 (12)

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Ana Morales Avatar

Mother

Thank you so much Valerie, for this valuable information. My son just left to boot camp yesterday and I cannot believe how much my heart aches. I will try to keep busy until I receive his first letter. Last night when he called, all I kept screaming to him was " I love you"...This so hard!

Posted by: Ana Morales on 01/08/2013

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Stephanie n/a Avatar

Spouse

my husband, Brandon, left for boot yesterday 11/26/12. His graduation date is set for 2/22/13 if everything thing goes as planned, which is 10 days after our first child is to be born. let me tell you the hardest parts were sitting at the gate with him knowing the minutes were ticking down, hearing his group get called, watching him walk away and board the plane, and watching it leave the tarmac. his recruiter told me it would take a while for us to even hear back from him. Brandon told me that he will try to write me every day that he can, but not to expect to much back and not to get discouraged from writing him. Thank you so much for the information. I just have to ask. Does this get easier the further into bootcamp? What can I do to make it any easier ? I've barely stopped crying since he left =(

Posted by: Stephanie n/a on 11/27/2012

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Kim Flint Avatar

Mother

Hey stephanie im a recruit mom.
My son left same day so will graduate with your husband.

Posted by: Kim Flint on 12/06/2012

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Morgan Adams Avatar

Spouse

when does the typed letter first get here?
my husband left for boot camp 8/13/12 and its already felt like a year.

Posted by: Morgan Adams on 08/16/2012

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Stephanie Walters Avatar

Mother

My son left on July 16th for bootcamp at Parris Island. I have been stalking the mailman everyday this week waiting for that first letter. I have cried everyday after the mail has arrived that there has been nothing from my son. Thank you so much for your post. So helpful in helping me realize that i need to be patient. We have a huge family ready to write letters and i have been writing since the day he left. I love the idea of sending cards or funny articles! Thanks again!

Posted by: Stephanie Walters on 07/27/2012

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4

 
 
 

Bria Mason Avatar

Other

My boyfriend just went to bootcamp at parris island , on Monday the 18th...
It's been hard.. And only been just a day.. I need advice on how to cope with everything. I know it's only 3 months but after seeing each other and talking non stop for a good year. It's hard for me. I never been through something like this. And I promised i will stick through out this summer and be waitin until he gets back. I live in Delaware and along with advice I would like to know how long do you think it'll take for me to receive a letter from him?
I would appreciate your response. Thank you soon much

Posted by: Bria Mason on 06/18/2012

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Karen Ettien Avatar

Mother

Hi! My son is currently in boot camp, on Parris Island. I would like to write a letter. His name is Joseph Isaac Ettien, and he is in Third Battalion. Could you please provide the rest of the info., so I can write him?Thanks in advance for your help!
A concerned mom in Johnstown,Pa.
Karen Ettien

Posted by: Karen Ettien on 06/12/2012

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kathy johnson Avatar

Mother

this was so helpfull bcause i had no idea

Posted by: kathy johnson on 06/01/2012

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Lacy Houze Avatar

Family

Hello Valarie,

I've read your posts 1-6 on boot camp and I want to tell you thank you , this information has set my mind at ease. My marine is my little brother who is 17 years younger than me and more like a son than a brother. My family and I dropped him off at the recruiters office on sunday and today marks his first day of boot camp. My mother is not cooping well at all and I have to be the strong one and keep her spirts high through out this adventure and decided to learn as much as possible about what we are facing. I am going to share with my fmaily everything I've learned from your posts. But I have a question. You mentioned writing everday which I will start today.. And you also mentioned sending him (by brother) tips on up coming classes or traing. Where can I find that information (the tips) and how do I know what class he will be taking next to send him the tips on time?

Posted by: Lacy Houze on 09/19/2011

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Lori Reichelderfer Avatar

Mother

Hi Valerie,
I enjoyed reading your comment, and love your sense of humor! Luckily, there's no one else in my house but me, so I definitely wont run over anyone getting to the mail box! My daughter went to bootcamp Jul 11th, and I received 2 letters from her in exactly 9 days, just like she said on that first scripted phone call:) One was the form letter; the other was her own letter. She is enjoying it so far, but I know tougher days are ahead, and all I can do is pray for her and write her letters of encouragement.

Posted by: Lori Reichelderfer on 07/22/2011

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Jeanne Miller Avatar

Mother

How will I know his address before I get the first form letter?
I have no idea what his address is, and though he has a slightly unusual last name, I am sure there must be numbers or some other identifying information other than name, or how would all the John Smiths every get the right letter!
Jean

Posted by: Jeanne Miller on 03/20/2011

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Valerie Sweet Avatar

Mother

You get the address when they send it to you at about the two week mark. If you send anything prior to that, they will not give it to him until the others begin receiving mail, too. You cannot circumvent this process. The separation of your child from you making him dependent totally on his drill instructors is an important part of the process. I assure you - your baby will come back a very polite and confident young man from this experience. I have sent two boys through the Marines. They both agree it was the best experience of their lives and gave them more coping skills and job abilities than anything else in their life ever has. The address you receive will be specific to your son's group. They gather all the boys together for mail call each day - so be sure you send your child a letter or card every single day.

Posted by: Valerie Sweet on 03/21/2011

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