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Scott Van Natta Avatar


First Letter - Not Good

Posted By: Scott Van Natta 12-10-11


Well, we were so anxious to get a letter from our son at Parris Island (left on Nov 29th 2011 and we missed his call), and yesterday it came. Now we feel worse because he wrote about how horrible it is and how much he hates it and "wants to come home so bad it's killing him." I know everyone on this site said that the first letter would be like that, then it would get better, but that doesn't make it any easier. How do you respond to a letter like that without making him feel worse? Do you ignore the negative and stress the positive (which may make him think we don't care), or acknowledge the negative and possibly make it worse... We ended up sending letters immediately (to get them to him ASAP) and acknowledged how hard it is, but stressed our belief that he can and will overcome the difficulties and make it to graduation. We just want to make sure we don't make things any worse by trying to help and saying the wrong thing.

Now we are hoping that we get another letter soon so that we can see if things are getting better for him. He wanted nothing more than to serve his country as a Marine. How long will it be until he stops regretting/hating being there and sounds positive again?

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Comments (3)

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Sandra Pasco Avatar


We got some letters where our sdon said it was hard, and there were parts he did not like, but when we wrote back to him we just said we were proud and knew he could overcome any challenges. We stressed how strong he is in body mind and spirit and kept it positive.
He has begun week 5 now, and the letters are getting more positive every day. Around weeek 3 I started to relax and look more and more forward to his letters!

Posted by: Sandra Pasco on 12/13/2011




kammie sifonte Avatar


i know the feeling! it is of course almost expected that their first letter will be something like that. it is ok.the first weeks are the hardest because not only are they homesick, but as cruel as it sounds those weeks are designed to separate them from any time of connection to the "outside". the best thing you can do is remind them that they are brave, wonderful men for their choice, and encourage them with thoughts of the future (i.e. graduation family day). even reminding them what home is like, little things are what count like stories about your day, drawings from the kiddies things like that. i have found that my recruit loves the little horoscopes from the news paper (tear it right out put it in the envelope!) or if your son is into sports you might want to give him an update. the "best" thing i have given my recruit so far is a hand made calendar-take some lose leaf or paper and just write the dates until he graduates(leave a little space so he can write notes or cross off the days as they go by, you might want to put birthdays or special occasions on there too-those are things that they don't get while there, small things that YOU can provide! puts smiles on their faces.

also start sending stamps and envelops (yes i am 100 % sure this is fine he may not know to ask, but i promise you it's fine put 20 envelopes and 20 stamps in any size manilla envelope and send it out!

i know how it is, the first weeks are most difficult, i sear it gets better. god bless your son and make sure to remind him what a great service he is doing for our country, and that men and women like me appreciate his sacrifices.

another thing frequently send to my recruit are "mole skins" you can buy them at the drug sore open it up and stick them in a manilla-they are to prevent or help blisters form the boots! (the are just pieces of felt with a sticky side essentially)

Posted by: kammie sifonte on 12/12/2011




Community Manager Avatar


Mr. Van Natta, welcome to! We appreciate your participation on and thank you for sharing your story with our community. Please refer to the comments on this story: []. I hope they help and please comment on stories and reach out to other parents on the site. We hope that you continue to update us as your son continues his journey through boot camp.. -LifeAsAMarine Community Manager

Posted by: Community Manager on 12/12/2011