(Red, White and) Blue Monday


Formerly a fashion statement, now a work requirement. My youngest child (who, technically, isn’t a child anymore) is leaving for Air Force Basic Training (aka boot camp, aka Hell) tomorrow. We’re not quite sure how long she’ll be gone, because after graduation, she’s due to attend two or three technical schools. The length of her absence depends on the availability of space at the schools. She could be gone for two months, she could be gone for six or more. We just don’t know. In the meantime, she’s leaving behind the Grandpea, whose loving care will be provided by the Pea’s father, Amadeus and me, among others. It takes a village to raise a child, and this kid’s got one the size of Bangladesh.

I’m incredibly proud of my daughter. She’s as strong as a steel beam, as determined to succeed as Moses was to get to the Promised Land. For her, the Promised Land is an expanse of G.I. Bills, education and a secure future for her and her toddlerette. It blows my mind that she’s made this decision. You may remember reading about this little hellion over the years (I’ll add some links at the end of this post in case you don’t). This is my wild child- she of tats and piercings and detentions and in-your-face arguments with teachers and principals, usually regarding her principles. She refused to even pledge allegiance to the flag for a while there. But here she is, just a few years later, ready to kick ass, defend and serve. She scored extremely high on her ASVAB exam, which is the reason they’re sending her to all of those schools.

Despite the fact that she’s gutsy and intelligent, I worry about her on an almost hourly basis. She’s lovely, she’s tiny, she’s a girl working amongst a bunch of Big Burly Guys. My little girl. Behind her tough-broad façade lies a gentle, trusting angel of a thing. Her heart is beautiful and marshmallowy soft, and she’s still at an age (twenty-two) that she sometimes gives it too freely. It’s a rite of passage that we all go through, those years in which we learn to make it on our own, discern who the good guys are and determine who we let into our circle. For me, it was a difficult age, and I’m having flashbacks of creeps and predators and soul suckers. I was a lot more naïve and confused (and stupid) than she is, but still…

They’re going to scream at my baby, those Big Mean Drill Sergeants. They’re going to make her run forty miles a day and sweat until she collapses like a wilted collard green. They’ll force her to wear granny panties, sleep under an itchy wool blanket, eat K-rations and scrub toilets with a toothbrush. Worst of all, they’re going to take away her hair products and makeup. They obviously don’t understand the power of femininity. The eyeliner pen is mightier than the sword.

Anyway…it’s been a rough week. Amadeus and I took her to dinner on Friday, invited her over on Sunday and she’s coming to hang out with me later today. She and her little nuclear family are clinging to each other for a few last hours, and we’re clinging too. Tomorrow, I’ll go with her to her base to see her off, and though it’s only about forty-five minutes from here, I’m guessing that the ride will seem as long as if we were driving to Potsdam (Germany, not New York). It’s a new chapter, an exciting time. We all know she’s going to excel. She has no doubt she’s made the right decision. It’s one of those retrospective deals, where in the end, we’ll all be thankful that she did it. But for now, we’re as blue as the square behind those stars on an American flag, the one she’ll be proudly saluting from here on out.

I’ve come here seeking solace and distraction. If you’re reading this, and you send me a few words of cheer– a joke, advice or a happy little line or two (or a quarter of a million dollars)– I’ll send you a coupon for a free copy of my e-book, Peculiar Rhymes and Intimate Observations. This offer ends tomorrow, December 4th. After that, I’m sure I’ll be okay. I think. I hope.

Cheer-Sending Options:

The Comments Section of this post

E-mail: moonbeammcqueen at yahoo dot com

Twitter: @moonbeammcqueen

Thanks so much, everyone– I hope you have a happy, healthy, wondrous week. ♥ ♥ ♥

A few wistful, long-ago posts about my daughter:

Mother-Daughter Tattoos

My Daughter: In Trouble Again

A Visit From My Daughter: The Worn Carpet Treatment

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24 thoughts on “(Red, White and) Blue Monday

  1. chris9911 says:

    hmmm, you wanna know what I really think? This is a problem when you write so darn well and are able to express all human senses/feelings into words. I’m starting worry about your proud daughter now. Heck I’m missing her already for leaving the nest, and she is not even my daughter.lol You and Amadeus did great job raising a proud patriotic daughter, she will do great!
    On a side note, this falling snowflake thing is really annoying.

  2. See? See? That’s just how fabulous she it. You miss her just by description. As much as I’d love to give credit to Amadeus, he had nothing to do with raising her. He and my daughter do love each other though, and are big buddies. This is a Major Miracle, since she used to want to punch most of the men I’ve ever dated in the face. With a hammer. Amadeus was her go-to guy for advice when she was considering enlistment.

    I love your comments! You so get a book. On a side note– how dare you diss my holiday snowflakes? They’re my seasonal WordPress highlight- I look forward to that blog dander all year long.

  3. ryoko861 says:

    Remember her first day of Kindergarten? Then 1st grade? Then she graduated high school? This is just like those days. Like you said, she’s starting a new chapter in her life. Believe me, she’s hurtin’ too. Leaving her family, her daughter especially. But this is something she needs to do. If she doesn’t, she’ll be miserable. She’ll be fine! Be happy for her! She’s going on new adventures! If she didn’t think she could do it, she wouldn’t have joined. She knows the stupid drill sergeant is just blowing up his ass to break her down. With her kindred spirit, she’ll be thinking “Yeah, buddy, up yours!”.

  4. Pat . says:

    Well, I did my regular search on “Moses”, expecting to find uplifting and righteous postings from true believers, but what do I find? A sneaky, cunning, blogger who drags in the religious hordes by putting in the most unsuitable tags that any heathen could ever conceive of. Your only hope for redemption is your daughter who will soon be able to wield a flaming machine-gun of righteousness to kill off enemies of our great nation (well, your great nation anyway).

  5. Ryoko, this IS like those days, only with guns and camo. Please don’t get me wrong– I’m extremely happy for her. She’s happy too, but you’re right- we’re all hurting (mostly because of the Pea). It’s just part of life, it’ll pass and we’ll go on. I’m just being selfishly sad right now. You just have no idea how much I enjoy her company. Even if she weren’t my daughter, I’d want her as a friend. And you’re right– she’s already geared up for the abuse, and is taking it in stride. She knows that those meanies are just doing their jobs.

    Book!

  6. Ahahahahah! Oh my gosh– um…I’m sorry Pat. Knowing your deep religiosity, it was not my intent to offend you, though I am flattered that you think I’m sneaky and cunning. Thank goodness my daughter will be able to Rambo my way to redemption.

    I know you bought a book already, but I’m sending you a coupon for another. You can gift someone.

  7. ryoko861 says:

    Even after all those turbulent years, you’ve managed to stay close to her! That’s a special relationship! Look forward to the stories she’ll bring home (I have a nephew that went into the Marines this past summer and was gone for 4 months…when his mom went down for graduation and returned home, she said he couldn’t stop talking….).

  8. mrs fringe says:

    (((((((Hugs))))))))) Moonbeam. This is hard stuff, even while you’re proud and loving her. It’s your baby, coming through hard times with strength and grace, making what I’m sure was a difficult and thoroughly examined choice. If she has half of your intelligence, creativity, and generous soul (and I more than suspect she does), she’ll be just fine. I don’t have any advice, let yourself hug her until you say goodbye, let yourself feel what you need to feel, and then deep breaths.

  9. I’m going to try to be at her graduation (she really wants us there). She can talk for twelve days straight afterward the ceremony, and I’ll welcome it!
    (She’s been over here all day– she and Amadeus are watching training videos on YouTube right now. I can’t bear to look.)

  10. (((((Hugs back))))) Mrs. Fringe. It’s so weird– we always used to joke about running away to Canadia if my son was ever called up to serve. My daughter was always an artsy, creative little kid, so I never considered that she’d do this. But I am so proud of her, for making up her own mind, and determining what she deems best for her future. She’s a wonderful person, and she’ll do great, although we’ve been laughing today while reading about what she’s about to go through. It’s hard to imagine her waking up at 4:45 a.m. and getting ready for her day in fifteen minutes. She and I are more slow, steady morning people, as in five cups of coffee and maybe, just maybe one eye will open. And for cripe’s sake, don’t ask us to think for the first hour of the day. Still, she is SO ready for this, very excited and up for the challenge.

    Ack– she and Amadeus are watching these horrible training videos! I’m going to go make dinner. I am hugging her an awful lot, but I won’t cry until we drop her off tomorrow morning. I promised.

    Thanks for your wonderful words. Sending you a coupon. I hope you like the e-book.

  11. Lynnette Struble says:

    I have “shipped off” five children into adulthood and its choices (the eldest of whom, Lorena Streeter, you know. It was she who sent me a link to you weeks ago, but I’m shy sometimes about approaching strangers). I have with trepidation and pride seen two grandchildren into the military, one of them leaving my first great-grandson behind. I get it. None of it was easy; all the goodbyes brought proud/sad/happy-for-them tears to my eyes. I bet your strong ties to your daughter will stand both of you in good stead in the months to come. You will, after all, be grandmothering (yes, I made that one up) one very precious part of your daughter, the Pea, as you call her. I will keep your baby girl, her baby girl, you, and Amadeus in my prayers–that is my metta meditations, asking that you be well, that you know joy, and that you dwell in peace. A warm cyber hug, too.

  12. mrs fringe says:

    Don’t watch the videos, just enjoy the moment. Though I must say, with your description of your mornings, you and your daughter sound like my kind of gals :) <3

    I'm sure I will love the book.

  13. I do know of Lorena, and if your other kids are as kind and smart as she is, you’ve done a great job! I can’t imagine raising five kids (two nearly did me in)! You must be very proud of your family. “Proud/sad/happy-for-them” is a great description of how this feels. My daughter and her crew just left here, and I’m exhausted from emotion, but glad she’s spending her last few hours with us.

    Thanks so much for the prayers, meditations and encouragement! I appreciate it so much. I’ll email you soon with a book coupon.

  14. Actually, it’s been a sweet, hilarious night of video watching (though I couldn’t view half of them), snuggling with the Pea, listening to my daughter sing the Air Force Theme Song and watching her lip sync all six articles of the Code of Conduct. Oh my gosh– she knows her stuff. I’ll bet you’re one of our kind of gals too. I’m supposed to wake up at 0530 hours (note new command of military lingo) to take her to her base. No idea how I’m going to do it. I guess I’ll start the coffee now.

  15. mrs fringe says:

    Very glad the evening went well. I imagine having the Pea makes it easier and harder for you, all at the same time. <3

    I actually get up at 0530 by choice most days–so I can have that uninterrupted-no-conversation-required coffee time, lol.

    Safe travels to you and your daughter today!

  16. chris9911 says:

    I miss her because of YOUR description :) Come on, Amadeus is a really good man, what young girl couldn’t learn something from a good guy like that :)
    Moonbeam, that is bad arse, I win a book from you? And here I was feeling all bummed out for not receiving a single award from you in 2012!! lol. I am looking forward to it in my inbox/mailbox :)
    Sorry on the snowflake comment, I was actually referring to what wordpress is doing on all their pages, its slowing my tablet down :(

  17. Thanks, Mrs. Fringe. It went just fine. She, the GrandPea, Baby Daddy and I drove her to the base, then to the airport to see her off. She just called from San Antonio and all is well. The fun began about fifteen minutes ago, when they picked her up at the USO. She’s going to do great. Her dad has been texting and calling her almost non-stop for days, but I really feel less worried than if she’d gone travelling alone around Europe, or hiking in the Andes. This was her decision, and I trust her judgment. I only cried a little, and that was because the family of some other airman were almost in hysterics, hugging and wailing and crying like little girls. Oh wait– they were little girls.

  18. Amadeus is a great man. I think she learns loads from him, but that only started a few years ago, when we met. He didn’t raise her, but he definitely influences her.

    Sending out book coupons tomorrow (I hope!). Snow slows everything down, but it looks as though that’s the only white stuff I’m going to see this year. It’s been in the sixties and seventies all week. I hope Santa’s sleigh is all-terrain.

  19. ashley says:

    I’m pretty close to the cut-off for the book coupon :) but I really just wanted to thank your daughter for the sacrifices she will be making! It sounds like she can handle anything that comes her way!

  20. Hi Ashley! No, you’re not too late– I’m going to need consoling at least until midnight (which is the official cut-off). Thank you for your kind words– you get a book!

  21. chris9911 says:

    MOONBEAM!! I just had a brain fart. I think it will be a grande idea if you create a ‘book coupon award’ to be handed out like all the other types blog recognitions. Friends that participate can link the image back to your site where you talk about the book? You can get creative with the instructions and the rules, but I think it will be a great way to start promoting your book. I hope you read this comment :)

  22. Of course I read your comment, Chris, and it’s a wonderful idea! However, I think you should read the book first. It would be a dubious honor! Maybe with the next one, or the next one. But I really love this idea. Thank you so much for putting on your thinking cap for me.

  23. Oh my, I can’t imagine. But then I birthed a Private Benjamin — albeit one now 28 and involved with an officer candidate (graduates next week) who wants to fly (gulp) Apaches. My hair is on end for both of them.

    I think my hair’s on end for them too! One of my brothers was a Naval Aviator for many years, and my uncle was a fighter pilot in the Marines (he eventually retired from the Pentagon and became a commercial pilot). For decades, my other brother was a crew chief on a Marine helicopter. Now my daughter’s at Air Force training and her boyfriend’s about to go in too. It all puzzles me– that aviation part of our gene pool never splashed me. I’m terrified to fly.

    I wish you, your Private Benjamin and her officer candidate the very best!

  24. wisejourney says:

    Rather liking the snowflakes drifting across the screen.

    I’m glad! I think they fly until the first week of January. I like them too.

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