I have been silent here for awhile now.
It wasn’t for lack of desire to share, but more about the desire to spend as much time as possible enjoying time with my family while all five of us were still under the same roof day in and day out. We had Gabe’s graduation open house (in person…albeit with a smaller gathering than we would have invited under non-coronavirus circumstances), and then, just two short weeks later, we handed him over to the U.S. Army.
Actually, we didn’t hand him over. He chose to go.
It’s been just one week since he left for basic training, and man, I miss him!
Granted, even when he was still living at home 100 percent of the time, he wasn’t home 100 percent of the time. In fact, he was often at friends’ houses…or work…or playing basketball at the park…or meeting friends at Taco Bell or Dairy Queen.
Still, I can feel his absence in our home. I miss his dry sense of humor, and the fact that I have to ask him to repeat himself 14 times a day, due to his low voice and my difficulty hearing low tones. I miss talking to him at 4 a.m. when I would catch him in the kitchen, he getting a snack and I finishing my work for the night. We often had our best conversations in the wee hours of the morning.
Now, I have no idea where he lays his head at night, what time he’s awakened to the sound of the drill sergeant (or whoever might be in charge of waking the trainees for the day), what he has for lunch, if he has blisters on his feet from running so much, the names of trainees he’s befriended or if he thinks about his family while he’s gone.
It’s uncomfortable. As his mom, I have always been there for him, ready to answer his questions, run to the store to grab some medicine when he’s sick and encourage him when times were hard. I can’t do that now, when I don’t even know if he’s sick or struggling.
In my heart, of course, I know he’s fine. Mentally, he’s a strong kid (er, man), he enjoys challenges, and he has the physical strength to make it through boot camp just fine. But I’m his mom. And as my own father says, I’m a professional worrier. It’s not something I’m proud of, but try as I might, I can’t shake the worry.
On the bright side, I still have three-fourths of my family still home with me. My husband, daughter, younger son and I will soon adapt to our new normal: Farnsley, party of four. But we’ll be eagerly awaiting the day we get to see Gabe in person again — when he comes home around Christmas.
I can only hope the next six months go by as quickly as the first 18 years of his life did.