Thursday, November 14, 2013

Wake Up Call

Tyler swearing in for Active Duty.
Tonight Tyler called me for the first time since training began. He sounded sleep deprived but positive. He’s sharing a room with two other Officer Trainee Candidates, one with prior Air Force service. After going to sleep around midnight last night, he was rudely awoken at 0430 and given 1 minute to brush his teeth and shave. For anyone who knows Tyler’s hair… that’s a big deal. After they finished getting ready, the OTs had a ceremony outside. Tyler said that at 0500 hours the national anthem sounds pretty pitchy.

Not surprisingly, Tyler has already figured out how to experience the comforts of home at OTS. In his MRE meal, he received peanut butter and a package of M&Ms. He put the peanut butter on a spoon and dunked it into the bag of M&Ms creating his favorite childhood snack.

Everyone says the first two weeks of training are the hardest. Here’s to hoping that’s the case: 1 day down, 13 days to go.

Celebrating with the Family! 

And So it Begins

On Sunday, Tyler and I celebrated his birthday and going away. It was such a special and encouraging time spent with family and friends. We are so lucky to have a supportive, enduring "fan club". Tyler got Legos for his birthday and in typical Tyler fashion, he played with the Legos until 11pm and then began packing for his three-month training program.

Monday morning we began the journey that marked the start of this new adventure. Filled with anticipation, excitement, and a touch of fear, we embarked to Maxwell Air Force Base in Montgomery AL. Along the way we stopped at the Duck Commander Warehouse. So much fun! Ok, yes, a little cheesy, but awesome to see where our favorite parts of the show were filmed. Most of our trek consisted of me quizzing Tyler over the information he was required to memorized; the Airman’s Creed, the Core Values, and the ranks of officers and enlisted service members. We also learned the Air Force Hymn (Off We Go…) and sang it very loudly and proudly for about 100 miles. Monday night in Montgomery, we had dinner with a fellow Officer Trainee and his wife. It was reassuring to make friends who are experiencing the same struggles, joys, and questions. Tyler and I are ecstatic to continue making friends and share this experience with others.

Tuesday was difficult. As soon as I woke up, I felt the finality of the situation. Our old, boring, “civilian” life had ended and our new, fast-paced, adventurous journey was beginning. I also knew that in just a few hours I would be leaving Tyler, for longer than we had ever been separated. We spent the day on base getting the final pieces of Tyler’s uniforms. Let me tell you, this is not an easy task. The first time we went to the clothing sales store, we spent four and a half hours there and we didn’t even get everything he needed. It’s a continual scavenger hunt to find the right size, fit, and color to go with each of the four mandatory uniforms. We also drove around the base to see where Tyler will be spending the next 14 weeks of his life. Let me tell you, not what I envisioned! It was beautiful! It looked like a college campus. His “dorms” look brand new and are directly off of a golf course. Seeing where he would be living and working during OTS put my mind at ease. As I boarded my flight my heart broke a little knowing that we would return to each other as different people. The tiny American Eagle flight was filled with a group of new enlisted Air Force service men and women headed to San Antonio for training. I was grateful for the opportunity to meet these brave young men and women, and feel pride for Tyler’s and their service to our country. True to form, Tyler finished his last night of freedom by falling asleep to Batman.