|Back: Joe and Matt; Middle: Clara, Elsie, Mary; Front: John, Donna, Inge, Stella, Sophie|
I haven't been writing much lately. I'm busy getting my life together after the many years of behindedness.
Like that word? Behindedness. Say it loudly and proudly. Behindedness.
I like it. It's my life in a nutshell. But it's getting better. Slowly but surely.
But we have many things happening around here.
Matt graduated the other day. Over a week ago already. We successfully pulled off a Taco Bar open house, but not without help from many.
Connie and Lana spent many hours helping me clean the garage and house; and plan and orchestrate all the arrangements; and collect needed items such as tables, chairs, garbage bins, coolers, etc; they cooked up taco meat and made bars; and they replaced the worn indoor/outdoor carpet on our garage steps with some new-to-us nicer carpet and also extended it all the way to the outside door.
Louisa's friend, Rachel, one of our "adopted" children, came and helped in the house for a day. Among other things, she braved the kids' rooms.
Joe's mom and dad and all our kids helped with all the last minute setting up on Saturday and Sunday between graduation Friday night, and the open house Sunday afternoon. Joe's dad mowed lawn and other outdoor and garage things. Joe's mom did indoor cleaning and organizing; and helped set up the garage. Joe's mom and Clara cut up all the vegies for the toppings.
My friends, Shirley and Marlene, brought bars; and Clara made a big batch of macaroons. Joe's mom Marlene kept the bars stocked up, and did various other serving tasks, so I could relax and enjoy my day.
And I did enjoy it. I had a blast. I never imagined that hosting something big like that would be so much fun. But it would never have happened without all the help. I thank everyone from the bottom of my heart. And I'm sure there were others who helped, too, to my apologies if I've forgotten anyone by name.
And now Matt is off to join the Marines. He is in Fargo at this minute, awaiting his flight to San Diego. Or perhaps he's already in the air. Marine Corps Recruit Training is 13 weeks long.
The first week is orchestrated chaos. Meaning the plan exists, the chaos is intentional, but from the descriptions I've read, it is chaos to those coming in. These kids have no contact with the outside world during that week. No watches. No set schedule. Meetings and paper work; strange sleep hours and locations, and not much of it; drill, or the beginnings of drill, since the recruits start out with very little understanding of and experience with working together. By the end of the week, they will be assigned to a platoon, working and learning under a collection of Drill Instructors, who each play a role, from father figure to bad guy, and various points in between.
After that the training consists of three phases, the first three weeks being the most grueling and overwhelming. They have usually settled into the routine jumping when and how high the instructor demands. They've mastered or at least gained familiarity with the many terms and rules and methods, and the history and traditions of the Marine Corps. These are memorized with rote drilling and mnemonic aids. Recruits also have a week of swim training and a couple of weeks of rifle marksmanship training, during both kinds of training there is alleged to be less yelling.
The Crucible a 54-hour field exercise, takes place the final week. in which the recruit must put to use all the skills he has learned in training. Upon completion of The Crucible, the recruits receive their the Eagle, Globe and Anchor pin, and are called a Marine for the first time.
And after that, the last Thursday of Recruit Training is family day, when family members are encouraged to come spend the day with their recruit. Friday is graduation. We hope to be able to attend, but we're still working out how exactly that will happen. In the last few months, I've been forced to admit that our van is probably not up to the trip. But we're praying God will work something out for us in this regard.
When I left Matt in Fargo yesterday he was excited, and of course nervous and apprehensive of the unknown. And of those moments the recruiters advised would come. Those moments when the recruit wonders why on earth he ever wanted to become a Marine, and is tempted to throw in the towel. Keep Matt in your prayers. He will need them at those moments.
Matt's Great-Grandpa, Stanley Kindler, was a Marine in the Pacific Theater during World War II. Matt feels honored to follow in his Grandpa's footsteps. But also, for that reason, he feels a little extra pressure to succeed, in order to make Grandpa proud.