And it's cold, darn it!
Actually, only part of my heart is in Illinois. I do still have family here. But the lovely young lady who is my daughter headed off for Navy boot camp Tuesday, January 6, and it certainly felt like my heart was being ripped out at the time.
I knew it would be hard. She's left home before - for a semester at a prep school in Southern California, for a couple of weeks to attend Summer Seminars for both the Naval Academy and the Air Force Academy, for a week to attend Girls' State, three weeks in Europe, and various and sundry time spent with out-of-town friends and family.
But this time was different - this time I knew she wouldn't be coming back to live at home when she was finished. Plus, this time there would be 100% more yelling at her where she was going!
I started the waterworks a couple of weeks before she left - trying to restrict myself to crying when she was not around. In the shower, in bed, in the pantry huddled over the trash can ('cause it's a nice sized pantry, but it's not big enough to wallow in without huddling over the trash can). The day we took her to the hotel where she spent her last night in town before shipping out, I broke the no-crying-in-front-of-her rule. But she wiped away a tear or two herself, so that was okay.
I'm doing a little better than I expected. Sure, I was a hot mess for awhile, but I've bucked up and am doing the ol' stiff upper lip thing. When we got "the box" (they sent back all of her civilian clothes in a box right away), I didn't weep hysterically as I had assumed I would. Seeing the hurriedly scrawled "love you" inside the box was wonderful - we probably won't get any actual correspondence for another week or so.
She's a strong gal. And this is what she has wanted to do since middle school - serve her country in the U.S. Navy. So, holding it together and being cheerfully supportive is the least I can do for her. I know she can do anything for 8 weeks as long as she knows she's got love and support from her friends and family.
And I'm right - she called home today (I'm soooo jealous that my husband was home sick and that he was able to talk to her!). She needs information so the Navy can complete her security clearance (she'll be in an intelligence job when she finishes school after boot camp). She had enough time to tell him that she's doing great and everything is going fine with her basic training.
That's my gal!