Growing up with a mom who celebrated every birthday, milestone, and accomplishment, I learned at an early age that no feat was too large or small to go un-noticed. Mom taught me to enjoy the big and little things in life. And I liked it! As a mother of four, God blessed me with many opportunities to commemorate these passages of life also.
So when the time drew near for “future sailor Tetrick” to head off to her Navy basic training, this mom needed to have a “sending forth”, although, Ali didn’t want to be a bother. With only a few days notice, family and friends joined us at church to do their well wishing… and it did my heart good! Ali enjoyed it, too.
A few minutes after clean up detail, we were heading to Fargo, ND to attend the swearing in the following day. I was so thankful to get one more night to visit with our Ali and hear of her adventures. Thankfully she told me on the way, that she would not be staying in my room, explaining that the recruits were already assigned rooms… consequently, that gave me a few hours to adjust to another part of the unexpected separation process.
Our son drove, while the two laughed and shared stories in the front seat. I listened and prayed. We arrived in plenty of time to check in, unpack and head to dinner. Red Lobster seemed like a good choice. The food was delicious and we all laughed some more. Once back at the motel, Ali felt it important to settle in to her room early to get in some last minute studying. We both remembered at the same time that she had wanted one more trim in hopes of escaping the navy barber. So ironically, our last night together, I got to comb through her hair as I did hundreds of times long long ago. And with a snip snip and a hug, it was “goodnight”.
The recruits had an early morning wake up call, so she decided it best to meet up with them for breakfast. Her brother and I would catch up with her at the processing center for the “swearing in “. Ali’s recruiter ended up having to drive another recruit so he stopped in to say hello- a familiar face in unfamiliar surroundings. We enjoyed listening to the officer leading the ceremony, all smiles and personable. A highlight was meeting another Navy mom. Suddenly it was alright to take pictures and make a little bit of a big deal out of the swearing in, a “more power in numbers thing”… a few poses in front of the American flag and we were off to meet our recruits for their sending off at the airport.
All of the meeting up here and there proved helpful in the separation process. At the airport, the other Navy mom and I exchanged phone numbers and hugs, saying our final farewells to our future sailors and bid each other God’s peace and blessings until we would meet again at graduation. As we made our way to the car, I felt a sense of relief… the day I had dreaded had come and I would be alright… better yet was the peaceful assurance that our future sailor was right where God had led her to be.