When we drove down to Parris Island, SC only 2 weeks ago, we saw planes from the Marine Corps Air Station landing on the strips and then immediately lifting back off to do it again....what they call a "touch and go". Well, this is what it felt like with Justin's brief and well-deserved R&R.
The time Justin was home on his 10 day leave was sweet, but oh so short. Yesterday his dad and I drove him out to Camp Geiger where the USMC School of Infantry is located, right near Camp LeJeune, the Marine Corps base @ Jacksonville, NC. Once again we had to say goodbye.
I am attempting to put into a capsule some photos of the last days since they came and went in a blink. (mostly for memories sake in this ejournal-scrapbook of mine.)
Wednesday afternoon, all four siblings took off and went to see the latest edition of Star Trek on the big screen. I was so happy to see them getting to do something all together. Their paths and schedules are so scattered now, that it is a rare occurrence. I'm sure they enjoyed their time together, especially with Justin here to join in. He has been missed.
Saturday evening we went out to watch both Kameron and Jonny play in Soccer games. That was fun. Afterwards we called Katie at work and told her to meet us at Taco Bell for a quick "late supper" all together.
Sunday we attended church and then ate Chinese buffet afterwards with Grandmama and Grandaddy Shaw. That was a good time, and good food!
Then Monday morning was time spent packing and getting everything squared away to get on the road for Camp Geiger.
This Marine Mom spent some time at the ironing board getting shirts and some pants starched!
Don't touch the Chevron, Mom!!!!!!
wow... been a long time since I starched some shirts!
It was mama's privilege and pleasure to help out her son.
Justin had taken off to get a fresh "high and tight" cut before reporting, and also to check on the boots he had ordered a week ago. They were to arrive at the Army Navy store. He did not get home until almost 11:30 am. Mom and Dad were getting antsy! Turns out he was waiting for the delivery shipment at the store. Worth it! His boots came in just in time. Nice!!!
whew, think that's everything. Now pack some drinks and snacks for that four and a half hour drive, and say all goodbyes, and hit the road.
Awww. poor RobRoy (Woobie). He just got used to having Justin back home...started following him everywhere, and now Justin is disappearing again....(Justin's little padawan) Thankfully pets adjust and live in the moment (for the most part; they aren't so aware of timespans)
one last pic before exiting the house. Bye KamMan.
We left and drove one street over for Justin to say a quick goodbye to his grandparents, and then drove back by the house just in time to catch Jonny coming in the driveway from work ( he had gone in at 5 am, and hadn't gotten to tell Justin goodbye and get that brotherly bearhug)
Justin had dropped in at BJ's Club to purchase a few items that morning and got to tell big sis Katie goodbye, as she was working also.
And away we went. About four and a half hours later, we arrived in Jacksonville. We stopped at a Burger King to grab a bite for Justin. It was 5:45, so we knew he had missed evening chow. We then found a Ramada Inn just a hop down the road and let him out to change into his Service uniform, which is required dress for the training Marines checking in at Camp Geiger. He certainly wasn't going to wear it the entire trip. Here he is going in with all his uniform "stuff". Surprise!... another Marine he recognized from Parris Island met him outside. (also named Smith.) :-)
wow, this Marine mom says....my son sure is Marine "cut" and in good shape!
phew..40 minutes later, finished product. So much stuff to put on, there's even straps that hold the shirt in, attached to the socks!!!! grief!
But, HE DOES LOOK GOOD!
A passing glance at the entrance sign at Camp Geiger School of Infantry.
No pictures were supposed to be taken once inside the gates (without permission from an officer) so I stood behind the van and got this photo shot quickly as my Marine walked away, independent once again, as it should be.
I viewed this last photo for my post today, and just started crying. Letting go is hard, mamas. But I wouldn't have it any other way. Justin is doing what he wants to do, what he feels called to do. He has been looking forward to Infantry training. (biting at the bit to get there) I am happy that he is feeling accomplished and confident in his calling and training. He is doing what God has planned for him. He is in God's palm and covered. This mom is confident! God is my Rock and Assurance, and my beloved four kids are all in His care.
As we suspected ahead of time, once arriving at check point, Justin was all business, said a quick "Goodbye" and took off. SO QUICK, it happened. No hugs or photos. We did say a fast prayer in the van before he got out. BUT!!!!.... 20 minutes down the road, he had been given the use of a buddy's cell phone and called us to talk, and say goodbye and express his gratitude for all we had done. He sounded very upbeat and relaxed, and a lot of young men chatter was in the background. Such a wonderful moment to cap off the day. Made this mom happy, and dad too. The trip home was easier because of that call. Thank you, sweet son.
"So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand." (Isaiah 41:10)
"And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age." (Matthew 28:20)
Blessings to all who may catch this post.