It has been a little over two weeks since Aaron left for Navy Boot Camp.
A little over 2 weeks with no word from him (they aren't allowed to communicate for awhile). Unless you count the Navy form letter we received (he filled in his address and graduation date) and what is apparently known as the 'kid in a box'...a box containing all the undonated, non-navy items he had on him when he left. Shoes, backpack, coat, airplane ticket and some other paperwork.
Let me tell you, that chokes you up a bit to see everything your child was wearing when he left now neatly folded in a small box!
We knew he wouldn't be able to communicate with us for a few weeks, but we also knew we were now getting close to that window when he could start writing us.
I'll be honest, I wasn't expecting much in length. Aaron is a talker like his mama, but doesn't have a history of that translating into writing.
Perhaps he never had much of an opportunity before?
For today we received a thick-ish envelope from 'Sailor Recruit Aaron"! The first of hopefully a weekly series. He wrote over a series of days telling us about his adjustment and things he was learning and the names of some of his fellow Sailor Recruits among other things. Some of the things were so funny (like one of the cadences he recited for us), others were a huge relief (he still is in possession of his wisdom teeth...for at least another 6 months anyway), others squeezed at my heart (he told us how the Word has encouraged him), still others were bittersweet (to see how he made sure to let all his siblings know...including Luke...that he loved them. On. Each. Letter.).
I confess...I've already reread the letters 4 times.
And both Kevin and I are so relieved. He sounded good. No doubt it's tough going, but he sounds focused and strong.
Tonight we rejoice as his letters allowed us to shout the 'Amen!' to the Lord's 'yes' to so many of the things we've specifically prayed for our oldest these last several weeks.
One last thing, so many people have scratched their heads at us for having such a wide range of ages in our family. I have to say I treasure the perspective it is bringing to so much! I wish I had had it when Aaron & Emma were Joshua and Lily's age! It is teaching me, even if I am a slow learner.
And to my friends whose children haven't made it to their teens (perhaps not even double digits!)...it goes quickly, it really does. I know it doesn't feel like it now and that all you want is for there to be some stillness and quiet (& that's okay...I still crave it even with perspective!), but before you know it you will find yourself on the other end of a lens looking at your baby turned adult and try to mentally reenter those moments of sitting and reading together on the couch, praying by their bedside together, walking to the playground, cheering from a sideline, watching a movie together, playing games, singing songs, doing kid stuff together...with so many little ones still under my roof, it is my reminder to live here, in this very moment with them more than I have in the past, more than I did even today. To remember they, too, will grow up and this moment must be lived with them now.
ps...still have time to vote on the family Christmas picture. If anyone has Photoshop & thinks they could tweak any of them for me (brighten, etc.), just let me know. Looks like #2 is pulling ahead.