November is Military Family Appreciation month so Mother Goose is telling the story of her twin sailor sons and how our family got all military when they joined the United States Navy.
The military has very specific orders for how families send their sons and daughters off to boot camp. We followed the instructions very carefully for both of the guys — one week we sent Adam away and then seven days later, we went through the process again with Erik.
There is a very secret place called the MEPS.
This is one of the first of many acronyms that parents of military personnel become aware of. It stands for Military Entrance Processing Station. The night before they went to the MEPS, we dropped off our guys at a nearby hotel with absolutely nothing except their ID’s and the clothes on their backs — no jammies, no toothbrushes, no phones, no ipods, no ipads, not even a change of undies or socks.
They spend the night mostly worrying about the next five or six years of their lives.
Even though they haven’t slept, people come around and wake them up at 5:00 for an early breakfast and a bus ride to the MEPS. The family drives to the MEPS too, and enters through much security in the hopes of see their son or daughter being sworn into service in our nation’s great military community.
There are uniformed officers, soldiers and sailors everywhere in the MEPS. For our family, we had never seen so many people in military uniforms, and we were very uneasy. We have always been a family who doesn’t break the rules and this looked VERY seriously like a place where you don’t want to break the rules. We are all very intimidated by people in uniforms…maybe it’s because of the many times Mother Goose has had run ins with the law.
ANYWAY, we eventually find Adam, and the next week we find Erik in the same place.
We stand quietly in a room where the guys are sworn in with bunches of other recruits. Proud tears roll down my feathery cheeks as I see my sons raise their right hands and repeat the Oath of Enlistment:
“I, Adam or Erik, do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; and that I will obey the orders of the President of the United States and the orders of the officers appointed over me, according to regulations and the Uniform Code of Military Justice. So help me God.”
We clap and cheer. We dab tissues at our eyes. We take pictures of ourselves with our precious ones in front of the Navy flag. Then we hug them and kiss them. Then we say “See you in eight weeks, honey. I love you!”
And off they go to boot camp.