We Lived Happily Ever After: Letters from Boot Camp: The First Two Weeks of Boot Camp from a Wife's Perspective

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Letters from Boot Camp: The First Two Weeks of Boot Camp from a Wife's Perspective


So I thought I would share with you all a little bit of what is going on in my life right now. I haven't been blogging as much as I would have liked too in the past few weeks due to my husband leaving for Marine Boot Camp. It's been a rough two weeks without him so far. On the bright side, only 10-ish more weeks until I get to see him (HA! That's not long at all is it?)


Above is my man with our baby girl right before he left.


Right now I am just writing about my experience (so far) and things that I have learned. 
If you are like me, you may have never had a loved one attend boot camp. 

When someone very special to you joins the military, you are curious about EVERYTHING (kinda like pregnancy , haha!) So you google every question you can think of because you are too embarrassed to ask (or you don't want to overwhelm the recruiters with the volume of all the questions you have!)

These are some things that I am just learning about the whole boot camp process so far: 

There is no communication other than letter writing. That's right. Snail mail. And they don't even send the letter with their address until they've been there for like a week. I finally got my husband't first letter 16 days after he left. I am actually glad it didn't come earlier last week because we got 3 feet of snow but the mailman still put mail in our mail box. This resulted in the plow knocking over the mailbox and burying all the mail in the snow. I was so scared that my precious letter with his address, or even worse, a letter from him was now under 3 feet of snow! I was relieved to find two DRY letters in the mailbox today. On the bright side, it is very romantic to write letters. That's actually the one thing I missed about dating when we got married, because we didn't need to write letters to each other anymore.

Update: It's been a week since I sent my first letters (um, like 12 of them) and I have gotten 5 letters from him saying that he still hasn't gotten any of mine. Talk about stressful communication! 

You do get ONE guaranteed phone call when your recruit arrives. Mine was the night he got there at 12:38 am. It was 17 seconds long. We had agreed he would call my cell number, which I kept by my side from the moment he left. I was actually asleep when he called, but I woke up, picked up the phone, and was lucky enough not to miss being able to hear his voice, even if it was just him reading off a script word for word. Other guys in the background were yelling their scripts, but my husband was just saying it in an authoritative manner. He  sounded like he was about to laugh, which was a relief to me because I have heard of many guys almost crying (okay, maybe sounding "scared" was the adjective used) during "the phone call." Right before he hung up I shouted "I love you!" knowing I didn't have any time for anything more than that. I hope he heard it.

Above: My first boot camp letter from my husband.

It is really important that I send him lots of mail. It's his one connection to the outside world. I have been stocking up on letters to send to him by writing him almost everyday since he left. But I told myself not to get my hopes up in regards to hearing from him right away (I gave him 2-3 weeks.) But the delay in letters from him isn't something I am taking personal. It's not his fault.  He still LOVES me like crazy, but he just doesn't have any free time (as illustrated in the picture below of the first letter he wrote me during boot camp.)

Above: An excerpt from his first letter to me. 

It's all a been a blur to him so far. He said that he has had zero free time. But I know that he will pull through it. He is very dedicated and disciplined so I know he will excel at it. And that's what I tell him. It is so important to build him up & encourage him. 

I may be the only one who plans on sending their recruit a letter everyday (or every other day) but I don't care. All I want to do is to bring a smile to his face as much as I can.


Keeping the letters positive. I am not the most independent person.  It's silly, but I never even really went to the library without him. I'm no clingy, but we just do everything together. So it's an adjustment for me to be doing everything by myself. With that said, I've made it a point to make sure not to "dump" any thing I am dealing with on him. He doesn't need to be bothered by it. Especially if he can't physically do anything about it.  He's already having to deal with Drill Instructors "making him into a Marine." The less negative the better. As much as I miss him, I know it is harder for him. He's the one who has to deal with the emotions of missing each other and training like crazy. My hardest challenge is finding things to do, attempting to avoid the fact that it literally feels like my heart is missing without him (because it IS... he took it with him!)

Photos. He wrote asking for me to send some pictures, so I put together 3 8x10 collages (one with pictures of what the baby's been doing while he is gone, one of pictures of all of us, and one of pictures of me) 

I figured that this way if his locker gets dumped, they will be easier to get back in order than individual photos. Here's to hoping!

 Above is the Baby Collage I printed out and sent him.

I'm not supposed to send any care packages. They specifically told me that we aren't supposed to send any packages (only letters and appropriate pictures.) However, they in my official letter which I received from his Senior DI, it stated that I can send small packages... but I am definitely NOT going to until I get the go-ahead from my husband. Yes, this means that I am also withholding from spraying the letters I send him with perfume, or putting lipstick marks on the envelopes (even though it's SO tempting!!!) The less conspicuous the letters, the better for him.

I'll be updating more about my boot camp experience. I just can't wait for graduation day!



25 comments :

  1. Praying for you, Silas, and Baby! The weeks will be over soon!

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    1. When did he get your first letter? Like was it around 2-3 weeks in until he got your letter or later? I have sent many letters to my Fiancee and I recently go her letters after her leaving about 3 weeks ago. She still has not gotten mine.

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  2. the second half of bootcamp flies by, promise (:
    my husband is an airman, so he only had 9 weeks, but i definitely remember the last 4 weeks going by so fast i can barely remember them happening. i mailed about 4 to 6 letters at a time, and sometimes i would write 2 letters a day. we will be keeping you guys in our prayers, and i hope you get more letters soon! (:

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    1. Thanks for the encouragement! I am counting down the days & writing him every day! It's such a wonderful feeling (one of the best in the world) to get a letter from him. It totally makes this waiting doable. Otherwise,I don't know how I would survive. <3

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  3. You are so thoughtful, Hannah! Way to be a wonderful wife!!! Your arms are girded with strength, and the teachings of kindness are on your tongue. Can't wait till you have your husband back with you. <3 <3 Keep it up! <3 <3 you!

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  4. Hannah, I just found you site and it is so sweet. Now, I can tell you he so counts on your letters and once yall hit the 1/2 mark he will feel so much better, and so will you. I am a former Marine and while I was in school I married another Marine. My husband and I have been married for 24 years come August. I am not sure if anyone has told you but you will notice quite a few differences when he comes home. If it is the same, and on so many levels I know it is he has to speak in 3rd person all the time and refer to himself as "Recruit". Be patient as when you get out you feel like you have been away for a long time and blocked from the world, and so many ways you have, so you are his lifeline. Whatever you do don't send candy, they get in trouble, hope they told you that sounds goofy but it is true or used to be. I am also a daughter of a retired Marine, you are about to embark on an adventure. I went to 13 different schools before I graduated high school, an have lived all over. I feel I am a well rounded person, but as far as the Marine Corps goes, I can tell you having that Eagle, Globe and Anchor pinned on you is one of the HIGHLIGHTS, you work hard for that and that is why most of the time you are called a "former" Marine not "ex" Once a Marine always a Marine. I wish you all the best and am proud for you all.

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    1. Thank you so much for all of your advice, Kristena!

      I've been writing him ever single day. He's doing really well so far, but he misses us. I am so glad that they told me not to send him anything other than letters or I would have sent boxes of baked goods! That wouldn't have ended well! :) I am so proud of his decision to become a Marine. Thank you and your husband for your service to our country!

      <3 Hannah

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  5. Thank you for making me feel less alone. My fiance has been gone two weeks in boot camp and I have yet to hear from him... But like you I am understanding and trying to be patient. It is not easy but it is nice to hear someone else's story to be very similar to my own. So thanks Again. Best wishes to your family. :)

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    1. Hey Alyssa!

      Sorry for not getting back sooner- my computer wasn't working for a few days.

      I hope you've heard from him by now! It is so stressful to have something like that out of your control. I wrote him letters every day (Still do) but even into week 4 he was still saying in his letters that he hadn't gotten any from me yet. Don't let that get you down, just keep on sending him notes.

      When does you fiance graduate?

      We're in this together girl! :)

      <3 Hannah

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  6. I just came across your blog and absolutely LOVE how adorable it is! I can't wait to try out some of your graphic design tips on my blog:) I read this post and it made me cry a little bit. My husband left to the other side of the country for a job about a month ago and is now back and even though I had communication with him it was the hardest two weeks of my life!! So I can't even imagine little communication for 12 weeks! You are one tough girl, good on you for being such a supportive wife and for sharing your experience!

    All the best,
    Rachael

    www.rachaelburgess.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Rachel, it is the hardest thing I have ever done too, but he is so worth the wait! I really appreciate your sweet note about my blog (wonder where I got the time to invest so much work in it, lol)

      You made my day! :)

      <3 Hannah

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  7. Hi :) I am probably your first 17 year old girl reader on your blog. I just found your website and I am totally in love with your graphics besides I just wanted to comment on how strong as a person you are. I know it's odd coming from a 17 year old girl who probably has experienced life less than you did, but I think that the love you have for each other is so strong. I mean I would be dying if my husband would be in the marines, because I would be horribly worried something might have happened to him, but it's amazing how strong you are. I mean I can't even handle one day without my boyfriend whose living 5000 miles away after I moved to the US.

    Anyways, I hope everything goes well, I will come back to your blog more often. I wish you good luck for you and your family.
    Samantha :)

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    1. Samantha, you are so sweet. No, it's not odd to me at all! In fact, I'm not even much older than you! :)

      The reason I am able to handle all this is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is where God want him to be. Otherwise I'd be a complete wreck.

      I do love my husband so much, and he is so worth anything I have to go through to be with him. :)

      Thanks again for sweet comment. It's encouraging to hear you say that you think I'm strong because there are days when I feel the total opposite of strong!

      Come back anytime! :)

      <3 Hannah

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  8. Awe! It goes by fast! I was with my hubby as well when he went to bootcamp. He'll hit 16 years in this Oct ;)

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  9. Earlier today I was looking through Tumblr & I came across your posts. I came onto your blog and I LOVE IT! It is perfect! It is full of Craft ideas and Artistic ideas which I adore! I have followed you on Instagram & I can't wait to look through your profile. This story was so lovely but slightly emotional as your husband has a great way of helping in the Marines. I admire that alot. Your baby girl is adorable too!
    I can't wait to hear more from you.
    Ruby x

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  10. First time visitor to this blog. I'm seventeen, and my best friend leaves for Navy Boot Camp in two days. It's gonna be tough, but I know that "I can do all things through Christ Who strengthens me."

    Our relationship is already long-distance, so in a way, we've experienced a little of what it will be like in the Military... preparation, I guess. But we do communicate every day... the first few weeks will especially hard, I know. Thankfully, though, Basic is only eight weeks in the Navy.

    I plan to keep busy. Like, really busy. Working on getting a diploma for piano tuning/repair, looking for piano students, playing the piano, doing something called NaNoWriMo (where writers all over the world race to write a 50k-word novel in a month), learning to play the violin, starting an Etsy shop, photographing weddings, doing Krav Maga, baking Lemon Meringue Pies to keep me happy, running, drawing, sending care packages to friends... oh, and writing letters for my best friend every day. And praying, like, every other minute.

    "The reason I am able to handle all this is that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that this is where God want[s] him to be. Otherwise I'd be a complete wreck."
    ^This.


    Random bits of advice:

    Make copies of the letters you send.

    Your recruit can go to websites like Dayspring.com and send e-cards ahead of time to be emailed to you on whichever days they choose.

    Watch "The Faces of Navy Boot Camp" for a general idea of what it's like there. (Note: This is for Navy Boot Camp; they may have different videos for other branches.) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SCak24Sw-68

    Keep a journal to give to your servicemember after graduation.

    If not being able to send packages is hard, collect things throughout the duration of Boot Camp to include in a package to send after it's over. http://media-cache-cd0.pinimg.com/736x/50/86/4c/50864ccaf8fad0d5742332852017fabe.jpg

    For the Christians out there: writing out prayers and including them with letters is an idea.

    Listen to this song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kk_5VN_EGfE

    Not sure about the other branches, but the Navy has a thick manual they give to recruits-- "The Bluejacket's Manual." To anyone interested in learning more about the Navy, I recommend getting a copy of that.

    Also. I HIGHLY recommend Gary Chapman's book "The 5 Love Languages: Military Edition." A must-read for anyone with someone special in the Military. Seriously, if you have not read this book, you need to. It is eye-opening.


    Thank you for this inspiring article. :)


    ~Lindsay

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  11. Thank you so much for this!! My Fiancée has been gone three weeks now and before this we hadn't spent more than 24 hours apart in FIVE YEARS lol. This made me feel like I wasn't crazy for writing a letter (sometimes 2!) a day. Also thank you for the heads up about spraying them. Lol that could've been bad.

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  12. Hi Hannah,

    I just came across your blog and it was really encouraging reading your posts :) My boyfriend is currently in the Republic of Korea Marine Corps and I'm not living in the same country as he is. So, communication can be really hard but reading your blogs have been really inspiring!

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  13. Hi Hannah,

    I was after some serious insight as to how wives/girlfriends/partners deal with the absence of their husbands/partners while they're off joining the Marines..my husband has always wanted to join since his adolescent years but pushed it aside too many times. As his wife and his best friend, I don't want to see him live life with regrets, of course he wouldn't show it but I know him too well haha. I guess after reading a few pieces from your blog, it's helping me somewhat prepare for what I'm about to deal with, and more importantly how I'd overcome these emotional roller coasters without him. I just want to say thank you for outlining the reality of it all in such a realistic and optimistic tune..thank you!

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  14. I dont even know if my recruit's mails will be sent to me in the Philippines .. :(

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  15. Just wanted to say thank you so much for this post and your blog, my boyfriend and future husband recently decided to go into the marines, so I am still trying to accept it all. I am so proud of him and I know this will make him happy, but its still hard being positive knowing all that is to come. I also love the fact you added that it was hard for you when he was away because he took his heart with you... exactly as you said, I'm not clingy, its just we do everything together... so it is going to be weird for him not be there. I just really appreciate your honesty, and it has helped me more than you know. You're wonderful!

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  16. Hi, Hannah. I'm really enjoying your blog so far. Although it's made me cry quite a few times! My husband has been at Marine Boot Camp for 16 days now. It's extremely difficult without him. We don't have kids or anything but I was very dependent on him and it's very painful not to have him here with me. I'm counting down the days and literally praying that it gets easier.

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