Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Letters to Sean: See you soon!

Dear Sean,

If anyone had taken me aside three months ago and told me that by half way, I would be counting down the days - I would have laughed. If they had told me I would visit home and sleep in your ratty, torn sweatpants, I wouldn't have believed it. If someone claimed I was scream with joy when I saw "Beaufort, SC" appear on my caller ID one day, I would have rolled my eyes. I guess I didn't realize how strange it would be to not have you home. Though I moved out, I was still used to seeing you regularly. There were times while you were away that I thought "OH, I wonder if Sean will see this movie with me, let me text him" - and I couldn't. I guess I didn't realize how much I appreciated you being around until you were gone and while I will give you hell over the next ten days, I'm going to be sad when you leave again. Believe it or not, I told Mom you could sleep at my apartment, you could even borrow my car. Now? We're planning to go to the gym together and I'm supposed to take you clothes shopping. Everyone insists you won't want to hang out with me on your break but I refuse to let that happen. You may be a marine, but I'm still your big sister. The past two weeks have been hard because I knew that checking my mailbox would do no good. The snail mail delay meant that you couldn't bother to write. I couldn't help but be upset when I received a three sentence letter telling me it would be your last. It's hard to believe that now I'll be able to text or call on the weekends. I suppose that's better than nothing. I feel like I have a million things to tell you now but I suppose I will wait until our eight hour car ride home. But more than anything, I wanted to say how proud I am that you stuck with something, endured three months of irritating tasks and physical challenges and that you are now, finally, actually a marine. See you soon, little brother.

Love always,
Your Big Sister

Three months ago, I thought that three months seemed like an unbearably long time. It turns out that it really wasn't that long, after all. But, I still find it difficult to believe that in just three hours, I will be leaving for Beaufort, SC.

Mike Company meeting their Drill Instructors

This weekend was filled with an absurd amount of homework assignments: an eleven-page group analysis, two midterms to study for, eight case studies to read for Organizations and Transactions, a focus group to conduct and transcribe, statistics problems to try, and marketing research homework to finish. Add to that three watiressing shifts and a photography assisting job. Plus - I needed to pack. And for me, packing means doing laundry, being indecisive over what to pack, grabbing odds and ends at the store, cleaning and packing camera equipment and then today, still sitting in class, writing a list of "things to grab" on a neon index card in hopes of being prepared.

And, now that I browse the Parris Island Facebook page, I worry that I packed clothes which will be much too warm for the humid, seventy degree South Carolina weather. (I don't think I packed a single short sleeved shirt.)

Source: MCRD Parris Island, SC
Did I ever mention how badly I am at packing?

Last week, Sean endured more than 48 miles of marching in his 54-hour Crucible, the vigorous field training exercise required for all recruits. Throughout those 2.25 days, the recruits are only given four to eight hours of sleep, and three MRE's (Meal Ready-to-Eat). If you ask me, it sounds like THON without the Gatorade but perhaps I'm a little biased. Though, as my mom said, if I could make it through 46 hours of standing and nearly 60 hours without sleep - Sean could handle the Crucible. And he did. On Liberty Day, we got a call from Sean telling us just how easy it was. I'm starting to wonder how much of that is true though - he's hardly complained since he left.

My phone call from Sean came as I rushed across York in search of glow-in-the-dark paint. Walmart? No. Lowes? No. A tiny Ace Hardware store in Dover? Of course. I scrambled on Sunday to obtain foam board, christmas lights, glowing paint and foam star stickers so that we could cheer Sean on as he ran his motivational run. And let me tell you - the search was worth it, the poster glows. It will be impossible to miss, even in the dark.

To be added? Christmas lights and a grammatically correct comma.
My phone call also happened to be accidental - Sean had no desire to talk to me but was looking for our dad. Even worse? He didn't recognize my voice and kept insisting he was "trying to reach Bill." Thanks, Sean. Regardless, on Thursday, I will proudly wear my navy blue "proud sister of a Marine" shirt and resist giving him a hard time, that is until at least Saturday. After that? All bets are off.

While I'm not looking forward to the car ride, the fact that my mom is planning to take 24 hours to make an 8 hour trip, or that I will be riding home crushed between both of my brothers - I am looking forward to seeing Sean and I will do my best to capture plenty of photos of family day, graduation and how different my brother must look by now - after all, he's no longer a medical inspect, or even a recuit - he's a marine.

If you'd like to see photographs as the week goes by, follow me on Instagram or Twitter.

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