Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Purple Hand

So, this Army thing. My fears are realized and my daughter has already been injured. But perhaps a little backstory.

When you go to basic training, you don't actually start basic training right when you get there. The first week is called reception, where you are not in the actual barracks, but in some sort of holding place. In Danni's case, a hall with about 50 girls and bunk beds and lockers.

So you spend reception week getting your uniforms, seeing the doctor and dentist, getting immunizations (you know, whether you had them as a kid or not, I guess you get to have them all again) and getting paperwork in order. I'm not sure how this takes a week, but whatever.

When you're in basic training, every night, 7 or so people (or however long they sleep) have to do an hour of "guard duty." What they are protecting, I don't know. But what I'm saying is on certain nights, you have to wake up in the middle of the night and stand guard for an hour, then go back to bed.

In reception, I suppose they are preparing you for this when they do the same thing, except instead of guard duty, you're just watching the reception desk. In the middle of the night. To make sure it doesn't escape, or something.

Danni arrived at Fort Sill on Wednesday the 16th. On Thursday night, sometime in the middle of the night, she had her turn at holding down the fort. Oh, I slay me. Get it, fort? Sill?

She also managed to get herself a top bunk, not by choice. Apparently, there are no ladders or anything, you just jump down and climb up.

Now, the week before she left, she didn't get much sleep. She was nervous and scared and jittery. So I'm blaming exhaustion on the fact that my daughter, getting up to watch the reception desk in the middle of the night, fell out of her top bunk. Onto a concrete floor. She landed on her butt, and her left hand.

Well, her butt is fine, but her left hand ended up like this:

In case you're wondering how I got the picture, they're allowed to keep their cell phones while they're in reception week.

They took xrays, and fortunately, nothing is broken. She just has some deep bone bruises on her hand and wrist. However, this injury did prevent her from leaving for actual basic with her unit on Wed. the 23rd. Because you can't do pushups with your arm in a thing.

So on Wednesday, all the girls except Danni and one other girl who has some sort of infection, left. And a new crop of girls came in. When the first group left? My girl grabbed a bottom bunk.

She is pissed, because reception is boring, and she has to stay another week. As far as I know, she will actually start basic this Wednesday, March 2nd. You know what they do in reception? They sleep, eat, clean and work out. Woooo.

On the bright side, she said the food is surprisingly good. On the night I talked to her, she said she had some amazing spinach lasagna. So there's that.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

My Daughter Wears Combat Boots

These are my kids on February 14th at the Downtown Sheraton in Denver. See the one in the middle? On February 14th, she was still a civilian.

That night, we had to leave her at the Sheraton. Kylie wasn't going with us to the swearing in the next day, so she had to say her goodbye here. You know what's hard? Saying goodbye to your eight year-old sister. You know what's even harder? Crying in the car all the way home because your eight year-old daughter is crying that she's going to miss her big sister so much.

This is my daughter on February 15th, when she ceased to be a civilian and became a soldier. More crying, because my baby is vowing to protect and defend our country, against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Well, not because of that, but because she's leaving. And because I am so dang proud of her.

My 18 year-old and 16 year-old babies. I don't care, they're still babies. And look, they even look like they love each other in this picture. Ok, I know they love each other, but they do have a hard time living together. Something about taking each other's clothes and makeup.

Proud and sad. Sad and proud. You know what the worst time of the day is? When I'm driving to work. 25 minutes by myself, to do nothing but think about how much I miss her, what I'm going to say in my next letter, and hoping to God she doesn't get hurt, or worse. One day, I will stop crying in the car on the way to work every day. She's only been gone a week. It will stop, right?

Her job is 68W, Healthcare Specialist. She's going to be a nurse, eventually. I'm really, really glad she's going to be helping people, not killing them. Yes, I'll say it....I'm terrified she's going to have to go to the Middle East. Even though I've been told that in her job, not a lot of women go there because of the issues of Middle Eastern countries and their disdain for women. I've been told she would have a choice, and I know she would choose not to go there. It still scares me.

Honestly? I've been told this and that, but I have a hard time trusting the Army. I'm afraid they're going to suck out her soul. What if I go to her graduation from basic training at the end of April, and they've replaced my daughter with a Danni-looking robot? I just don't want her to change. More responsible would be good. But I don't want her to change.

Oh, Doctor? Can I get a four-year supply of Xanax, please?