If you know me well, you know that the past couple of weeks have been pretty stressful. We have had a lot going on, but the underlying stress is coming from Parker being at the MCRD SD. That stands for the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego. He is undergoing 13 weeks of intense training to see if he has the right stuff to be a Marine. Basically the first week doesn't count, so when you see week counts, it is based on 12 weeks of training. This is week 11.
Parker is in the 2nd to top row on the left. You can see him in the first few seconds of the video. What we learned today is that 3245 is the Honor Platoon. That means they have won the most awards and performed the best of the six platoons of the Lima Company. Quite an honor.
Last week had a couple of real high points. On Wednesday we got about an 8 and a half minute call from him because his platoon had scored the highest on the written knowledge test. That was a very big deal. It was so good to hear his voice. It was very calm and measured- not at all like mine!!! He told us that he had the flu and was really worried that he might get dropped back, but he was able to recover in the time allowed and all was well. He was excited about getting fitted for his uniforms and getting a real Marine haircut- a high and tight.
Then on Thursday we received two letters in the mail. He told us that he had baptized someone and conferred the Melchizedek Priesthood on someone. What great news! He also said that he had had pneumonia a few weeks before. That did not panic me because I read that ALL the recruits say they have pneumonia when they really have a cold.
In the phone call when I asked him if he was concerned at all about The Crucible, he responded, "It's only two and a half days." Yes, but. . . there's quite a bit that happens in that length of time.
I found this video. Although it does not look like fun to me, Parker probably thinks it is like Scout Camp on steroids. Judging by the foliage and the fact that there are women recruits, I am guessing this video was made at Parris Island, SC but there are the same types of obstacles at Camp Pendleton where they will do their test. One thing that caught my eye is when they all step over a log. My dad taught me that as I was growing up. He was in the Army- probably learned it there.
I have an hour-by-hour schedule of the event so that I can be in a full-bore panic for the full 54 hours! There are about 420 recruits in the Lima Company. About half of the moms and dads are on a Facebook site where we can share information. One of the things that we have done is set up a prayer list so that someone will be praying for the boys every single hour. I have three times and I have an alarm set on my phone so that I won't miss them!
One tradition is that you keep your porch light burning and a candle burning so that your recruit can find his way home. We left our Christmas candles in our windows and they are blazing.
We also have a little display in our home to keep our minds and our prayers on Parker and the other recruits. Since these are not real candles we will let them burn for the whole time.
Our understanding is that if we do not get a phone call by Thursday night, we can be assured that our son completed The Crucible and has become a Marine. I am praying that that phone stays silent! I am not at all worried about his determination or his ability to complete such a difficult task. I am a little concerned about his body holding up, but I have placed my concerns in God's hands and every time I feel myself getting a little worried, I pray.
So, if you don't mind, pray with me. For strength, determination, and health for all the men of Lima Company. Go Lethal Limas!