Lots of purple headed our direction today, many that have joined us for 6 years, in our wearing of the purple in honor of our girl.
Lacey thought it would be way fun to take the kids to the new splash pad in Shawnee, as it was "Grandparent's day", so we meandered over for a couple of hours, and the kids and DD had a ball.
But the very very Very VERY VERY best part of the day was a 2 minute phone call at 12:58 this afternoon.
New Cadet Hallie Lauren Hembree called her MAMA. And it was terrific. I recorded it on the iPad so I could listen to it over and over. I have lost control, people. It's a free for all freefall now.
And it's a good thing she called me, because I got a letter in the next 30 minutes from her, and if I had only GOTTEN THAT LETTER, I would have probably been freaking out.
Phone call insider info first.
-Kid sounded upbeat.
-Kid said that her broken toe was doing "great" and they were working with her in physical therapy every morning to get it healed. Said it felt "Great and could bend".
-Kid loves her roommate (who has no name as of yet, in letter or on phone).
-Kid settling in and enjoying everything so much.
-Kid got SHOES THAT FIT her feet AND toe, and is marching all over the place in no pain, whatsoever. (PRAISE saith the mama)
-Kid said Having fun and "IGNORE the LETTER YOU WILL GET because it was R DAY".
-Kid didn't say "miss you mama" only, "Love you MAMA, talk to you soon"
AND THAT MADE IT A GREAT DAY for ME.
About that time, I heard the mailman drive up and I'm sure he was taken aback, since in the 8 or 9 years I have lived here (I can't remember) I have never RAN TO THE MAILBOX and GREETED him like a COMPLETE AND UTTER LUNATIC like I did today, and he sort of tossed the mail at me as he rolled by. I think he thought I was going to accost him.
AND THERE WAS THE LETTER!
When I opened it, it had 2 letters in it. One from R day and one from 2 days later on Wednesday night.
R Day's letter made me sad. She was hot, exhausted, overwhelmed and had almost lost her sense of humor. She had carried that FREAK BIG backpack for 8 (what she said, might be exaggerated, probably felt like 12) hours. She only had to report to the Cadet in the Red Sash TWICE (which was amazing with all that yelling going on). She got her toe xray'd and they had told her no running for two weeks (which didn't happen) and was thrilled she got to keep her stash of Ibuprofen and Zyrtec (it's the little things). Said everyone yelled at her every second, but she wasn't too bothered by it (side note: volleyball coaches got her prepared for this, THANK YOU JESUS) but she said in her lowest moment, when she was really struggling, a Sargent yelled at her "New Cadet, WHY are you HERE?" and her answer she wanted to say was, "Well I have no freaking idea", but she told him, "Because I want to become the best I can be for myself and my country." and it clicked in side of her. She said, "I realized I can do this." She encouraged me not to worry, but it had been the longest day of her life and it was only 14:47 when she wrote it (almost 3:00 in the afternoon). She said her squad mates "seemed nice" but she didn't really know yet, since no one can talk to anyone (!!!!) She was relieved it's only for a few weeks (this tough, insane schedule)and then volleyball will start and she will have something familiar again. They will however, as plebes, only be allowed to talk in their dorm rooms (barracks) or class. No talking outside. Hallie. Is. toast.
The next letter was written 2 days later, and it was a tiny bit more upbeat. She had been to the church service that evening and had run into Jack Greer and Cade Mashburn (Oklahoma cadets she is friends with) and got to spend two hours with them, and have a COOKIE! She was good. She said she needs everyone's prayers covering her daily, because it was HELL. Everyone yells at them for everything, and she really likes her direct command, but the command above was pretty scary. She said that they made them stand outside with their book of knowledge held in the air and hold it ONE HOUR. Said she was so tired by the time it was over, her arm was shaking and she had lost every single bit of her knowledge just trying to survive it. I tried to find a picture, but I swear to you that I'm so OVER going through the zillions of pictures parents have posted, I just can't.even.
These were taken Saturday night, when the cadets were given a "free evening" (if you will) of the West Point band, and some fireworks. It was live streamed so I sat in the floor at Lacey's staring at the screen, willing Hallie's face to come across. I hadn't gotten a letter or heard a word, so I was looking for crumbs, people, looking for crumbs.
I'm not going to lie, I couldn't even really eat my pizza for the giant lump in my throat. I was watching the same thing with my girl, at the same time. (Even though Tyler declared it the "lamest thing he had ever seen"). Deaton called it, "Hallie's movie", asking his mommy the next morning, "I 'anna watch Hallie's movie". The fireworks at the end were spectacular, and afterwards, because a bunch of parents were there, I spent hours Saturday night combing through pictures, looking for my kid. Very stalkerish. Very obsessive. Tyler has labeled me, "Obsessively cray cray."
Here was the picture ON facebook. THANK YOU STEPHANIE ROPER. (whoever you are)
Can't everyone see her? (Think of Rachel on friends, trying to see the baby in the ultrasound)
This was when Tyler decided I had crossed over into another dimension. I think I leveled up (yet again) in the Waldo search.
West Point Band & Fireworks (Hallie is about 1:20 in, watch that girl march by and NO LIMPING!) and ROCKING A BRAID!
A mom said she is watching for the 100th time, National Geographic's West Point, (like 9 episodes) and I am going to get on Amazon firestick and see if I Can find that jewel, and see what is UP.
All I know is my girl is having a blast, even though it is the hardest thing she has ever done in her life, she is rising to the challenge (even injured) and getting the hard work done.
I have never been so proud of her in my life.
I sure have some amazing kids. Reflecting today, Lacey and her life with Laynie; fearless, brave Kip, traveling all over the world on a mission trip; and now Hallie, marching with men and a few other women.
Thank you, Jesus.