A New Muscle: Army Strong

We made it. Basic training has finally come to an end, next up: AIT.

If you’ve kissed someone goodbye for a time, especially a long time, it’s always hard. That first morning it felt like Aaron had just walked out the door with my heart. BCT was nothing like our long distance days, but fortunately we had VBL (Victory Block Leave) over the holidays to look forward to during the first half of basic training. Even still, Valentine’s Day couldn’t come any faster.

I am incredibly proud of Aaron and all the hard work he has accomplished over the past 12 weeks. He’s learned not only combative and rifle skills (ahem, expert marksman!), improved his physical training scores, and demonstrated leadership in his platoon, but he’s also matured mentally and spiritually.

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Graduation day at Fort Jackson

During BCT our letters rarely crossed in a way that allowed for two way communication. Mail was incredibly slow. This was frustrating at first, but we got used to it. Phone calls were even more sparse. We were lucky to get 5-10 minutes.

I learned quite a lot during these past couple months, including the new language of military abbreviations and ranks, but here’s just a couple highlights.

I cannot open all jars. 

Quite literally there were moments where all I wanted was a snack: chips and salsa, only I couldn’t get the jar to open. (Okay, sure. Maybe some of you would have knocked on your neighbor’s door and asked for help. And I considered it, believe me! But it seemed weird?) I eventually took a knife to it. I soon found out that jar or no jar, I couldn’t “do it all”.

The dishes would have to wait a night or two if I had homework. And homework would have to wait if I needed a good cry. Balance, am I right?

But I can carry all the groceries in one trip. 

I proved a lot to myself during Aaron’s absence. The first few weeks I felt incredibly weak. Feelings of abandonment and loneliness crept in at times, but most days I did a pretty good job at keeping myself distracted.

The nights were always (always) hard; Aaron tells me meal times were the hardest for him. I often told family and friends it was similar to discovering a new muscle in my heart. Have you noticed how our hearts are amazingly resilient if we allow them to be? Maybe today was a challenge, but tomorrow I know I will be stronger.

The days quickly turned into weeks and then months, and now we’ve finished the first half, each much stronger than when we signed the papers.

 

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