The Reunion of a Lifetime!
PPW Class of 2027 Parents, so glad that you are having the opportunity to enjoy your Plebe and spend time together!!
I know that you have heard a lot of funny and heartfelt stories from your Plebe. Perhaps you had the opportunity to meet and greet with your Sponsor families and fellow Company parents. This group will become your extended family and your go-to people. I also hope that you are finding some Battle Buddies to cling to for joyful times and for the tough times to come.
I also hope that you have been out and about Annapolis and enjoying the food and beautiful sights. If not, that is OK. Maybe your Plebe wanted to stay in and just spend family time. All of that is OK. Although there are many things we share in our journeys through USNA, know that your journey is good for you and your Plebe and that each one is different.
Today is the last day of PPW and as you get closer to the end of the day, don’t be surprised if your happy Plebe becomes your quiet, irritable, withdrawn, or argumentative Plebe. Or on the other end of the spectrum, your super talkative, energetic Plebe. These are all ways that help your Plebe to cope with going back to the Detailers and MotherB after being with you for a few days of family and unstructured relaxation. Our kids became very quiet and introspective, and although there were no tears on their end, I felt like I-Day all over again and held out crying until after we dropped them off so it would not be more difficult for them.
Remember that your Plebe and you have made it through the gauntlet of Plebe Summer – just one more week to go and life will get much better. They will have their phone and their electronics back once the AC Year begins, so communication will resume. With that said, remember that they will be even busier and will be self-accountable for prioritizing their time, so don’t worry or take it personally if they do not reply right away. My kids took days, sometimes a whole week to send a very brief, apologetic reply. Stay tuned for my post about the AC YEAR.
Soon the Brigade will Reform and the Plebes will get to meet the rest of their Upperclass. Right now, there are about 10 Plebes per Detailer. When the Brigade reforms, It will reverse – about 10 Upperclass for every Plebe so it will be an adjustment and can be overwhelming.
Something to note is the military’s strict Chain of Command. Although Plebe Summer may end, that does not mean that Upperclass and Plebes can now be friends. Quite the opposite. There is a strict line that cannot be crossed. Fraternization is a conduct offense so your Plebes will have to maneuver getting to know their Upperclass Detailers and mentors but not getting too familiar. And again, this is Company dependent and the Company culture will dictate what that looks like.
My main message to you today is for you to know that they are in good hands, you have seen the results of the very beginning of the process. Trust the process to continue through the four years with the end result being your Plebe being prepared to lead their men and women as Naval or Marine Corps Officers. I had the opportunity to speak with a few Plebes this weekend and was pleasantly surprised by the insight of one particular Plebe who said they could see the difference in themselves after just six weeks – “This is me after just six weeks. Imagine how much more I will learn in four years!” That is one insightful Plebe…
As I mention in my book, A USNA Mom’s Journal, our Oldest’s PPW made the decision for our daughter as to the type of PPW she wanted. She requested that we bring the pups and she wanted a very quiet and private weekend. At the end of our daughter’s PPW, we were walking back to our rental with our pups after dropping her off on Sunday, the last day of PPW. We happened to run into a Midshipman that wanted to give our pups some love. He asked us how we felt about our daughter being at the Academy and we told him we were glad that she had her Firstie older brother here to encourage her and look out for her. He immediately stopped, stood up, and said, “I am sorry sir, ma’am, but you are wrong!” We were taken aback and asked why he said that. He replied, “because she now has 4,400 brothers and sisters who have her back – not just one!”
At that point, we kept chatting and found out he was on the Football team and that he would watch out for her too. When were finally on our merry way I can honestly say that I felt at peace. I felt good! I finally knew she was – no – that they both were where they belonged. Please know that they are in good hands and although parting for now may be bittersweet, you will see them again soon.
I hope that you too have gotten a glimpse that your Plebe is where they belong! If they are struggling, give them time and encouragement. We made a commitment, as I mention in my book, to go up to Annapolis once a month during Plebe year to see our then-Plebes. It worked for our family but that may not work for everyone – that is OK. Remember that your journey is good for you. You have to find what works for your family.
Once the AC Year begins, you can also find a time that works for your Plebe to Facetime, video chat or text. Just keep in mind that they are going to have a lot more to do than they have time so be patient!
Also, as you get home, you may fell that hole in your heart again. Every time you part it is bittersweet, but I promise it will get a little better as time goes on. I urge you to continue – or begin my Plebe Summer Challenge. These strategies will begin your training to help you to cope when our children are away or can’t fully communicate with us, especially once they are out in the Fleet or USMC. I invite you to read the story in my book about my return home after my daughter’s PPW. It was a difficult adjustment the strategies in my challenge helped me to cope, survive, and finally, to deal with my journey.
Enjoy the rest of your time together today!
Finally, God knows that I would not have survived without my Battle Buddies and without prayer. As always, I am here to help and answer any questions you may have, and am glad to be a shoulder to lean on. GO NAVY!!