As with all great endeavors, it takes courage and the ability to work through our fears and limitations to reach our goal. That is the test that Sir Ryan in facing in Basic Training, and that we are facing as empty nester's right now. Without breaking our sacred bond, I thought it beneficial to share excerpts of my correspondence with Sir Ryan over the last few weeks. Words that can help us all deal with adversity and overcome obstacles to our destiny.
Letter#1: We finally got your letters, all together, last night. I was relieved to read what you wrote. It sounded good to hear you be excited in your letters, your humor and descriptions of what was going on. The hardest part for us is not really knowing what you’re going through. The short phone calls make it hard to judge how you are really doing. After reading your letters, we feel much better, even though your last phone call you sounded very desperate.
I know you don’t like waiting, reception, etc., but you’ll just have to make the best of it. Stay positive. Stay motivated. We are very proud of you! Everyone here is very proud of you! I know how hard it is to be somewhere you don’t want to be. I didn’t want to be in the hospital in Louisiana when I broke my back, but I had no choice. You are in the same position, you have no choice about where you are….but you do have a choice about how you are, how to think about it, how to be. When you accept it and become positive it will get better. Hell, you will wiping my ass and helping me get to bed before you know it, so don’t worry, be happy about your choices and be positive that you will be the best damn soldier, the best leader the Army has every seen. Be the man and warrior that you know you can be!
A lot of people have given a lot of their time and energy to help you get into the Army. You owe it to them to make it work. You owe it to yourself to complete and embrace your decision. That is what a man does, honor his commitments.
Letter#2: It’s funny how life is. Just when I was telling you to hang in there, be patient and expect the best, the very next day I had something happen to me that wasn’t very much fun too. I have a big client who is threatening to pull out of my health magazine because of a misunderstanding. I’m being falsely accused of something I didn’t do. I am trying to work it out, but I have to wait several days before I can meet with them. So, in the meantime I have to wait, just like you. I don’t like it one damn bit, just like you.
It helps me to realize that things will always happen in our lives that we don’t like, but there is a reason why they happen and we have to look for what we are to learn from this. Maybe it’s learning how to be patient? Maybe it’s learning how to think about something beside yourself all the time? Maybe it’s to learn the stoic position that life is just not very fair. We must keep positive and trust that everything will work out for the best eventually. It will. It’s just hard to embrace that when things aren’t the way you want or need them to be.
I’ll make you a deal. I’ll stay strong if you stay strong! Then we can get back together and share our war stories. Somehow, I think yours will be a lot more interesting than mine!
Letter#3: I spent the whole day yesterday talking about how proud I was of you for toughing it out the other day and getting back to training. I’m proud of your decision to serve our country and support you 100%. I’ve decided to keep wearing your dog tags as a reminder of what you are going through, my support of what you’re doing and to remind me of how proud as a father I am of my son. I’m glad that you miss us, but we aren’t going anywhere, so just relax and let your life unfold now. We will always be there for you, so just focus on what you have to do now. It will all work out, it always does. Enjoy this time that you have in discovering what kind of man you are becoming. This is setting the stage for the rest of your life. You can do it!!!!! You have what it takes. Look at yourself and regain that confidence and you will succeed.
I wanted to give up laying in that car in Louisiana. I was tired of fighting and I could have easily just slipped away, but I couldn’t, because I don’t give up. That is what I remembered, I don’t give up, and I fight and move on. I do it for you, for Maegan, for mom, and just as importantly, for myself. This is where you are now. Don’t give up! Keep fighting! You’ll be able to look yourself in the mirror and be very proud that you did! Trust me, I know! I understand how you feel, and those feelings are normal and necessary; however, there comes a time when we just have to suck it up and keep moving forward. Believe in yourself as much as I believe in you, Ryan. Enjoy your life, even the difficult times, because this is the only chance you get.
Letter#4: I couldn’t help but think how proud I am of you for wanting to make something out of your life! You won’t be like the deadbeats from your past. They are just boys who don’t want to grow up to be a man. After this OSUT training you will be a man of strength, of character, of honor….and that is something to be very proud of!
Remember that the Red Phase is meant to challenge you mentally, to break you down so that they can build you back up into an ARMY STRONG WARRIOR. It’s a time when the ties of home are cut and you are left on your own to see what you are really made of. Overall, I would have to say that you are doing VERY WELL during this time. That makes me proud! Keep your head up and embrace the man you are meant to be…it will make you a more confident and happier person. Have fun shooting, climbing, blowing the shit out of things! Civilians go to jail for those things, you get PAID! How great is that?! Have fun and know that we always have your back, no matter what!
Sir Hook the Proud Warrior Father of Warrick