We are inching further away from the day-to-day life on The Yard, but we haven’t exactly broken away. It was such a joy to watch the most recent round of 2-for-7 signings.
Although it’s really something of a formality, it’s such a beautiful declaration of intention. It’s importance was driven home when I recently received notice of a comment on an old post from a Mom whose son voluntarily left the Academy. She wrote: “This hits close to home as my son is also struggling with the decision to leave or stay.”
It brought to mind the swirl of anxiety around the Class of 2020’s signing back in 2018, where a Mid I held very dear was asked to leave. So, as usual, mixed emotions.
Meanwhile, our Mid is preparing to head to Goose Creek, South Carolina to begin schooling that will prepare him to become a true part of the submarine warfare community. “I can’t tell you much” he said, “but basically I learn how to run a nuclear reactor and steer a submarine.”
Like seemingly everything with USNA and the Navy, there are a lot of logistics involved. His TAD (temporary assigned duty) continues to perplex me in terms of what he is actually assigned to do, but he also has an ROM (restriction of movement) when he arrives in Goose Creek. In short, when he arrives, his roommates will vacate the house, he’ll unpack his gear (especially furniture) and then head to a hotel where he will self-isolate for two weeks.
Sounds like fun, right? Thanks, COVID.
The upside is that we sold his grandmother’s house and he has some important pieces of furniture that will help the house feel more like a home for both he and his roommates. The downside became evident when we made a quick trip to Annapolis to celebrate his birthday.
Mid Gram had a TIA a week earlier and by the time we headed to Annapolis, she had a full-blown mini stroke (I am trusting the doctors on the details here). By the time the next week had come and gone, she was back in the hospital with another one. The stress for us is significant, of course, compounded by the fact that Mid Mom is an only child, only about two years removed from her father’s passing.
During a quiet moment on our quick birthday trip, Mid Mom told our former Mid that this could well be the last time he sees her. She didn’t want him to be blindsided.
At the same time, we found that poor Mid Dog (Falcon) not only had arthritic hips, but a small, non-cancerous tumor on a nerve in her back left leg. This has caused her no shortage of trouble trying to stand up or walk without dragging the leg behind. Medical treatments are in place, but no procedure can be done.
All of this as we were hoping to head to South Carolina as a family for Thanksgiving, bringing Mid Sib from the USAFA Prep School so we could all be together. We learned that was unlikely given the status of COVID in the area and the ROM of the students at Goose Creek. We haven’t given up hope on that, but it’s certainly not looking good. But we’ve learned from our four years by the Severn that you never know what will happen up until the last moment.
Funny side note: We asked our now-ensign if, assuming COVID didn’t scuttle plans, he’d be able to hang out with us. He said probably, but he might have homework, which started a classic N*ot College back and forth.
Me: “Homework? Geeze, you can do homework with us. Just bring your books and other stuff.”
Him: “I don’t think so, Dad.”
Me (just about to get indignant): “And why not?”
Him: “Because we can’t take the books off campus. They’re all top secret.”
Me (realizing how stupid I remain after four years as an Academy Dad): “Um, makes sense, I guess.”
Him: “Yeah. Apparently, you can get in a ton of trouble if you try to take stuff off base.”
As we crested the Bay Bridge into the Eastern Shore on our way home from our quick birthday trip, it hit me that we had been in Annapolis and aside from a few Mids in DTA during a quick stop at a pharmacy, hadn’t really seen any signs of the Academy. I pondered that for a moment, thinking about all the plans we had for the time of our Mid’s TAD – coming down to watch his Sprint football teammates, catching one more of the “big boy” games, dinners at our favorite DTA spots. Not to be.
As a family that treasures “moments,” we all had our eyes set on Thanksgiving, where we would all be together for the first time since June. Now it appears that may not be in the cards, either.
Another lesson in Semper Gumby? Maybe. More likely another twist on the Yiddish proverb, “Men plan, God laughs.”