Your Army soldier has just left and if I had to guess, any mention of the Army or anything patriotic right now brings instant tears to your eyes. Don’t worry, it’s to be expected. When my husband first left, I could see a flag waving in the breeze on the way to work and be in tears. It was somewhat out of sadness but also out of the enormous pride that I felt that my husband had volunteered to serve his country.
The Bad News
I’ll go ahead and hit you with some bad news right off the bat. It could be a little while before you hear from him. By a little while, I mean as much as two to three weeks. My husband was able to call as soon as he arrived at Fort Benning but I missed the phone call. All he had time to say was his address. Thankfully, I received a standardized letter in the mail a few days later with the address because I would have never figured it out from his phone message.
Missing Phone Calls
Speaking of phone messages, I was absolutely devastated when I missed his phone call. In fact, I missed the first three phone calls he made. He called the second time when I was out. After that one, I decided I was never leaving the house on the weekend again. The following weekend, I stayed home all day Saturday and Sunday, jumping each time the phone rang only to be disappointed. On Sunday night about 8:45 p.m., I left to go to the post office to mail his letter. I was gone a total of ten minutes and…you guessed it! When I returned, the message light was blinking. I was beside myself. Not only had I missed his call, but he sounded sick and he was all but begging me to send him mail on the message. The problem was I had been writing daily at that point for two weeks. It killed me to think that not only could he not get me on the phone but he didn’t think I had been writing to him either.
From that point on, if I ever left the house my cell phone was glued to me. The next weekend, I received a call on my cell phone with a number from Denver, Colorado. I almost didn’t answer it but then decided to and it was him. It was showing up as Denver because of being on a pay phone. He was sick, very sick actually, and was able to talk for only about three minutes. But that was the best three-minute conversation I had ever had. I was in the mall when he called and I’m sure the folks around me thought someone was calling to tell me I had won the lottery!
Moral of this story:
- Always be around a phone of some kind that your husband knows to call you on. You can add call forwarding to your home phone for only a few dollars a month and it is WELL worth it. Trust me, miss one phone call and you’ll be adding it too!
- No matter how strange the phone number looks on caller ID, answer it!
- Make sure he has long distance phone cards. Sam’s Club has very good deals on phone cards. I sent my husband off with a 600 minute card. I’d rather him have way too many minutes than not enough. If he didn’t take one with him, put one in your next letter to him. It’s well worth the expense.
Please remember that phone calls do not come very often. I generally talked to him every other weekend for about 5-10 minutes. It’s not much and you never realize how short that really is until it’s the first time you’ve talked to him in two weeks. After basic, it is more likely they will earn a pass. This is their free time to do with as they please (but they can’t leave Sand Hill). Many head to the Recreation Center and eat to the point of being sick – all of those goodies they haven’t been allowed to have. My husband always headed for the closest pay phone. During one of his passes, I talked to him three hours. Needless to say, I was a very happy Army wife that day. Your main communication during his training will be letters.