Like surprises? I do! Don’t know if my pilot boyfriend (now hubby) knew that or not, but guess he likes surprises, too.
He was in San Antonio for about three months for PIT (Pilot Instructor Training), then sadly had to go back to Enid, Oklahoma to Vance AFB, where he was a FAIP (First Assignment Instructor Pilot). How scary to think that right after Pilot Training, some of the students who just got their wings come back as instructors! But that’s how it was done.
Since it was before the days of texting and FaceTime, we actually…wrote letters! We grew to know each other very well this way. I still have a shoebox full of mushy-gushy letters (that is off-limits upon penalty of death to our children).
Guess Rich didn’t like that I only wrote one letter to his ten (I think he wrote me just about every day! He wasn’t smitten, was he?), so about once a month, he would fly down and see me, unannounced.
As an instructor pilot, he would take his students on a cross-country trip to test their skills. The students got to choose where they would fly on their weekend trip. Word quickly got around that if you wanted a good grade from Lt. MacKeen, choose San Antonio as one of your overnights, since he has a girlfriend there! The student would usually choose their hometown for one night, and San Antonio for the other.
He would show up on the Riverwalk, or at a wedding I was attending at my church. It was pretty funny…and pretty cool, too. So we got to spend more time together and get to know each other better.
Thank Heaven for kind students who wanted a good grade!
Moral of the story? Communicate! If you are the parent of a cadet or military member, keep in touch. In person is best, but that is not always possible. Emails and social media are great, but nothing beats an old-fashioned pen and paper letter to let people know you really care. And be patient with your child if they don’t reciprocate as much as you’d like. They are busy; they are young.
And if you are the cadet or military member? Make some time to communicate with those who love you! Yes, I know that it is more fun to text or Snap Chat your boyfriend/girlfriend, but Moms and Dads need to know you love them, too, and that you are alive!!! And yes, even those pesky siblings. You may not have time to write letters, but try to at least every once in awhile. When our son and daughter were four degrees (freshmen), they actually wrote long letters while in basic training (guess they really missed home)! Once school started, not so much. But it is possible if you schedule it.
Sadly, once our kids made it through basic, I was not (am not) as faithful at writing as before. I need to fix that.
Now I need to find a piece of paper, a pen, an envelope, and a stamp…I’ll talk more about getting organized in my next post…