On June 13, we dropped Ambrose off for basic training. Air Force BMT takes place at a base here in San Antonio, which was a double-edged sword. On one hand, he had to go through that training in brutal heat. On the other, we got to see Ambrose this week for town day after graduation without flying across the country.
After Morrigan’s medical discharge from the Navy in 2019, I was absolutely worried that something similar would happen to Ambrose. Particularly because he’s my least-military-esque child. However, Ambrose always surprises me, and when we finally got a letter from him, he sounded like he was in a much better place, mentally, than Morrigan did in his letters. He said he even found things to enjoy, in addition to making friends and immediately finding his niche group of like-minded folks. (Aka, the weirdos, as he puts it.)
He tells us that he accidentally (long story) read part of his report card at one point during BMT. The report commended him for enthusiasm and volunteering for uncomfortable jobs that others don’t like (like standing at the door for hours on end, just watching). It also said he didn’t have a good military bearing, which is the least surprising thing about this whole bit. Ambrose got a good laugh out of it. He said he would have called them liars if they’d said his military bearing was good. Ha!
Town day meant that we all got to hang out for about eight hours. We took him to Raising Cane’s and to Salsalitos per request, and he also asked for “lots of desserts,” which Jason took to heart, making multiple dishes the night before. The four of us spent a lot of time chatting, snacking, and playing silly Jackbox games.
Ambrose had all sorts of stories to tell us, and generally, he was smiling and laughing and amused by so much. There’s a thing about my second child – he’s always been a very young soul, with this inner light and joy that radiates from him. People would look at him and just smile. Teachers loved him without him ever asking to be loved; kids protected him from being bullied. He has the inner confidence of a young child that hasn’t been traumatized by the world, except that he’s lived through plenty of horrible things.
We always worried that something would shatter him, and he’d lose that light, or that just by growing up, he’d shed that childlike innocence. But not even eight weeks of grueling training, drill sergeants, and boot camp mentality could change that deep, essential part of him. He’s still quintessentially Ambrose, the kid who kept getting in trouble for smiling during basic military training.
Now, he’s off to Biloxi for tech school. The career path he’s been assigned to isn’t his favorite, but it’s not a bad one either, and he has the opportunity to cross train to change careers at a later date. Tech school will only be about two months, so it won’t be long before he finds out his first real assignment. It was so great to see him, even if only for that short time. Jason and I are very proud of him, and wish him so much joy in his new life.