Today, Lancelot's battalion held a family day. We had bouncies, a small train, a cotton candy machine, BBQ, a Family Team Building booth and guns. LOTS of guns. Just another glorious day in the Corps my friends. Wives, girlfriends and moms lined up to shoot the various guns on the ranges. So many that those charged with monitoring the ranges were grinning from ear to ear with pride at how these ladies took to shooting. I thought it was cool too.
The family day was a little weird for me because I am the new kid on the block. Lancelot is in a leadership position so there's a bit of curiousity about me. Am I a witch? Am I a goody two shoes? I think I am something in between the two but I have things to prove to our unit, I guess...
It struck me that I have been down this path (in some form or another) before with all of the other units we've ever been with. There are phases to being with a unit.
There's the "new kid" phase (where I'm at now). I'm trying to get to know people and let them get to know me. I don't know personalities and I'm trying to get acquainted with the people who will be my family for the next two years. I am a shy person so this is an awkward phase for me. Still, I have to get through this phase to get to the next phase.
There's the "now you know my face but get to know me better" phase. This one is an interesting phase. The pleasantries have been conducted but you're still an unknown quantity to folks. This is the phase where you need to prove yourself. I'm a hands on person and I always like to leave things better than I found them. I actually like this phase best. Tell me what your challenges are and let me help you find the things that you need to overcome your challenges. I don't pretend to have all the answers but I'm more than willing to take the journey with you. I learn things on the journey too.
Then, there's the "comfort" phase. I know you. You know me. We've found the ways to fit and work together. I'm on your side but you're on my side too. We are now a team moving towards the same goals.
Last, there's the "pulling away" phase. This is the hardest phase for me. At this point, I'm having to let go of the family that I've reveled in for about two years. We're leaving and someone else is coming in. I always find it hard to let go but then again, I have friends that I am in contact with from every unit Lancelot has ever been with. And I don't ever say goodbye. I say "see you soon."
This family day reminded me too that the Marine Corps is a very small place. At the Family Team Building booth, I reconnected with a "battle buddy" from over 12 years ago as well as a wife from our time out at Pendleton.
So...what do you think of my phases? Are they true for you? Are there more that you would add? I am interested to hear what you think.