Instead of a birthday party for Gogurt, we agreed to send him to a JROTC sleepover held at the local high school. He is, and always has been into all things military. At the age of 4, he had memorized the names of all the fighter planes pictured in the encyclopedia. At one time he wanted to be a fighter jet pilot but that has kind of waned as of late. We are not sure if he actually wants to be in the Army (or any branch of service) or if it's just fun to dress up in camo and play army in the yard.
Nonetheless, he wanted to go to this sleepover and we agreed. He had one friend that was going but at the last moment had to back out so Gogurt went all by himself. He was slightly nervous, but not too much. I'm proud he is willing to step out and do things no matter if he is the only one doing it.
This reminds me of a situation in my life. I was a Junior in high school and for some unknown reason, I was chosen to attend the Lions' Leadership Conference. Each high school was allowed to send one person so that meant I was the only one going from my school. However, there was another girl chosen from the city school and although I did not personally know her, I figured since she was the only one going from her school, she would not know anyone else there either and we would buddy up, at least being from the same hometown and all.
And just like happened tonight to Gogurt, this girl for some reason had to back out at the last minute. Now I was the only one going from our entire county, and I wasn't that excited about going anymore.
The conference was a million miles from my house. Well, probably not, but it might as well have been. My mother took me, dropped me off, and I was terrified. Only years later in a random conversation would I realize the only person more nervous than me was my mother. Now I know how she felt.
I remember thinking I hated it there and wanted to cry and tell them to call my momma to come get me. But then I would remember I wasn't in 1st grade anymore (I cried for the first 6 weeks of my school-career, but that's for another post) and that I just had to suck it up and muddle through.
I don't even remember how many nights I had to stay there, and I certainly do not remember anything we did to become "leaders." I do remember though that by the time I left I had made some good friends, friends that I swore I would keep up with forever, and I'm sure you can guess that I never spoke to them again. But of course if there had been internet back then, you know with e-mail and stuff, I'm sure we would all still be BFFs. Or not.
I survived what I thought was an intolerable situation, and looking back I see that experience as being one very good for me. It made me reach out and make new friends, something I had never had to do before.
Thankfully Gogurt does not seem as unnerved by being in new situations. When I asked him (for the umpteenth time) if he was okay going by himself, he would just say in a matter-of-fact way, "Yeah, I'll just make a new friend while I'm there."
I hope he does make a new friend, but more than that, Brad and I are hoping the colonel blows the bugle at 5 a.m. right beside his sleeping bag. I would pay to see that!