What to expect over the Christmas break?

Discussion in 'Service Academy Parents' started by Buddy, Dec 14, 2009.

  1. Buddy

    Buddy Member

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    Our son is due to come home at the end of the week and we are all eagerly looking forward to his arrival! This will be the first time he has been home since he left at the end of June. I know he is very anxious to see family, friends and dog (not sure in what order!). Also, know that he is very tired. His communications since late June have been mainly upbeat and he reports all is well. Wondering what to expect from him mood-wise. Wondering how being around his friends who are experiencing more typical college experiences with the freedom, partying, etc., that goes along with that will make him feel? We have only a few absolute most attend family events scheduled-- other than that we have said he is pretty much free to catch up with his sleep and do whatever during this break. Any thoughts will be much appreciated.
     
  2. Just_A_Mom

    Just_A_Mom Member

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    First, sleep. Then, friends. You will be last (sorry). If you want to find out what his life is like - invite his friends over and order pizza, sit and listen.
    Be prepared for a little bit of a downer the day before he heads back.
     
  3. mnolan

    mnolan Parent

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    What to expect

    Sleep is really #1.......let them have it!

    this is our second holiday and can already tell that they have lots less in common with their old friends.....one night watching movies and pizza seems to be about it now.

    Our daughter really didn't want to do a lot of scheduled things...just hang around the house, watch TVmovies/ESPN, eat whenever and whatever she wanted...in other words, do what the rest of us get to do all year!

    She wasn't looking forward to going back last January...but I suspect she will be somewhat "tired" of home after a couple of weeks this time.
     
  4. Capt MJ

    Capt MJ Member

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    From feedback from our midshipmen sponsor family over the years, especially plebes, don't trot them around in their uniforms or expect them to be putting them on for show to the friends and family. They are not required to wear it on leave, and have been living in it for quite a few months now, with the exception of Thanksgiving break. With the right coaxing and expressions of family pride, you might get good results for religious services.

    Overall, the freedom to be totally unscheduled - the real break from military life.
     
  5. USNA1982BGO

    USNA1982BGO Retired Staff Member

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    OK, so we have the anomaly cadet. Home for 30 minutes and was already bored. Asked "what are we going to do?" The boredom factor can sink in due to them being 'on' for so many hours during the day at an academy. Ours was up each morning by 0700 (she wanted to maintain a routine since the PFE is given when they get back from break).
    Our solution was to go to a local gym and get a special pass for her to go and workout while we were at work. Our LA Fitness even offered our cadet a free month just because.
    Lots of watching TV, going to the movies, walking around the mall, sleeping, laundry to get the stink out of stuff and taking long hot showers (be prepared for those electric, water and food bills to go up).
    Getting together with friends can be a very interesting experience. They can't wait to see them and once they get together quickly figure out their college experiences are very different. They may get mad at friends who promise to meet them and show up late or cancel at the last minute. Friends won't understand that they shouldn't be drinking, party, etc. on leave.
    They may spend hours online, Facebooking their friends from the Academy or on the phone trying to make arrangements to see a company mate who lives close by.
    Ours was never keen on attending the Academy Ball after 4/c year, the last thing she wanted to do was put that uniform on.
    For females there will be requests for manicures, pedicures and hair cuts (great Christmas gifts). We treated ours to a relaxing massage to work those stress kinks out.
    The day or two before they go back don't be surprised if they get really quiet. Our cadet shared with us that until the beginning of their 2/c year she felt like she was going to get sick every time she was driven through the gate (and she LOVED it at the Academy).
    They have become so independent that they may not talk too much, but as they relax they'll open up! Each and every cadet/mid has a different relationship with their family and they react differently to being home. Some want to spend the entire leave period with the family, others want to spend it with friends. Best advice, just go with the flow and let them set the pace.
    As the years progressed ours spent less and less time at home during leave, choosing to go home with friends before or after Christmas.
    Enjoy the holidays!
    Best to you and your families :thumb:
     
    Last edited: Dec 14, 2009
  6. rotorhd

    rotorhd Member

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    Christmas Break

    Going back after the Holiday break was never easy. It was especially bad plebe and youngster year for my class because finals still took place in January. Someone finally wised up and moved them to BEFORE break.

    Enjoy your time off. Make smart choices. Do something to thank your parents for their support...trust me, it will mean a great deal to them.:smile:
     
  7. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    My cadet has had the same group of friends since 3rd grade...they are very close. I see no waning of the time spent with them. It's so much time in fact, that I suggested his friend pick him up at the airport (I have to work) and his friend gets all his time, so he should share in the responsibility! Mine will sleep til noon most days, then he'll go to the gym, watch movies, play video games, play golf, play whatever everyone is playing. He will spend some time with the fam, but will be with his friends a good deal, too. Mine is doing a WP trip over spring break, so this is it til summer. :frown:
     
  8. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    While our DS is at Prep, and not the SA, it appears to be the exact same thing.

    The only experience we have in this was Thanksgiving Break and while it was only 3 days, he pretty much followed the exact descriptions as above. One interesting note was how annoyed he was at his Naval Academy friend (female, friends since NJROTC years) missed her appointment at the favorite meeting spot for all returning college students. She promised to make it Christmas when they talked/text at the Army Navy game.

    ....Man it's going to be a long 2 and a 1/2 weeks lol He'll be dying to get back :biggrin:
     
  9. Aspen

    Aspen Member

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    It may not happen with your son, but be prepared and understanding if his mood changes a couple of days before he returns.

    According to our son who graduated this year from USMA, cadets can have mixed feelings about returning after the first Christmas leave. There are several reason why. First, it's the first extended break they've had since reporting to the academy and the prospects of returning to the regimented likestyle can be a downer after a couple weeks of 'freedom'. Second, during the break they spend time with friends who tell about all the new freedoms they've experienced at school. This is in sharp contrast to the cadet's experience. Finally, although the cadets have made new friends at the academy who will become some of their closest friends in life, those relationships probably haven't reached that point yet and the cadets may still feel closer to their hometown friends.

    The good news is that the 'funk' is temporary and, according to our son, is gone shortly after returning. The cadets' bonds with the academy really strengthen after the second semester as the unique rigors of Plebe year end and the cadets become much more accustom, and accepting, of the academy lifestyle. Other than the first Christmas leave, our son was visably eager to return to the academy after his various breaks.

    Hope you and your cadet have a great Christmas.
     
  10. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Another reason for lack of enthusiasm: some of our cadets are spending two weeks in the sunny south or other more agreeable climates...what a bummer to go back to the constant gloom of a WP winter!
     
  11. kdbax

    kdbax Member

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    You should try living in upstate NY all year!:eek: There's a reason my family heads out on a cruise during President's Week in February.

    Since KP operates on a trimester basis, our son was home for a week in November - well, almost a week, since he was doing cross-country in the fall. One day he went to classes with his HS friends who are at a local college - and he couldn't imagine that kids were deciding whether they "felt like" going to class that day. Not an option in his world! He liked seeing his friends, sleeping in, etc. I expect the same routine when he comes home tomorrow. The only "must do" family events for him are church and Christmas Day.
     
  12. Maximus

    Maximus Member

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    DS mentioned that he was looking forward to walking on the beach this weekend....man I hate south Florida :biggrin:

    Too bad it's cool and raining here right now....:eek:
     
  13. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    To quote the late Bing Crosby: "....and may all your Christmases be white."
     
  14. bruno

    bruno Retired Staff Member

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    I feel your pain- my son is supposed to finish up at VMI Saturday afternoon and he and two roommates are getting rides to Dulles for Sunday am flight to Boston. I am expecting this plan to have some serious disruptions as the same storm that is going to whack you there Saturday is then moving north to New England (where it is 6 degrees right now with a 15 mph wind blowing - so feels like about
    (-10).
    Ain't winter grand??!
     
  15. pedro4

    pedro4 Member

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    One surprise for me was that my cadet did not want to gorge himself like I assumed. I loade3d up on junk food, but he ate very little and worked out a lot. Those uniforms are tight, and he didn't want to gain any weight. He is down from 210 to 195 pounds.
     
  16. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    I just spoke to my son at West Point. His last TEE is tomorrow morning so he can't leave until the afternoon. It sounds like his flight out of JFK Sat. night may not happen. WINTER = :thumbdown:
     
  17. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    That is a replay of last year...but the good news is they clear those airports so fast!! Keep the faith!
     
  18. WAMom68

    WAMom68 Founding Member

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    I was trying to be positive until my son called about 45 minutes ago (11 pm in NY) because his flight out of JFK for 7 pm tomorrow is already cancelled. He is not a happy camper. :unhappy:
     
  19. mom3boys

    mom3boys Parent

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    Am sooooo sorry! Am sure he has been on the phone w/ the airline and by now has a new plan worked out. The cadets are pretty good at figuring this out!
     
  20. pedro4

    pedro4 Member

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    Sorry WAmom

    Godspeed to your cadet! I blame Al Gore.
     

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