By Melony Daley
Parents’ Weekend! After waiting a whole year to return to the Academy, the time is finally here. The long-anticipated weekend IS HERE! An over-abundance of emotion is experienced by all; cadet, parents, grandparents and siblings. The logistics of arranging a trip to Colorado is not an easy task for most of us, but it is one we gladly endure. We sit through long lines of cars to enter base, weave our way through crowds of people and navigate the craziness of on base parking, but it is worth it. All the anxiety of whether our 18 or 19 year-old has survived without us and is thriving in an environment surrounded by strangers is held in check by the simple fact that we will FINALLY see our child and envelop him in a hug. We focus all of our attention on every word, movement, groan, or smile. We listen to the undercurrent of emotion. Our child is okay without us, right?
After witnessing the discipline of the Parade and meeting the Cadre, Professors and Chain of Command, we feel confident that everything is just fine. At least, until we learn that our child is hesitant to open his room to us. It cannot be that bad; maybe he left his room a mess, but SAMIs are not the norm anymore so that is to be expected. After much cajoling and needling, we are on our way to see the new room. The door is opened and…the SMELL! What is that smell? Oh my, it is awful. The smell has me convinced we should leave immediately. Thankfully, we were reassured that the smell wasn’t a dead and drowned rat…it was simply very rank dirty clothes.
If this sounds familiar to you, I empathize with you. Very simply put, once they become C3C they lose the ability to drop dirty clothes into the collection bins where they are carted off for them. They are now required to take their clothes to the laundromat and wash and dry their own clothes. At that point I heard a ton of excuses, and while I am not a mother that will hover and take over in every situation, this is one where I could not let it go. I had this image of my son walking around with dirty, under-washed clothes, or worse, being ridiculed for his lack of cleanliness. Not acceptable.
This parent discovered at the Parents’ Weekend Information Fair that C3C and above have the opportunity to drop off clothes to the Vandy or Sijan laundromats. Amazing discovery! For the fee of $8 per 10 lbs cadets can drop off clothes and they will wash, fluff, dry and fold those dirty clothes. More information is at http://www.usafasupport.com/laundromat.html. You may also call 719-333-2615 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. You can purchase gift certificates for your cadet with check, Visa and Mastercard.
Miraculous! Clean clothes equal happy and fresh smelling cadet and happy mom.