My grandfathers and my husband's father are all World War 2 vets. All have passed away. Dear husband (I haven't decided on an appropriate nickname for him yet) attended a military academy and has spent nearly 30 years in active service & in the reserves. That's the background.
When 1 of 6 was 19, in college part time, and trying to find direction in life, he happened to start talking with a recruiter. In early fall of 2003 he came home at oh-dark-thirty. I heard the door and went to see what was up. Yes, he was 19, but still, I'm his mom, and I worry.
He had spent the entire time talking with a recruiter, who was going to come back in a few hours to pick him up to *sign up*.
Ok, here is a mom moment- I thought "oh heck no!" I told him he hadn't had enough sleep to take the ASVAB and get a high enough score to get into the military specialty he wanted, and he should think this through some more, talk to a friend who was a recruiter from another service, etc.
Shortly after that the recruiter arrived, and spent nearly an hour on our front deck, before dawn, talking with 1 of 6 and his Dad. 1 of 6 did not join up that day. But he did a few weeks later.
Which leads to the second part of the story.
Graduation from basic training day arrives, and his Dad, his siblings-4 of 6 and 5 of 6, fiancee and I fly to hot & humid California. At the graduation ceremony itself, I became a bit unglued. Not much, but, I had to get up from the bleachers and stand behind them, I was bawling my eyes out.
1 of 6 had been homeschooled from the 4th grade on. We asked if he wanted to go to public high school, but he decided not to. His entire life he had been *mine*. Mine to raise, love, educate, protect... and now he's in the service. I had given up control of dear husband to the military, made my peace with whatever might come, but my baby!??
And I am so proud.