Tuesday, May 4, 2010

First kid, First kid story, and a bit of mom over reacting

You would think I would start with some anecdote from 1 of 6's early years. Nope. This story is the moment I realized my baby was a man.

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.

Dad agreed, but thought I was a bit nuts. So I asked dh to get dressed in uniform to talk to recruiter when he came back to pick up 1 of 6. And I got dressed. And swiped 1 of 6's birth certificate and drove off. No birth certificate, no signing up, I thought.

I only spent about an hour and a half at a local chain restaurant before I realized there wasn't enough coffee in the world to keep me awake any longer. I went home, but the recruiter hadn't showed yet. I hid the birth certificate.

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!??

I watched most of the ceremony from the back of the stands, all those brave young men in uniform. And realized that's what his Dad and I had raised. A brave young man. Who wanted to serve his country, like his grandfathers and father before him.

After the graduation, back at the hotel room, where everyone is changing and relaxing, I talked to 1 of 6. I told him how hard it was for me to let go, that it had been my job to take care of him, protect him. And here he was now, a member of the armed forces in a time of war. My 6 foot 2 inch handsome son squished me in a bear hug and said "Mom, now it's my turn to protect you."

I turned to mush.

And I am so proud.

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