He will be old enough to enlist. He will be eligible to apply for entrance at any one of the military academies. Of course, my girls, being older, will have reached that eligible age already. However, for the sake of all that is sugar and spice and everything nice (and to not cause ulcers in my husband's belly), we'll just discuss the boy.
I was a Marine. My husband is a Coastie. Stop laughing. Yeah, yeah, he can swim, and I sink. I've heard it all. Carry on.
At any rate, we are obviously a military family. I had always envisioned that if I bore a son, he'd grow up to show interest in the military. Notice I say show interest? I'm not going to force him. My husband is quite possibly going to dissuade him. Still, I can't help but wonder what the years will bring. I am on the fence about the matter, which is quite comical because (1) he's still in diapers and (2) since it will really be all up to him one day.
I see many parents in this day and age cringing at the thought of their child trotting to the local recruiter's office. I try to put myself in their shoes. It's frightening. It's got to be. I'm sure for many, it's honorable and they are extremely proud of their youngin's joining the Armed Services, but not everyone feels that way.
I've recently been reading about a mom named Carla. You see, she writes a blog "Some Soldier's Mom" (and apparently many other things) all about her life as a military mom and spouse. In 2004, she wrote:
We always thought he would grow out of it. The wanting to be a soldier. It was going to be just a fad he went through. Like most boys...Although his two older brothers were in the Navy (one after high school and one during college), we actively discouraged this son from enlisting. It wasn't that his Dad and I objected to the military, but we wanted him to consider all his options. At his insistence, enlisting remained a part of every conversation we had with our son about his future.By his senior year, we were certain that he could be distracted from enlistment as his and his friends' attention turned to colleges and graduation. By November, we had become so tired of his insistence that we sign the consent for the Army's delayed entry program (DEP), that we forbade any mention of it until after the first of the New Year.
He honored our wishes. Until New Year's Day. Then the floodgates opened. And every day after that, multiple times each day, he implored us, begged us, pleaded with us, argued with us to meet with the Army recruiters. We refused. After all, he was still about 90 days from his 18th birthday. No amount of cajoling or urging on our part could convince him to apply to colleges. With the talk of war escalated, he never wavered. His friends talked to him, but even they will tell you that he wanted to serve, that his highly developed love of his country and his patriotism drove him.Three weeks before his 18th birthday, accepting that it was unlikely that he would change his mind, we agreed to meet with the Army recruiter. But we made no promises other than to hear them out...He wanted infantry. He wanted Airborne. Straight. Square. Bold. Certain. He looked us firmly in the eyes and said, "Yes, Dad. Yes, Mom. This is really what I want."
(To read Carla's full post, visit: http://somesoldiersmom.blogspot.com/2004_12_01_archive.html for her most updated post, please visit: http://somesoldiersmom.blogspot.com/)
So, I guess my worrying is for naught. My son will grow up. He will ultimately make his own decisions. I should know this. I should accept this. After all, I too had the passion (perhaps rebellious streak) that Carla's son had. I too had my heart set on the military much against my parents' (mostly my mother's) wishes. When I was 17, I joined the DEP and less than a year later, I was on a flight to Parris Island to begin my military journey. *sigh* I suppose if my son is anything like me, I better get used to this idea now.
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