Views From Kennewick

Thursday, January 26, 2006

My Soldier Son

My youngest son is in the Army serving in Kuwait. I couldn't be more proud of him. Half the time I feel like a mama hen with her chest all puffed out. Of course, this embarrasses him.

Oh well, it's my job afterall.

He should know by now one must have a sense of humor, and use guilt tactics well to be a parent.

He emailed me about this post a little while ago, and suggested I let loose on my political views...with the added note to not sound like Ann Coulter. Ha! As if...

A couple of years ago, shortly after finishing high school, JR asked me where his birth certificate was. I told him, he grabbed it, said "thanks" and rushed out the door. About 2 minutes later, my older son TR said, "oh hey, Mom...JR just went to join the Army."

Let me tell you this old lady was beatin' feet running out the door trying to catch the kid. He was long gone. I couldn't believe it, I thought he was nuts. We are after all, at war.

He came home later...much later. By then I was almost used to the idea. He had that look on his face he gets when he's done something he's really proud of.

My argument was effectively toast. (Don't tell him, but I was proud of him too.)

He worked out with his recruiter. We called a physical therapist I knew to help him with his knee problems. He worked out more. And one day he sat down to tell me what his job was.

I'm amazed I didn't faint on the spot.

Without going into details, he's in a "stealth unit". This was somewhat comforting until he came home after seeing a video of his new job.

So tell me about it, I said.

"Well, the video shows all these guys in a Humvee with their gear on and weapons and stuff..."

"Yeah?" I said.

"Yeah...and then out of nowhere pops up a buncha guys aiming weapons at the guys in the Humvee."

"Yeah????" I said.

"Yeah, Mom. I'm one of the guys that pops up!"

Someone give me a valium, please. Or so was my thought at the time. Not long after, we took the boy to Phoenix, and he was formally inducted.

The induction was amazing. He stood tall, strong, determined. He repeated the oath word for word, and didn't leave "God" out. When it was over, we had a few minutes with him, then he was taken to the airport to fly to Ft. Knox.

The calls home and emails were infrequent, but I expected that. Then the day came that he graduated. The whole family went. It was quite an event. But the great thing was that we got to take him home for a while afterwards.

He seemed to almost be a man then...just stepping over that invisible threshold.
It was wonderful to have him home, and his friends gathered at the house to surprise him with a huge party. It was just amazing. They're all great kids and they had a blast.

Too soon, it was time for him to ship out to Germany. At that point, he wasn't sure exactly where he'd be, but Germany was the first stop. I think he enjoyed it some, though he sure didn't care for the weather.

It seemed forever till he got to take leave. He flew to Tucson first, visited with friends, then came up to Kennewick (I don't think he's overly impressed) and stayed a few days. When he came off that plane, he came home to the same family that saw him graduate.

What we didn't realize till the moment we saw him was that he crossed that threshold. He's no longer my little boy...but he is one magnificent man.

3 Comments:

  • You're doing a great job as an army mom. It was different for me in Israel, since my boys would come home every few weeks.

    By Blogger muse, at 8:16 PM  

  • Very touching, you should be proud of your son.

    By Blogger Mike, at 11:19 PM  

  • That is stuff that stirs my heart. You know he is not a child, but he's your child.

    Tell him from Northern Ireland we support him and his buddies, God bless

    Maurice, Nola, Steven and Philip

    By Blogger Maurice, at 5:13 PM  

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