I’m at the playground with my four-year-old son. He’s swinging and sliding down the new equipment in our local park. He whizzes past me, getting rid of all the energy he’s stored in his small body from a day of pre-school rules.
He picks up a small stick, and pretends he’s fighting the bad guys. I’ve seen boys all over the world play this game. “Mom, look at me, I’m a soldier,” he says.
Yesterday, my cell phone rang and I heard these words again, only this time, his voice was deep.
“Mom, I’m a soldier now,” he said with such pride.
“Congratulations,” was all I could say at that moment. He had a plane to catch and I would see him later that evening at the airport.
What went through my mind was a mixture of emotions: fear, pride, love, loss, sadness and happiness.
My seventeen-year-old son enlisted with the National Guard. He wanted this more than anything.
This summer he will attend a nine week training course before returning to high school to finish his senior year. After that, he plans to attend college and continue training during those years.
When I gave birth and held him in my arms, it never occurred to me that one day he would become a soldier. I’m sure it’s different for families who have grown up in the military, but for me, this is new, and I shall have to learn to put my fears aside.
Perhaps I just need to be a Gutsy mom, and stop worrying.
How about you? Do you think about what your children will become when they grow up? If they already are adults, did they end up becoming who you thought they would?