My Son Joined the Army

This week my eldest son left for the Army. And, it’s one of those things that makes you realize how quickly the time really does go.

I preach about quality of life, about slowing down, about smelling the roses. But, apparently, I seldom do it.

After all, that young man that’s taller than I am now, was, just a few short months ago, the little baby that liked to sleep on my belly — for every nap. He’s the little guy that I’d nurse while I typed on my undergraduate thesis. He’s the one I taught to read at four, to ride a bike, to stand up straight and tall, even when life dealt some serious blows.

This is my baby… my first child.

As I think about it, I bawl. There seems to be so much more that I should have taught him. There’s so much he still doesn’t know. How could I have failed him like this?

Here in the middle of a war, he decided to join the Army. And all I can do is support him, be sure he knows how much I love him, how proud I am of him… and then simply pray.

I pray alot these days.

And his younger brother and sister are catching the fallout of all the stuff that I feel that I should have taught him, but never quite managed to squeeze it all in. Having lived with his father the last 3 and a half years, my realm of influence was minimized — but I still feel responsible when I see areas where he still flounders.

I guess I wish I could have sent him to the Army perfect. I know they “tear them down” in basic to rebuild them into soldiers, but this is my child, for goodness sakes! And I feel so silly when I get so torn up. He’s grown. I should accept that. But, there’s this fairly large chunk of me that isn’t really happy with that fact.

I am so proud of him. I know he will do well. He’s intelligent, he’s strong and he’s always been great at getting what he wants, once he determines what that is. I know this is what he wants now, what he needs now, where he will excel now. I know these things — but I still miss him. Already I miss him. I worry about him. I worry about where this adventure will take him.

I wonder if he will be safe. I wonder if he will come back from this without the physical and/or emotional scars that so many carry. I’m a mom, so I guess it’s part of my job description to worry, but this topic, on this day, seems excessive… even for me.

So I take a really deep breath and try to find a project among the many that surround me that will effectively consume me and make my mind wander down a path that isn’t fraught with worry for Nicholas. Perhaps I’ll find it, but probably I won’t.