Forgive me for straying from food for this post, but my family is central to this blog ( and to me!) and something important is happening in our family in the coming week. About a month ago, my son announced to us that he was joining the Marines. He had toyed with the idea of joining the military previously, but then changed his mind (as young people are inclined to do), but this time he is serious, and next week he will be sworn in and head off to boot camp. And I will become a Marine mom.
My husband is from a military family, and we live in a military town, and we have numerous friends and family in the military, but I have to say that it is completely different when your child (though he is now 22) is headed into the military. I feel a strange mix of pride and fear, bcause I know that boot camp is tough, and like every mom, I want my son to succeed. I worry that he will end up in harm's way, or that he will regret a decision that he won't be able to do anything about until his term of service is complete. But on the other hand, if he is successful, he stands to benefit from additional training and education that he might not have had any other way.
So often, we as Americans take for granted to willingness of a whole population of men and women to serve our country around the world to defend freedom and ensure our way of life. I have no doubt that I will never take that for granted again. Whether you agree with current policy or not, there are people - sons, daughters, mothers, fathers- who are in dangerous places all around the world not only waging war but bringing peace, ensuring security, opposing tyranny, providing humanitarian aid, and representing all of us every day.
So what can I do but be supportive? I encourage him to work out and run, I have bought every book recommended to help recruits prepare for boot camp, and scoured websites for new recruits and parents of recruits for tips and advice to make his life easier. I will write to him, and encourage him, and above all, pray for him. I hope all of you will take a moment to say a prayer for the men and women of our armed forces, or even better, to reach out to their families in your own communities. They are making sacrifices for all of us every day, and they deserve our respect and gratitude.