|My Husband, circa 1997, wearing his Father’s jacket|
As a first time mom to a wonderful little boy, like all mothers, I worry about my child’s future. I often think about what kind of world he will be growing up in, what the future holds, and what kind of place he will live in.
On both sides of my family, a lot of the older generations of men were members of the US Army and Navy. My husband, like his father before him, was a member of the United States Marine Corps, and was stationed at Camp LeJeune. They are both very proud of their service to our country, as we all of are them, and my husband has mentioned time to time that it would be “really awesome” if our son carried on that tradition and joined as well.
My son is his father’s child, through and through. They look exactly the same (only little one doesn’t have the beard), he makes the same frustrated faces and smiles as his Dad does. He shares in his stubbornness, and I’ve even caught the two of them engrossed in the same YouTube videos of guns and military tanks, bonding and enjoying themselves.
So I’ve come to terms with the inevitable – he will want to follow in his father and grandfather’s footsteps and join the service. But as a mother, I am terrified. No one wants their child to go to war. No one wants their child in be in danger.
But at the same time-I want my son to learn to be resilient. I want him to learn not only to defend himself, but what he believes in and his country. I want him to learn to not be afraid. And like everyone in the service, I want him to defend those who can’t.
Until you have trekked across the country with your family, leaving people you love behind as you move according to orders, you can’t imagine what it’s like to leave loved ones behind. Until you are spending months at a time, only talking or reading emails sporadically as you wait for your spouse, brother, sister, mother or father, to come home; you don’t know what it means to feel that type of loneliness or fear for someone. Until you have lost a loved one in the time of war, you will never fully understand that type of pain. My husband completed his term before we met, and got married. I don’t know what other wives have been through, and I will always admit that. I will also always admit that I don’t know how they do it. I have the upmost respect for them. And a military spouse, and their family, will always have my total admiration.
While I fear for him, I want my son to carry on a family legacy of serving his country. I want him to learn the values instilled in it, and uphold their honor. Only the bravest of the brave put everything on the line to fight for what’s right and defend those who cannot, and I want my son to be one of the bravest there is. I want this because so many people want to, but can’t. And they need someone willing to stand up for them.