It’s hard to believe that my oldest son has graduated from high school. It seems like only yesterday I was crying while filming him getting on the school bus for kindergarten. His little legs barely long enough to span those big black steps as he climbed aboard that huge yellow tank-like machine which would take him to a building for half the day while I went to work and worried if he would be okay or need me. He was fine, of course, him being the independent little man that he was even then. And now, today, at eighteen, he’s still as independent as ever.
His decision to enlist in the Army National Guard last year was part of that independent spirit. A spirit my husband and I worked hard to nurture, feeling it important to permit our children to be who they ARE and not who we thought they should be. That led our son on his path last July and he’s looking forward to leaving for Boot Camp June 27th and has yet to say, even once, he thinks he might have made a mistake. He knows his mind, his heart and his dreams and they tell him serving his country is his course.
Not too long ago, he told me, “Mum, if I don’t do this, I won’t feel complete.” A person who knows his path that well is one I admire. At his age I had a dream, but I wasn’t encouraged, plus there were other…let’s say issues, and I had to veer off course and it’s taken me my entire adult life to get back on track. My son has the support of his father, me and numerous other family members and friends. His father and I strived to give him our unconditional love and a secure home life, plus a childhood, filled with happy memories he can recall his entire life.
My son graduated with honors and his father and I couldn’t be prouder. He received a Military Scholarship and was surrounded by friends and faculty who admire and like him. I received a lot of compliments over the years from his teachers and the school administration about his respectful, positive attitude, and that’s a tribute to my husband and me. Many parents don’t give themselves credit, so I hereby declare that we did a good job with our son.
My son has been a blessing from the day he was born. Not only did I teach him, but he taught me. I learned patience, perseverance, pride and self-sacrifice without thought. He has been a joy. Oh, I’ve had days when I wanted to ground him for life, but those would pass when he would look at me with his big blue eyes and say, “I love you Mommy.” He definitely knew, and still knows, how to suck up! But I stuck to my guns when I had to! Parenting is not to be taken lightly if you want your child to turn out “good”.
Children are tough and parenting isn’t for the weak or the timid, because it’s a job. But it’s a job you can look back on with pride if you’ve done your very best and put your heart, soul, blood, sweat and tears into it. That’s what my husband and I did and it paid off. Lots of love, thousands of hours of worry, and way too many times of placing our emotions aside to ensure we made the right decision and not deprive our son of something because we were afraid he’d get hurt. After all, he had a right to live life unimpeded by worry-wart parents who wanted to place him in a bubble to protect him from all the evils of the world! We knew we had to permit him to grow and learn and sometimes he had to hurt in order to do it. Just like now, I must let him leave the protection of our nest and go HIS way, no matter how scary it is for ME, or how much MY heart aches.
I know, logically, it won’t ache for long. He’ll be back. We provided him the foundation and a loving, secure home and as Dorothy knew, my son knows…there’s no place like home…