He stood proud in his dress blues, serene and a bit inflated with the stuff young men dream of.
I could only wonder, holding back what I should, if he already knew or could sense the terror hidden in my heart. All I could see was my good natured son, not a newly minted Marine. My easy-going boy who often charmed me to avoid what chores he could.
I wistfully thought I had more of those years to keep him close, to observe the mysterious transformation of a boy becoming a man, but this late bloomer had laid fast his plans to bolt.
He had no time for mothers now; it was life calling that drew him out. After his high school days were done, nothing could keep him from his run. The ground beneath his feet became a runway he was determined to defeat.
Too late for me to lament, if I’d only known his true intent. Here was youth in perpetual motion, brilliant and uniquely unproblematic for his age, and it was his youthful exuberance that took him from my side. How could I hold back that natural tide?
Enlistment was not what we had foreseen for our dearest son. Too many unbidden scenes of the unthinkable had already begun to play havoc in our hearts, but we always knew the choice was never ours to make.
As the turmoil worked its way down to a fizzle, in the end, though we lobbied liked crazed pilgrims for a change of mind, we had no arguments that could dissuade my son’s earnestness.
He said, “Mom, I want to do something good.” And even though we told him so, my young and tender son, had no true idea of the depth of what he had done. We said our peace, he listened, but he had sealed the deal years before. He stepped up in time and would not turn from the dreams he meant to realize.
In the deepest crevice of my heart I hold a fervent wish that fate will never scar him in a cruel way, nor change the exceptional good nature born in his beautiful soul.
He sends pictures now of the things he does - he looks content, sometimes a little worn - and in some, he holds a gun.
[9/5/11, Dress Blues]