Saturday, February 03, 2007

Choices

For all the insane things that happened in my life, midnight moved every couple of months, drugs and alcohol a commonplace occurrence, quitting school, being homeless, all the crazy shit I can't believe I lived through, I've come to the realization that those things don't define me.

Yeah, they helped mold my personality, gave me perseverance, but since then I've met and married an incredible man, had three incredible children, gotten two college degrees, watched both my parents die. That made one hell of an impact on me, too.

But, I never would have done a bit of that if I hadn't wanted to provide a better life for my son, to give him the chances and experiences I never had.

And he has. He went to an excellent school for 9 years straight. One school in nine years. He went to a total of 4 schools his whole life. He went on trips every year with his school, visiting out of state (and country) locales. He had new clothes every year. He was never homeless or without electricity. He has had regular doctor and dental visits. He will graduate in the top 3rd of his class in 15 short weeks. He was supposed to go to college, get his masters in law and become an excellent lawyer.

He has his faults. Waiting until the last minute to complete a task is one of them. In fact he waited too late to complete his college application to start in the Fall.

Now, he tells me he doesn't want to go to college right now. Instead he wants to go into the Marines.

I feel like I have failed. I know he makes his own choices, that I will support those choices, that he is still a good kid, with his whole ahead of him.

He has always liked challenges. When he was 8 or 9 he was solving algebraic equations in his head. He'd say, "Don't give me the easy ones, Mom, make them hard!" He won't do his homework if it isn't hard enough.

He is taking 5 AP classes, working, and on the wrestling team. He lifts weights with the football players. He is tough. And smart.

He sees the Marines as a challenge. He sees being a Marine as something very few people can do. He wants to be one of them.

I told him there was a real possibility that he would have to point a gun at someone and kill them. Or be killed. He said he could do that. He said he wanted to go to Iraq, that it was the right thing to do. He wants to do heroic things, not so people will call him a hero and worship him, but that few people can do it, and he wants to be one of them.

I feel better now that he's explained his reasons to me.

Now I'm just terrified.

5 comments:

shoe said...

yeah, being a mommy is hard sometimes. but he sounds like he has some pretty fantastic priorities. makes me proud and i've never met the punk. good luck, and good job.

Yabu said...

Good for him...a man has to do what a man has to do!!! Regardless.

Lisa W. said...

Little solace I know, but there are worse things he could become involved in at the moment. He'll find his way and I agree with him on the fact that not just anyone can be a Marine. Be proud Mom...you haven't failed.

KurtP said...

Sounds like you raised a good, thoughtful human being.
One that you can proudly call a benefit to the human race, and America meeds people like him.

Kelly(Mom of 6) said...

Well, I got a lot of those same reasons for mine joining the Army. Don't be afraid, be proud.