Last night, #1 Son called to tell me that he had been offered his dream job. This is a career trajectory that he determined completely on his own. He’s worked hard and helped his peers grow and condition towards their similar dreams. I’m so proud.
It’s a bittersweet thing to know that your son will be trained as an infantryman and Army Ranger. That fulfilling his heart’s ambition is to stand between you/me and someone with a gun.
My all-time best days were those when M & K were born. I was neither wired nor wanting to be a mum. But then these babies arrived and every element of my story changed.
For one, I’m not in the White House.
All of those ambitions of a “great life” and showing what I could do and be took a way-back seat to these lives inextricably connected to mine. My best friend during the baby/infant years told me once that having kids is like having your heart walking away from you on many legs. It’s true.
Last night, when K called with news he had been selected for active duty and a Ranger School chaser, pride for him swelled and shock took over.
I finished my dinner and dishes.
Texted a few folks.
Left to see a movie and give my brain a buffer before I began to consciously weigh the import of his call.
As soon as my car fired up, a song about needing a hero began playing.
Ticket purchased, I slogged into the quiet theater. For reasons not projected on screen, I sniffled into a giant hanky for the next three hours.
Perhaps Interstellar was not the best diversion for cavernous thoughts of sacrifice and love.
Somewhere on Bluemont Avenue, I began weeping without restraint.
Perhaps this current season of kenosis or “emptying” is good.
Nothing hindered or snagged those tears or feelings and fears.
Everything just tumbled out.
I wished for a hunky loving shoulder to curl into. But that is wishful thinking and not reality.
Thank goodness for sleep.
Our family will face this adventure with honesty and love. We will be clear-sighted and look towards the future with hope. We will remember to breathe and live well.
In the meantime, will you consider a favor?
I know that we are not the first nor last family to face uncertain futures.
We join many mums and dads; sisters and brothers; aunties, uncles, cousins and more who bid our kids – our soldiers, “God Speed.”
And with so many friends on the full range of opinions and philosophies, I ask you to be kind.
Thoughtful in your input.
Refrain from proselytizing.
Let your love be known unhindered by “teachable moments”, dogma, and political/religious/cultural shots fired.
If you choose to stick around in this community of the imperfect, know you are welcome.
Mean-spirited and self-righteous clabberassery is not welcome.
This means that I will need to continue to check my ego/great thoughts at the door, too.
And please consider this: What do you need when faced with uncertainty?
Loud diatribes of rightness and wrongness?
Accusations about who’s at fault?
Snide comments about “them” and the superiority of “us”?
Or good company to walk with you along the way?
I need good company.
Time with people I love.
Time in the slacker aisle in the faith community that still calls me their own.
A Good JuJu beer as soon as summer hits.
No kid-glove treatment.
Hope and a target to live towards (if either were my daily bread, I’d be very hungry).
I am grateful.
Especially for the folks who walk this unknown way.
Let’s celebrate the good people in our days, the small moments of grace and beauty; a sun that still rises.
And remember that the people with whom we so often vehemently disagree are also someone’s parent, child, sister, brother, friend, and so much more.