He's a boy... He's a man...
Dec. 1, 2010 5:36 pm
Updated: Dec. 8, 2010 7:30 pm
This is a totally off-topic subject regarding a milestone in a young man’s life. See the separate blog for our culinary experiences.
On November 17th I had a very vivid dream. The kind that sticks with you for a long time. My son was about 2 years old, a very happy child that crawled up into my lap and gave me the best hug. You know the kind, the "I love my Mom" kind of hug. It’s
a dream that I would love to have over and over again. He’s my little boy...
But he’s not a little boy, he’s 20 years old and my husband and I were preparing to leave on vacation. A very special vacation... to see him graduate from Army Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He’s a man...
This journey began several months ago when he came home and announced that he was interested in joining the military. Having gone to community college for 2 years, there were no jobs in the area. He didn’t want to be 20 years old and living at home because
he had to, not because he wanted to. Our little boy was planning on leaving... a man’s decision. We are proud of the fact that he made this mature decision on his own, for the right reasons, and not on a whim. Not the choices of a boy, but of a man.
I could hardly wait to see my boy. It was the day before Thanksgiving. As we waited anxiously in the bleachers at the graduation ceremony, the new soldiers marched onto the field. While outwardly many still looked like boys, their training had prepared them
to be men.
After the ceremony, the crowd left the bleachers to find their loved ones. We’re searching, but we can’t find him. My first inclination was to yell "Hey Buford!", my nickname for him since he was a little boy. Instead we found a drill sergeant who bellowed
out a last name. Immediately a young man reported to the drill sergeant. I hardly recognized him. Unfamiliar clothes and glasses, and a close-shaven hair cut. (See a previous blog regarding his long flowing locks of hair.) However, when he turned toward us,
there was no mistaking that big grin. My boy was still there.
He was full of stories of his experiences during basic. Some were amusing regarding drill sergeants’ off-color cadences and told with a boy’s amusement. Some were serious about experiences of war and told with a man’s respect.
In some ways, he is much the same and in others he has changed. He no longer has the boy’s insatiable appetite, grazing through the fridge on a whim, but that of a man used to eating at regular mealtimes.
Texting and Facebooking almost immediately... he’s such a boy. Signing up for his own phone service, paying for personal items..., money out of his own pocket, not mine... He’s a man.
We joined up with one of his soldier buddies and his parents to go to a movie. Like boys, they debated on what movie to see. Later, he told us that now he really knew what it meant when they said he would feel proud to wear the uniform. He had several people
stop to congratulate him and/or thank him for his service. (Evidently basic training graduates are easy to spot during their first taste of freedom.) That emotion didn’t come from a boy, but from a man.
As it came time to leave, we hugged him goodbye. It was a strong hug from a man, but I realized that no matter what, he would always be my little boy.
Shakespeare wrote "To sleep, per chance to dream." Hopefully that little boy will reappear in my dreams.
We are fortunate that our son will be able to come home for Christmas. His advanced training should be completed sometime in March and after that, who knows. But we are very grateful for the time that we will be able to spend with him and the time spent recently
with him. Since it was Thanksgiving, we were very lucky to have him for the holiday and all through the rest of the weekend.
As an added note, to all of those that have loved ones in the military, be very grateful that we live in the times that we do that we can get regular mail, phone calls, text messages, emails and video chats from our loved ones. And think of those in the past
that may not have been so fortunate, that may have gone for weeks or months without hearing word from them.
Thank you to AR for providing an avenue for expressing our opinions and thoughts, whether personal or culinary.
God bless our troops, past and present.
My little boy...
John & a friend at his going away party
He's a man...