CarKiller is on his way down to the MEPS. He has a bit of paperwork to do for a security clearance and tomorrow he ships out for basic training.
I can’t even begin to explain how incredibly proud I am of him. His desire to serve in the military is absolutely rooted in patriotism and concern for his fellow citizens. He grew up in our military family. He knows the life. He tells a story about when he knew, just knew, that he wanted to be a soldier. He was about six years old and his dad came home for lunch one day. Even though his dad wore a uniform since before he was born, that day something was different for CarKiller. He saw his dad come in the door and he really saw that uniform and what it meant (well, as much as a 6 year old can grasp it!) and he saw the man wearing it differently than before He saw someone selfless, not just selfless for his own family, but for an entire nation. He saw someone who absolutely mattered for the good of our country and even the world. He saw courage, strength, and selflessness in Chief in a totally new way. In short, he saw a hero and he said to himself, “I want to be that guy.”
And he wanted to enlist. He will consider “Green to Gold” or Warrant Officer later down the road, after he sees what kind of fit the military is for him first-hand, but he wanted to start out as an enlisted soldier. He wants to do soldiering on the first level. He wants to be a part of the “backbone” and strength of military. Enlisting is a first choice, not a lack of choices.
If you’ve read here for any length of time or if you’ve known me for a couple of years, you know the difficulties that CarKiller has had in simply getting enlisted. Even when enlisting was folks was tough (enlistments are increasing in our current economy. Where once recruiters had to beat the streets and the government offered incredible incentives, folks are now walking in off of the streets quite ready to sign up.) He is perfectly qualified, and yet there was delay after delay. He was disqualified for health issues… asthma that he doesn’t have! He had recruiters who were, quite frankly, lazy and unconcerned about doing their job well or doing it right. We had to fight the good fight about enlisting homeschoolers, incentives and tier status. Many suggested that it was a sign from God that this was not the path for CarKiller. We considered that, too, but as CarKiller continued to pray, he continued to feel called and driven to the military. Almost two years to the day from his first call to a recruiter has passed. He was mighty discouraged at times. He tried to make other plans for his future, but he always came back to wanting to be a soldier. And he pursued it to the end. Perseverance won out. He leaves. Tomorrow.
He will swear in tomorrow morning and then be sent off to the airport, heading to Ft. Jackson, SC (where I did my basic training, btw. TANK HILL!) And then this adventure begins. An adventure that was hard won and diligently fought for, and adventure that brings this mom both tears of joy and tears of sorrow.
I am filled with joy to see his dream begin to materialize and I am filled with sorrow at having to let go of my son. No longer will he be under my care or protection. No longer will he be coming home daily to a family that is trying to get to heaven; to be in the world and not of it. No longer will he have the external, practical, daily support (and example) of family to reject vice and embrace virtue. We may not have been very successful at this, but the very fact that we wanted to be and tried to be has to be an encouragement for him to do the same. It is scary to let go. It is not easier because I have experience. But in the end, it is right and it is good. He is stepping out of the shelter we’ve provided him with all of these years. He is moving on to the life that we, hopefully, prepared him to live and to live well. It is my ardent prayer, desire and hope that all of the good that we have ever managed, all of the standards we instilled, the morals we taught and the Faith we taught and shared with him will be a comfort and a resource for him for living a good and holy life.
I have such an overwhelming feeling that this is my final exam. This is where it all comes together. How well did we raise him? The man he is, the Christian he is, will be tested and proven in a world that is a challenge to so much of what we tried to instill in him. I think he is as prepared as he can be. His faith runs deep, though like the rest of us, he is still growing in it. He is a bit older than many enlistees (CarKiller is nearly 3 years older than his brother, SoldierBoy, was when he enlisted) and that will work to his advantage. He is probably a bit wiser and more mature than so many of his peers will be (though enlistment age is rising.) He is probably more up to the challenge now than he would have been even 2 years ago, and for that I am grateful.
In a few hours, we will be heading out to meet him down south. He will have most of the day free. Tomorrow morning, after we witness his swearing in, we will say have to say good bye (and Chief may get to enlist him! How cool is that?!) We won’t see him for 2 months. I wonder how basic training will change him. I wonder if he will feel lonely. I wonder how we will get along without him (and no, not just because he can drive!) I wonder if I’ve done enough to prepare him for what lies ahead. As I wonder, I do the only thing I can do: I tuck him into the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus and entrust CarKiller to his Divine Mercy. I, once again, place him in the arms of Our Blessed Mother who can go with him where I cannot. I send him with a blessing and many, many prayers.
And just in case you didn’t notice:
I am so very, very proud of this selfless young man I have the privilege of calling “son”.
I know I ask for a lot of prayer here. I beg you once more: please offer a prayer for CarKiller. And maybe one for his mom who will be missing him incredibly.