A Young Marine??

So the teenager has decided he wants to join the USMC. 

It's not an overnight decision by any means, he's been talking about it since he was 12.  My older brother was a Marine for 22 years and the teen was always inspired by him.  When he told me, at age 12 he wants to be a Marine like his uncle, I smiled and said, "Well it's a long way off."  The teenager hasn't stayed interested in anything BUT this, (and girls) for more than a few months.  As he got older and kept talking about it, I slowly came to the realization that this might just be what he really and truly wants to do.  He's excited about it, he even has a USMC Poster on his wall.  He's NEVER hung a poster on his wall before.

For me, well, as I visited the recruiter and signed a consent for him to start the process, it's somewhat bitter sweet.  I am so glad that he's thinking about his future.  I'm one that supports the military, and supports that they do something that NOT everyone would want to do.  As a mother of sons, it's one of those things I've always somewhat considered, since my brother did it.  I don't believe that it should always be "someone else's kid" that goes.  If my son(s) decide that is the choice they want to make, then I will support it- you know assuming that thier reasons are sincere and logical and it's not just "I don't know what else to do- so I guess I'll join the military."

For the teenager, he gave me some pretty good reasons for wanting to join.  About self respect, self reliance, self discipline.  I can't exactly put down those things.  It almost brought tears to my eyes, the realization that he's grown up so much and making decisions for himself.  I know that if I reject the idea, in 3 months when he turns 18, he'll do it anyway.  I'd rather not put that kind of wall between us, if this is something he really wants to do. 

I'm proud of him for not taking the easy way.  And yes, I do somewhat consider going to college, the easy way.  Not that college is easy, but when compared with spending the first six months of the Marines in intense training, and the first THREE of those months- so intense that I can't even imagine it.  Yes, college seems easy.  Especially for the teenager who has breezed through school and can give "C" effort to get A's.  In college teachers don't care that much if you don't show up, if you fail or if you squeak by.  Sure they care, they are educators, but the only life you're hurting is your own.  In the Marines, well, attempting to squeak by can get you or others killed. 

I'm also kind of sad.  I'm sad to think that this year could be his last year at home.  That after he graduates high school and goes to BootCamp, he's not JUST my son anymore.  His responsibilities will go far beyond even my craziest moments as his mother.  So it makes me sad, as the selfish mom thinking that her boy is gonna go away and come back a man.  Bittersweet for sure.  I'm sure my range of emotions about this will go back and forth for the next several months.  I'm prepared for that.

As a mother of sons, my job is to raise them to leave the nest and go out and start thier own lives and families.  I like to think I've done a decent job with the teenager so far, and I admit that his ADHD came in handy back when I was working so hard to hide him from all the crap that went on with his step dad.  However, I worry- what if it wasn't enough.  What if I didn't teach him enough? 

I guess the Marines will fill the gaps, huh?

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