Ron called me from the bus tonight, "Bad news, Mom, I passed my ASVAB test. Bad news for you, but good news for me."
I'm not ready to write this post. I need more time to think about it. But time has run out and this is not my decision. My son is 17 and initiated his first discussion with a recruiter over a year ago. He learned about a program where he can take basic training between his junior and senior year in high school, with advanced training after he graduates. No papers have been signed, but passing the test was the next step. He wants us to sign this week, so he can take his physical next week.
This is something my son has wanted since sixth grade, the 2001-2002 school year. Just as he was entering adolescence and his ascent into manhood, twelve years old, terrorists attacked his country. He felt so impotent. He was ready to bear arms that day. Ever since, all he has talked about is becoming a soldier. And he has researched it. He read books and watched movies about wars back to ancient times. Even when my friend's son was killed in Iraq, Ron's resolve did not waiver. Part hero. Part servant. That is just how he is made.
Ron knows I'm torn. If this is his heart's desire, I want him to succeed in it. I know the discipline will be good for him. I just don't want him to actually fight. When he first came to live with us, I would check to see if he was breathing at night, this miraculous gift from God to me, this precious boy. I worked hard to keep him safe, secure and free from harm, to erase the horrors of his first few years and fill him with good childhood memories. I don't think they will let Mama come along to watch over him. He would be mortified to know I even wrote that last sentence. And, truth be told, he is fast reaching the age where he watches over me.
So I tell myself, it's the National Guard and not full-time active duty. I can steer him into training in a non-combat field. They will pay for his education.
Still I'm scared.
I wonder if they really need my signature.