During my son's elementary graduation ceremony,a slideshow was played. It featured every child in the fifth grade. First, a picture of the child holding a paper with their name was shown, followed by a picture of them holding a sign with "I will be " followed by a career/profession on it. The slideshow was titled "When I Grow Up ..."
I watched as child after child was shown along with their future professions. There were bankers and doctors, teachers and entrepreneurs... I wondered what my son chose. I expected Zookeeper, Farmer, Pet Store Owner or Guitarist.
His picture came up. His sign said "in the military."
My heart stopped. I could not draw a breath. My mind was suddenly flooded with images of him on the battlefield, broken and bleeding. If I could have formed a word it would have been "NOOOO!!!!" but then the initial panic that had frozen me thawed.
My grandfather was in WWII , along with all my great-uncles. Many of the men in my family have served. I have several high school friends serving now and there are even more in the army now that I deeply care about. I have always supported our troops and give them the utmost respect. How could I ever say no to my son serving his country if it's his choice to do so? How do you say, "No, you can not be a hero. You can't defend those who can't defend themselves. I am too greedy to let you."
I can't do that. My quick flare of panic was soon replaced with pride. I try hard to raise my son to be a good man. If he chooses to go into the military, to put his life on the line for others, that is more confirmation that I am doing my job right.
I also recalled that the boy has changed his mind about what he wants to be several times, and he still has many years to decide. Whatever he chooses, I will support it and I will be proud, even if he chooses the scariest job a mother's child could have. If that is his choice I will support him and pray for him as I do for all our soldiers. I may never sleep again, but I'll support his decision. :)