Thursday, January 19, 2012

The one where he now belongs to the USMC

I don't even know what to call this post. That's how my whole week has rolled. Tuesday I couldn't even tell you what day of the week it was. First I thought it was Monday and then I thought it was Thursday. WTF, me? And then Tuesday night- the bomb dropped. I was making supper and Sean and Mike had just walked in.

Sean- I heard from the recruiter today. He called and said he had good news.

Me- Oh yeah? What?

Sean- I have to go to MEPS tomorrow, I'm swearing in on Thursday.

Me- *sputtering* But...what...all your waivers?*He had to get a waiver for his wrist tattoo because it wasn't an inch from his wrist. He had to get a waiver for his home school diploma. It's been nothing but a pain from the beginning.*

Sean- All went through. I'm in.

Me-*mouth hanging open, still stuttering* but...but...

Sean- No buts! All I need now is for my job assignment and ship out date to come down.

And then he went off to take a shower.

Lu- Why do you sound so surprised? You knew this was coming.

Me- Well, I mean, they kept jerking him around, and the Air Force tried to steal him, and he had a plan B and it was a good plan. And now he's leaving!

Lu- Again, you knew this was coming.

Me- You don't get it yet, but you will in eighteen years. *Pointing at baby Dylan* He's my baby. And now he's leaving home. And you should know that after you leave things are never the same. And he's joining the service, the Marines no less, and he could get sent to Afghanistan and die.

Let me first say that I have nothing against the Marines. Except that they are the first in. They lose more military personnel every year. Sean knows this. Sean doesn't care. And despite an IQ and test scores that qualify him for Intelligence jobs, Special Ops, or millions of other things, Sean wants to be Infantry. First in. He's wanted this since he was six. Seriously, six. And while I admire the determination and his fire, as a Mom, I'd like him to have a nice behind the scenes job. Like, stateside. But I know that isn't his dream and I have to support his dream, regardless of what my dreams for him might have been.

Also, I was raised in an Air Force family, so it's hard to switch loyalty. Which only military people will understand.

I'm not sure anyone in the family gets it. Sean thinks I'm not proud of him. And that is far from the truth. Sean is amazing. I couldn't be more proud of him. And I am proud that he wants to serve his country. And I'm proud that he's confident and independent and nothing I say would talk him out of this. I'm glad he's going for his dreams. But I can be proud and glad and happy for him and still be sad for me.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm totally looking forward to all of my chicks leaving the nest. I know that the house will be cleaner, quieter and easier to take care of. Mike and I will have some quality time together and I won't have so many distractions from writing. I'm not one of those people who are scared to death of what they'll do when they have an empty nest. Not anymore. I have a career and outside interests. I have friends and hobbies. Mike and I have plenty to talk about besides the kids. Our trip to New Orleans proved that we can still be "just Mike & Stacey" and enjoy it.

But I will miss my chicks like nobody's business. I will miss the loud chaotic craziness of five adults and a baby living in the same house. I will miss talking out a story line with the kids or insane dinner conversations. I will miss having partners in crime. I will miss sarcastic banter (Mike's not so big on the sarcasm). Who will explain quantum physics to me, for gosh sakes?

I'm excited for the kids to start their lives. I know, living at home, they both feel like they are kind of in limbo and waiting for "their real lives to begin". And I understand that. And I'm excited for "the rest of my life" to begin. I'm excited for the next stage in Mike & I's relationship to begin. I'm excited to lay on the couch, after a long day working, and not have to keep turning the TV up, in order to hear it.

But I'm sad too. I'll miss those chicks. They are my kids, my chicks, my spawn. But they are also some of my best friends. So sending them off is bittersweet. It's the culmination of my life's best work. Nothing I achieve from here on out, can ever compare to raising confident, intelligent, responsible adults. I devoted the last 21 years of my life to it and seeing it come to fruition is supremely gratifying. And terrifying. But mostly, gratifying.

So I'm going to have a glass of wine at dinner tonight. And I'm going to toast- Sean on the beginning of his journey, and to me- in the next phase of mine.



  1. I so understand your ambivalence. It is so gratifying to see your kids become responsible adults but it's so hard to let go. In your case even harder knowing that while he is doing what makes him happy, he is literally putting his life on the line. I am proud of him and you and Mike for raising such a responsible young man. I will also shed a little tear for you.... Sending you lots of love and cyber hugs! {{{{{{{Spot}}}}}}}

  2. This is a great posting I have read. I like your article.