I have been an activist for peace and non-violence for many years working with groups such as Pace e Bene and Pax Christi. I am even certified by the U.S. Department of Peace. Yes, there is one.
I now find myself in a role I never thought I would embrace, Army mom. Not that I didn't appreciate the military. My father, brothers, cousins and nephews served their country honorably. I've just seen firsthand the toll service can take on soldiers and their families. I've seen that distant look in a soldiers eyes when his thoughts recall a vision that no one should have to remember. A look that confirms that there is a part of him that will never leave the battlefield.
It's just not something I wanted for my children.
But as children will do, they grow up. They become their own men and women who make thoughtful decisions about their futures. This past spring I had heard "on the streets" that my youngest Chris, 21, had been visiting a recruiting station on a regular basis. Wanting to find out what was going on I took him out to lunch.
After ordering I turned to him and said "I know what you're doing. Are you serious about going in to the service?" It's an amazing moment when your child looks you straight in the eye and confidently says "This is what I want." The litany of questions regularly circulating in a mothers mind, "have you thought of this?" " Considered that?" melt away.
You've done your job. As the saying goes "God doesn't have grandchildren" It's time to step aside and respect their choices. I told him I loved him and supported his decision 100%. In February he graduates from basic training. And this old peace sign flashing, hippy dippy chick will be a teared up beaming with pride Military mom.