My youngest was a surprise. I was not planning on having him at all. I kind of thought my husband and I were finally getting to a stage in life that was going to award us some freedom and we could start to do things that we hadn’t been able to up until now.
I know life sometimes gives you twists and turns and you have to appreciate the blessings, but to be totally honest, I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle this twist of fate. This little guy was different from the rest, but you know what….we will figure it out, that’s what we do!
Today was a big day in our house. My youngest, my surprise gift, left for basic training. We knew this day would come. He was simply born for this type of lifestyle. High energy, motivated, courageous, and loyal- loyal to a fault. It only made sense for him to follow this path.
As any family does when their child is getting ready to venture onto their next chapter in life, we started preparing as we did when our oldest left for college and another left to play hockey out of state for months. I found myself trying to sneak in as much quality time with him as I could. I would ask him to go everywhere with me and typically I’d get resistance and weird grunting noises but like a good guy, he would find his way into the car with me – probably because he knew I’d get him munchkins at the coffee shop. We took long walks, often in silence, but I didn’t care because I was grabbing those moments that I would hold onto when he was gone. I found myself going to stores and picking up little surprises for him, just because. I knew I was doing these things to buy some extra love but that was my prerogative as his mom.
On the flip side, he was doing all the same things my oldest did shortly before leaving for college. There’s an expression that says they “soil the nest”, and it’s true! It’s some right of passage I guess, where they seem to make it extra hard on you to want to be around them. The disobedience goes to a whole new level. They seem to be trying to push you away. I’m not sure if this is because they are trying to cope with their own internal fears and it comes out as disrespect, or if we are just over analyzing their every move because we want them to be perfect before they leave. Either way it is challenging. This has been happening quite a bit recently. I feel like I’ve been arguing about everything he has been doing. Extra resistant, leaving ridiculous messes all over the house, extremely vocal when we disagree, and keeping the house up till all hours of the night because he’s operating on his own timeframes and agenda.
You’re doing me in buddy, you’re really doing me in!!
The last 24 hours that we had were extra hard. I was literally watching the clock and counting the hours till it was time- time for my youngest to gather up what little he was allowed to bring with him and pull out of the driveway with my husband that one last time. I walked him to the truck, gave him the tightest hug I could, told him I was proud of him and that I was going to miss him in ways he couldn’t comprehend. I would be ok though, because I knew he was going to be in good hands. He was going to be trained by the best of the best. He was going to become one of the elite that would endure the rigorous training that would bring him to greatness. THIS is why I was going to make it through our time apart.
I knew it wasn’t forever. It was only 3 months, but in those 3 months he was going to change. He was going to go from being a boy to a man. Would I even recognize him when he returned? He would grow and develop in ways that he couldn’t do here at home. Mentally he would become disciplined, strong, and more self-sufficient. Physically his baby face would turn into a chiseled face, and emotionally he would become more driven to his future goals.
After they pulled away I sat on our front steps, collected my thoughts, and pulled up my own bootstraps. Now it was time to regroup and focus on his return. It didn’t take long for me to start gathering up his things to start washing and reorganizing. I did the same thing when my oldest went to college. It makes me feel better to know that everything is in place, tidy, and clean when we have our Welcome Home.
I’m sure the next few days I’ll be looking over my shoulder for him to come bounding through the back door full of his typical energy and happiness. The house will definitely be a lot quieter but I’ll adapt because I know he’s going to return to me real soon!
Carter, my child, you were unexpected in my life but you brought a whole new dynamic to our family that I didn’t know we were missing. Be a good boy and make me proud, because Mommy is gonna to… lose… her… SHIT if you don’t come home trained !!