Peacemonger Mom

My son just enlisted in the military. I'm a peace activist. Why couldn't he have rebelled in some other way, like being republican?

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Today was a rough day. I spent it doing household stuff after being told by my advisor that she wasn't sure that we could get my IRB (Institutional Review Board) application through in time to get to Camp Casey and interview Cindy Sheehan. I really want to speak with her and hear what she has to say. I can feel the tendrils of my thesis intertwining with the constantly growing strands of my worry about TB, leaving me with a constant song playing in my head - it's all about Iraq, all about military, all about where he/they are going, where they have been.

I headed out to go to Walmart for some groceries and could feel a growing sense of pissed-offedness that wouldn't go away. Traffic pissed me off. The radio pissed me off. Hun pissed me off. I was simply pissed. I wept as I drove down the highway, thinking of the times I had taken TB with me to the grocery store, before our football team played on Sunday, and I would ask him to make notes on our grocery list - "Oh yeah! We need TP! Put TP on the list!" and I would hand him my list, where he would add his own wants as well as the TP or whatever I had requested. I can still see him, balancing the list on his knee, making notes. I still have some of those lists, because I have always felt him moving away from me.

I wept on the way home as well, with my car full of groceries. I swung into the Sonic and ordered a giant cold soda to drink on the way home - it is so hot here, so hot, incredibly hot - and I had to pause to collect myself before I pushed the button to order my gynormous cherry limeade, because TB worked at Sonic for a while, and he and I went to Sonic together a lot, and then the girl comes out with my gynormous cherry limeade, and I notice the sign on the speaker - how did I miss this before? - a local high school team is raising money through their tips, and I paw through the money in my purse for some bills, and no, I don't need change, I need my son to be what I want him to be and to be safe, as I want him to be, and to be near me and to be who I need him to be, but thanks, yeah, you can keep the buck, and I threw the car into reverse, and I drove out, seeing the sonic where TB worked, superimposed over the Sonic where I got my gynormous cherry limeade. My throat closed up, and my eyes leaked, and I pointed the car to the highway. I dug out my cell phone, only to see that I had a message from my pop.

I had called my dad, and told him just how important it was that he not make himself sick over this. "Dad," I said, to his answering machine, "TB made this choice himself, and he's done it for one reason - for his dad. He hears nothing but the siren call of his father, and he wants nothing other than the approval of his dad. If he gets through basic, then his AIT, then winds up overseas, and then manages to come home - he will have done something his father never did. This will put TB on a footing that he has never been with his father, and I think this could be a real good thing for TB. Please don't feel bad."

Dad called me while I was out, and apparently the unpleasantness that is Walmart drowned out my phone's ringing AND vibration, and I didn't hear it. But I listened to his message as I drove home:

"Honey - I've been thinking about what you said - what you said was so true, and it's caused me to think about things too, and I've just been focusing on what could go wrong for TB, not what could go right. I'm going to think about the things that can go well for him, and think about how he can go to college on the GI bill, and how he will be so much better off...."

I worry about my dad, just like I worry about my son - I worry, with no opportunity to hug or hold, and no way to reach out really and feel better, other than what I can gather up into my own arms, alone, here, in this disgustingly hot state, where I see only the danger for my son, and the others going with him, and the possibility that I will face a horror I cannot imagine.

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