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, August 05, 2006


To those of you who have commented here, thanks. The reassurances and the knowledge that there are many other people in my spot and in the spot of my son makes me feel some better. I have had a few rather bad days, in that the time is rapidly approaching when TB leaves for basic. He emailed me yesterday before leaving for the beach with his aunt (she's nearly his age, so I'm hoping that they are getting along - I've always hoped he would have a good relationship with his Aunts, S1 and S2). He has promised to call me when he returns to his grandfather's house, where he's staying the night before heading out to basic the next day. I'm glad that my father will get to spend an evening with him before he leaves, although how much of an evening is up for grabs, as TB is planning to ask to borrow the car to hang out with his peeps.

I have been concentrating only on his basic training, and not what happens after that. Basic will seem like a very, very long time to him, I'd imagine, and he will hate it, I'm sure. I hope that he makes good friends, strong friendships, and has at least some enjoyable time at Ft. Hell. I think only of basic, because I really don't want to think about what comes next, and as Hun says, it's possible that TB might not make it through basic (my money is on TB making it, but who knows? It's totally up to him now). I have wondered how it is that I will make it through basic and the time after (I KNOW how TB will handle it: he'll sweat a lot). I was thinking about this as I drove to a friend's house today, to work on our thesises (thesi? thesee? Headaches, is more likely). CO and MJ will be what gets me through each day, and what makes the uncertain times easier. When I have been stressing, I talk to them, and I feel better. They don't have children, but they have plenty of empathy, and give me a totally free reign to yammer on however much I want. Which is, truly, the sign of a good friend. I expect that I will do a lot of leaning on them - something I am not and never have been particularly good at, and which I trace back not to any sort of stiff upper lip upbringing, but all the years married to Ex, who was your classic case of Assholicus GoneWildimus. Violence was always just around the corner at our house, and could pop out at the drop of a hat, and one of the really big heads-up that one is dealing with a batterer is the seclusion that the battered discovers herself (or himself) in suddenly. The time I spent married to Ex is long over with, and so far in the rear view mirror that I rarely - if ever - see it out of the corner of my eye.

But - the invitation of the military into my life again - somewhat like inviting the vampire into the home - has also brought with it vague, sulfurous wafts of the past days with Ex. I realize now that I can't beat myself up for any shortcomings in TB, simply because my time was spent grittily attempting to survive and make some sort of a future, a future that I sincerely hoped had no hospital visits in it and no surprise punches out of the blue. The two are simply very interrelated in my mind, as the first four or so years that I spent with Ex were spent as the ubiquitous Military Wife. With the advent of TB, there was suddenly much more fear in my life. And always, always, very few friends. The few that I had were offended, hurt or disgusted by Ex, and no relationship could be sustained between myself and them. I understand that now (as I did then) but I have yet to be one of those people who makes and keeps friends easily. I find that my relationships with women friends are initially very cordial and friendly, but it takes me some time to reach the point where I can actually become really close. I just can't seem to shake that sulfurous odor of yellings and beatings out of my clothes.

So now I seem to be learning how to be a better friend, and how to keep friends, and how to better make friends. And oh my, how much my life has improved.


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