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?

Monday, October 23, 2006

Parental Connections




Isn’t it funny how we can imagine things one way, and get that image ingrained into our minds, only to have that image totally deflated by reality?

We spent a few days this past week with TB – he was supposed to graduate from Basic Training, and move on to AIT. He didn’t though, because he missed the run by only a few seconds, so they will be moving him on to FTU – a fitness training unit. If he’s really serious about this, he’ll be out of there in no time. If he’s just doing the typical TB stuff that he’s done throughout his teen years, then he will futz around in FTU until the Army tosses him out on his can. I think he’s going to be moving on to AIT rather rapidly, because I saw things in him this past week that I had no idea existed within him.

I have spent so much of his life seeing only his father within him – and that was my fault. I have spent so much of my life being afraid, being intimidated, allowing that portion of my life that was violent and scary to be the pivotal, central aspect of me. The part of TB that seemed to reflect his father frightened me and made me worry all the more for him. Will he be a violent man like his father? Will he treat women poorly, like his father?

We are not stuck in the roles that we are given. We are all given the opportunity to learn from our mistakes, to move on, to morph and to grow. I have been mistaken in seeing TB as a carbon copy of his father. TB is not his father, and he is not me. He is himself, nothing more and nothing less. I saw that this past week, as he stood next to his father and his hazel eyes – unlike his fathers, and just like mine – radiated out at me, and as he played dominos with friends, I watched his hands move, hands that are so unlike mine, and so like his fathers, but neither of these attributes were exact in their mirroring of me or of TB’s father. Each of them had been touched and altered by TB, and that made them unique, not solely of me, or of TB’s father. I could see TB now as something more than I did before, and I feel so grateful for this opportunity to have presented itself, and that TB’s father actually was able to be there. He was a central part of my awakening to this fact, even if he didn’t know it.

My father was down here too, to go to the graduation with me. He was excited about the trip, and excited to see the changes within TB. We also took the chance, Hon and I, to show Pops around our little corner of academia – he went to both our schools, met important people to us, and saw important things. He understands more now about my discipline, a discipline which previously he simply didn’t understand at all (largely due to a difficulty in listening, but that’s a different post).

It was a weekend of learning, and I was blessed to be so educated.

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