I miss my son. He’s in the Air Force stationed on the East coast … for now. He always wanted to make a difference in people’s lives, but fell prey to the disease of many young people. See if you recognize these symptoms: new minimum wage job every three months, way too much Xbox, waaaaay too much junk food, (!) way too much Abercrombie, too many girlfriends, and not enough discipline. The high school environment and pressure didn't help.
Two years ago he announced his interest in the Air Force, went through all the pre-signup details, and enlisted for six years. I was hoping for less. Looking back, it was the best decision of his life, and he made it by himself. It caused him to mature quickly, regain his confidence and prove to himself he could do whatever he needed to do. He learned a new and healthy respect for authority, decency, and decorum. He even learned how to fold his underwear and socks! And his vision was renewed to protect and rescue; to make a lasting difference. I’ve always been proud because he belongs to me. But now I’m proud in a respectful way, different than I’ve ever experienced.
He’s an E.O.D. technician - Explosive Ordinance Disposal. His job is to go wherever he’s told, and find and dispose of explosive devices, either by blowing them up or disarming them. I know! I said that too, “Why not air traffic control or some other area for which you qualified.” But he’s a young man who wants to give his life for something rather than die for nothing. Now he’s trained long, qualified, certified, and tested all over again. He’s been on some VIP missions involving some really important VIP’s that I’m not supposed to know about. Now he’s up for deployment to who-knows-where soon. We’ll know when he knows, if he can tell us. That’s all I can tell you, top secret stuff, you know.
Anyway, I miss him badly. We talk as often as possible, but it’s very surreal; strange how fast he made his choice, grew up, moved away and will likely never actually live in our area again. I’m not ready to admit that, but this is all evidence of answered prayer throughout the years of raising him. He was always very headstrong, still is, but regained respect for my wife and I after the terrible seventeen’s (like the terrible two’s but much, much more risky!)
To get to the end of this rope, I’m so thankful for having him in my home; privileged to watch him grow up and excited to see how God will continue to use him, but I miss him lots. Sometimes I come home late and half expect to see him in the kitchen pouring himself a bowl of cereal at eleven-thirty PM. Sometimes I think he’s going to be watching TV in our livingroom on a Saturday, or find him riding his motorcycle up next to mine and his two brothers.
He’s my oldest son and the first out of my home. Kids grow up. Things change. I’m still the father, but no longer parenting. Things equalize. Roles evolve. Still the dad, now we're building a friendship. I pray for him different too though, especially in light of the current state of world affairs and his dangerous occupation. Though he still calls me for wisdom, I now respect him as a man, and view him with a different kind of respect. I'm an adviser when I'm invited, and the silent prayer warrior for my warrior son.
Whew! Four more to go … help me God!