Monday, May 18, 2009

Big Brother Meets His Future

My young son has wanted to be a military man since he was 2 years old. As a mother, this evokes different feelings. Of course I feel proud and happy that he has such a strong love for his country, especially at such a young age. His patriotism is touching and his sense of duty remains intact as the years go by, regardless of my somewhat selfish desire for it to fade, maybe just a little. Because truth be told, as much as I would love him to follow his calling, I fear for his safety should he pursue a military career. But I would never tell him that. I want him to be happy. I want him to pursue his dream. And how can you get mad at a kid whose dream is to protect his country!? So I silently endure, and even encourage his passion, with so much love and admiration for this little man, but with just a little fear and trepidation at the possibility that his future may hold trials and tragedy that no one wants to mention and which may take him from me sooner than I would care to think about. But enough of my motherly ramblings.

The point of this is to thank some great guys - Tim Abell (Army Ranger) and Greg Stube (Army Special Forces). My friend and I met them on Friday at the Beretta booth at the NRA Convention. They signed a poster for my son to hang on his wall. When I brought it home, Big Brother was beside himself with excitement and wanted to meet them in person. So we headed back to the show the next day, with Big Brother in his camoflauge clothes, full of hope and excitement. When we found these two guys, Big Brother got a little shy, so I asked them what he wanted to ask: "What can Big Brother do to prepare himself to be the best military man he can be?"

Both men stepped up to the task, with tender hearts, but an earnest desire to offer my son the best advice they could offer a 9 year old kid without scaring the crap out of him. They talked about focus, endurance, physical fitness and obedience. He listened intently and tried to take it all in and walked away feeling very confident that he could do what they told him he would need to do. He heard it from the mouths of men who he now thinks are the best thing since sliced bread.

The crowning moment was when we were finishing up with Greg and Tim. A wonderful older gentleman stepped out of the crowd in his Marine Dress Uniform and walked up to Big Brother. The man had what my husband said looked like the Congressional Medal of Honor on his Uniform. "Young Man," he said as he got down to Big Brother's level, "It doesn't matter what branch of the service you join, what matters is that you serve your country." Then the older man stood up straight and looked my son right in the eye, shook his hand firmly and told Big Brother how proud he was of him for his patriotism and willingness to serve. The lady next to me was in tears, as was I. Big Brother just nodded and stood there, looking very serious as he watched the man walk away. Then he turned to us and asked us what all of the medals on his suit were for. Dad grabbed Big Brother and began to explain the medals as they walked toward the Kimber booth and I stood there with my youngest, knowing that this experience would stay with my future GI for a long, long time.

Then my youngerst had a hunger meltdown and the moment was over. Gotta love Motherhood. Wanna special moment? You can have one, but keep it have needs and will make them known - loudly.

How could I have asked for a better day for a kid who thinks the military is the only job on earth?! Three distinguished soldiers just solidified his belief that these are the true heroes of the world. I know most military folks do not like to be called heroes. I know they don't see themselves as anything other that patriots who love serving their country. Well, all I can say is that you are heroes to a 9 year old boy and his mom and there is no sports legend or action hero that I know of that can do for my son what you did for him this weekend. You are the men and women who truly make a difference in this world and you are the folks that I will encourage my son to emulate.

Thank you, Tim and Greg for being the role models I knew you would be. You've had a big impact on a young boy's life.

He hasn't talked much about what they said. I see him thinking hard though, especially when he looks at the poster. And I paid heck getting him to take of his sweaty camoflauge clothes. He wore them all weekend while he played Army. He ate a lot of salad for dinner last night. And this morning he was quick to respond to my requests with "Yes Ma'am." He is anxious to hang up his poster, so I will pick up a frame so he can get it on his wall. He has big plans today at school for his "army club" that he and his friends started at recess. I can only imagine the conversations that will take place at the edge of the lawn on the playgorund today..."Dude! I met an Army Ranger and a Special Forces guy at the convention Saturday! It was awesome!"

Yep, Big was awesome. Hooah!


Kristi said...

How awesome that those guys took the time to talk to your son. It's interesting how our kids totally listen to other adults and strangers. We're just the "Moms" and dont' know anything.

The Sports Mama said...

I love this!

My oldest has wanted to go into law enforcement forever, so I can totally empathize with you on the mom feelings. I come from a military was a marine, one brother was in the Army and the other just recently got out of the I can see this from both sides. Jock is seriously looking at the military as a precursor to joining the police force, so sometimes I feel like I've been hit with a double whammy.

But, like you, I'm so extremely proud of him and his reasons for choosing what he has. It's not for glory, that's for darn sure!

And? As an added on-going encouragement to your son? Have him adopt a pen pal or two in the military. There are so many soldiers and sailors who would LOVE LOVE LOVE to adopt a little brother to correspond with!

Post a Comment