A talk with my son

We went to renew the registration I hold for the car Papa passed down to Jedi.

We waited in line and waited only to realize we needed an emission check. Small annoyance. Several traffic violations in 30 seconds that made me want to smack him upside the head. Sensing my alarm, he says, in what I can only assume was an attempt to comfort me, “I don’t drive like this when you’re not in the car, Mom”.

My response? I thanked him for saving this special demonstration for me. We laughed. We sang alongside one another to Queen. We set a tentative date up for our next family flick: Bohemian Rhapsody. Also, I have a ‘promise to participate’ in a family vacation karoke performance by the same name as we drove to the emission test center.

I decided that I wanted him to try to use the self serve station. This involved me trying very hard to stay restrained by safety belt and not get out and do it myself. I sat with the discomfort and watched. Ok, I also laughed a lot. It was just so cool to be able to watch him dare greatly to be awkward and uncomfortable and laugh at himself in an effort to learn. It was great to see him finding new working parts to his car and connect the dots at how they played into the greater machine.

When kids are little we all have a tendency to overlook those teaching moments. Day to day it seems like nothing changes, but then you’re driven to an emission test, watching a young man learning and it’s mesmerizing how how everything has changed. My little boy is still in there. I see him in the wonder in his eyes.

We started discussing passport services back in line at the BMV. He’s hoping to take a trip to Hong Kong before enlisting in the military. This led into a brilliant idea and discussion about putting him in contact with every personal friend I know who has served because I feel like I can fully accept and support his decision to serve so long as it is a well informed decision. Im an Army brat. My Dad served 20 years. It’s a lifestyle of many sacrifices for the entire family. I’m very honored to know someone in every branch of service. I hope it is of benefit.

When we left the BMV, he brought up the topic of PTSD in the military. I was thankful for this door being opened. I listened to his thoughts. I was disheartened to hear that he thinks upcoming generations will be more desensitized and this will benefit the military. However, I also understand from working in service to others. Tears welled up in my eyes and words began to fail me. I didn’t know what the right thing to say was, but I wanted and felt a great need to say something.

He has decided to enlist after graduation next year and I want him to make the most informed decision. Not recruitment crap. Momma didn’t raise no sheeple. It’s a fine line to walk when has talked about serving since he was little and I know he wants “it” and I have so much

I went with my heart.

I said, ” Son, I hope with every fiber of my being that future generations won’t be more desensitized, but perhaps, will begin to feel like it’s ok to not be ok. The idea that it is more badass to bear/bare vulnerability than be ‘the strong, silent type’. I also feel like more parents have awareness about the need to provide our children with the proper tools to process their emotions. It’s evolutionary to be wiser than past generations, right?”

I hope.

I really do hope for him … and all of us really.