Earlier today, I said good-bye, to my son (formerly my baby boy), Alan. I wasn't sending him off to pre-school, Cub Scouts, Track practice or a Motocross race. I sent him off to his home in Massachusetts to pack his belongings and ship off to Army boot camp tomorrow.
When the financial crash struck several months ago, Alan was in the line of fire. He was laid off from his position as a Vintage race car technician. Having time on his hands and no financial compensation seen in the form of unemployment insurance, he began to think creatively about his career options. He decided enlisting in the Army would be a good fit to fill his needs as well as a match for his adventuresome spirit.
Alan has always enjoyed "helping others". His responsibilities on the job protected the lives of the drivers that sat behind the wheels of the cars he had in his care. He kept the preciously expensive race cars functioning safely and had a great time traveling the Vintage race circuit around the country for the past four years.
A close friend reminded me of another time earlier in his life as a little boy, where he declared he was meant to help people. We were working on his First Communion preparation when he suddenly declared he was a lot like Jesus. When I asked how he was like Jesus, he responded, "Jesus always helped people... and I help people". He took the role as the schoolyard patrol, stepping in to protect kids being bullied by the bigger kids.
His desire to help others is still very present. The training Alan will be going into after Basic is to be a Combat Engineer (bomb and landmine defusing).....somebody has to do it....after all.
As a Mom of a now, independent, grown man, I gently let go once again of the baby I once held so close, and pray for him to be safe and happy with wherever his life path takes him.