Monday, July 7, 2008

Starts and stops...

This is my theme lately. The manic beginnings of things and the lulls of the down times. The many blog entries I've began and then let flounder in draft-land where they have little chance of ever being seen. Being full of words and tongue-tied all in the same moment. Feeling large and full of life, yet fragile, all in the same breath.

Vague a little? Yeah, I know. It has been like that too. Big ideas, with no place to land. And small, irksome details carving away at my hours.

I have a teenage stepson who is trying to tear out my heart in great adolescent sized gulps. With his desire to move in with us (and battle his mother, a fight I have lost steam for years ago) and yet still be allowed to be courted by recruiters in order to join the military. So many of my un-aired posts aimed in that direction, stemming from the same emotional place that caused this year's firework display to make me cry. How did he go from seven to seventeen when I wasn't looking? How do you go from doing everything in your power to keep them alive and help them thrive, to allow them to learn to kill? This is an honest question. I don't know how to taper off on motherhood. I guess I need to learn as it seems I am suddenly at that crossroads.

My old habits are gone and slowly we are adjusting to a new pace. I keep forgetting to get the camera out. It seems when I lose touch with my crafty self, the camera work goes out the window. And when there are no pictures, there are less focused items to blog about. And suddenly the kids are six inches taller with all those days undocumented. I shrug, and move on to live the life around me, which is calling us to participate rather than capture right now.

Still, pictures of finding a new playground and the family flying balsa wood planes there would have been an excellent addition to this rather wordy, meandering post. We did that today, together, enjoying the sun and a day with no work. A day without persistent phones, recruiters, ex-wives, what-ifs, and worries. A day filled with fun, love, relaxation, family and picnic food. Flying those fragile, little things that lift your spirit as they soar and cause tears as they eventually crash and break. A fitting tribute to this summer so far.


Katherine said...


I got your package and I'll speak to that in a minute.

The military and our young... I know a very moral and driven young man who felt it his duty to enlist about 8 years ago. Both his very conservative republican pro war father and mine were aghast at the idea - totally and completely against it in every way - hypocrisy be damned. Since then the young man has become a marine and done several tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has called his father weeping at the murders and atrocities in which he's had to participate. These older men are helpless before him with no way to reach, comfort, or truly understand the weight and truth of the marine's experiences. Our marine had to up for his FOURTH tour last year. He was suicidal and certain he would be killed in action there and "glad to have it down with". How did the military allow him back? Good question. The pressure to reup is ENORMOUS AND DEEP AND INSIDEOUS AND CALCULATED AND WELL PRACTICED AND PURPOSEFUL.

I think I am trying to speak to your son. Not my place. Let me redirect. This urge to go to the military? Where does it come from? A feeling that its college or financial doom (working class life) or military? Is there a way to send him out into the world in a spirit of adventure, possibility, opening doors, learning, expanding and growing? There must be another way. How about the peace corps? How about volunteering for Heifer International? There are others. Can we get him overseas into a bigger more exciting world that doesn't involve the military?

I ask rhetorically and for myself as a mother who may one day face the same questions. And my heart goes right out to you. And to your fine brave daring young man.

You package made me cry. That simply. I opened it alone on my bed, full of wonder, and brushed away tears and thought, "Maybe I can keep homeschoolng. Maybe life is full of unexpected beauty and goodness." You provided inspiration at a crucial moment. And no, I am not overstating it one iota. Thank you so much.

I wanted to put all this in a real letter. Wasn't going to comment here until I got that mailed. But then this more important thing, your young man and the military and motherhood took right precedence. So sorry for the lame blog/comment thank you note. But thank you so much!

love love love, K

Mommylion said...

I am so happy you liked your package. I had a lot of fun with it and do love sending unexpected fun. It is why I am addicted to swap-bot, but it's even more fun with people I sort-of 'know'. :)

Thank you so much for this comment concerning my step-son. My heart is right with your words. My husband and I do NOT want him to enlist. I have several people very close to me with similar stories that you have shared. I have a penpal that is in the army (female) that wrote him a letter telling him to wait. Honestly, I don't know where his desire to go in so soon comes from. I am suspecting his mom, who tells him every day to sign up. (Luckily he needs BOTH parent's sigs for early enrollment). But that is an odd reason because he is living with us right now. Or it is about attention and the recruiters treat him like a rock-star. I don't know. I wish I did. If he were just born Rambo, I would be more at peace with it. But he is so not. So where is this drive coming from is very much the question of the hour.

As for options, we have offered to pay for public college, community college and a car, he can live with us or we can help him get started on his own. We even offered for him to take a year off, work light jobs, volunteer, have fun, wander and bask in youth, before he signs up - (wondering if the idea of 'more school' is what is driving him to enlist). Still, he persists and doesn't communicate his reasons well.

I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I wish I knew. I make him read all these huge first hand experience books so he will know what he is getting into. But he comes away more into it. Sigh...

I could write a book with the feelings that surround this topic, and I have pretty much in un-posted blog entries. I so appreciate your comment. I long to post my thoughts on forums to get advice from those who've BTDT but don't want to get into military/anti-military debates.

I don't know if I could have encountered any more 'life' experience and survived before I had kids, but nothing seems to have prepared me for this. Thanks for listening though. It helps :)