A Parent’s Pain, A Young Man’s Journey

42  bar falls 30.04 2mph S dewpoint 20 Spring

Last Quarter Moon of Winds

Joseph called from OTS.  He sounded dispirited, demoralized.  Drill and military courtesy have tripped him up thus far.  His commander has talked about recycling him if he doesn’t improve.  He had strings on his uniform, two demerits.  Other things, two demerits.

After he hung up, I went into a tail spin myself.  When I drove over to Lauderdale for the Chinese New Year’s celebration, I found I couldn’t listen to the lecture on the Ming Dynasty because the obvious dismay in Joseph’s voice distracted me.

It reminds me, as I write this, of the first day of kindergarten.  I dropped him off and he began to cry, to run toward me as I turned to leave.  My instinct said turn around, scoop him up and take him home.  Try this next year.  Maybe.

The pain, the deep heart pain, a parent feels when their child struggles has got to be the worst agony of all.  Joseph is so dear to me.  My instinct is to get in the car, drive down to Maxwell AFB and take him out to dinner.  Have a talk, cheer him up.  Nope.  This is a road he has chosen and one only he can negotiate.  If necessary, of course, I’ll be there if it doesn’t work out, but until then he walks on his own.

I can, and will, write him letters and leave messages on his cell phone.  Kate and I will send him cookies, but the rest is up to him.

I’m ignorant when it comes to military life, so I don’t know how much of this is the process of breaking down and building back up or how much of it is genuine peril that he won’t finish.  One thing I have learned about him though is this, when he sets his heart on something he has a dogged persistence that makes things happen.  So, based on his past behavior, I have confidence in him now.  The pain, though, is still hard.

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