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Mamas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be... Military?

A good friend of mine, herself an Army wife, is getting ready to watch her son graduate from West Point this spring. To say she's a smidgen nervous might be an understatement. As I've watched her go from being an Army wife of 20 years to her new role of Army mom, I have a nagging little thought in the back of my head. Actually I've had it for the past seven years, the exact age of my oldest child.

What if one OR-- sweet Jesus-- ALL of my babies join the military?!  My boys are still young. I'm still picking out clothes, holding hands when we cross the road, and explaining the fundamentals in peeing in the toilet and not on the floor around it {I'm thinking that this stage might last forever}. While it seems like the time for my boys to make this decision is light years away, one of the first lessons learned in parenting is that time flies.

First sleeping thru the night, then potty training, nursery school, riding the big boy bus, learning to drive, first job, first girlfriend.... so perhaps I am a bit ahead of myself. But seriously they do seem to grow up overnight.

We haven't told them to enlist.  We do joke to each other about what we'd do with their college money if the boys go to a service academy. (My husband wants a sports car. I want my boobs put back where they were before.)  The point is, we aren't pushing our sons into the military.  Neither of us is grooming them for that nor will we demand it.

But I am also not blind to the fact that its a very likely possibility. Both of my husband's grandfathers were in the military, his father was a career Marine, and then there is my dear flyboy and, well, we all know I certainly wouldn't be writing here if he was an accountant.

It seems to me that there is a chance, a darn good one at that, that one of my boys will serve his country. I'd even make a bet and put my money on the Corps.  That makes my heart flutter a little.I hold them at night after getting their jammies on and just want to snuggle them while I can, they smell so clean and their hair, even now that they are getting older and have high and tights, is so soft. For a second there is that brief whiff of their past babyhood. I kiss their heads and its as if I am trying to capture those moments forever.

And I think. I think that these simple moments must be the memories that so many moms of very grown, very capable, and very honorable men who paid the ultimate price cling to.When I think about the fallen, I think about the wife and the kids left behind, but since becoming a mom, I also think about his mom.The woman who watched him grow up from a boy to a man and then into a warrior. The one who is now left with the memory of nuzzling his soft little head in a rocking chair.

Back when we were still just talking about kids, when all I naively thought about parenthood was the gleamy and shiny stuff, I had thought about our kids joining up just like I thought about what color hair they might have or what their personalities might be like. I thought about it logically, but once I held my baby boys I felt the emotion of it.

Regardless of what path they take in life military or college, they will leave the house at some point. They will go forth and start their lives as productive, responsible, young men. As a mom I want nothing more. And nothing would make me prouder to see my sons in uniform, serving their country, like their father.

But there is something in me that knows that if they choose the military it will be a different sort of striking out. They maybe made into men a little earlier, a little rougher, and a lot further from my reach. Thank God I have time.

Leanne is the mother of three rambunctious little boys and the wife of a Marine. Her days are filled with laundry, shuttling kids around, helping with homework, volunteering, dodging nerf bullets, repeatedly putting the toilet seat down, and tripping over flight boots. It truly is the American Dream.  While she is living the American Dream in the northeast she is also tweeting it at @mrs_flyboy

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