I was thinking today that I should have started doing this a long time ago, but you know how that goes. There is always something else that keeps us busy or entertained or otherwise occupied. I don’t know exactly what I am going to say here, but I know that will come. Maybe it will even be a bit cathartic.
Just this past week, I was talking to someone about that time in a mom’s life when her children begin to leave the nest and move out into the world to live their own lives. She was talking to me about a Bible study that she is about to begin about the anonymous years in Jesus’ life. She compared those years to those of a mom. You are always someone’s wife or someone’s mom. Identity is wrapped up in the family. While there is nothing wrong with that, when the kids begin to leave home, it creates a kind of vacuum or loneliness that is very hard to describe. My first, Tyler just left the nest in October and I must say, the feelings that came with it were a huge surprise to me. He didn’t choose to go to college or join the workforce right away…he chose to join the United State Marine Corps….and as I am sitting here writing this blog, he is about to complete the most difficult thing he has ever done in his life.
You see, Tyler has always been a very smart, gifted kid, but he was one of those that just did enough to get by. He never quite put himself out there to live up to the ability that was inside him. He got B’s and C’s in school, even a couple of D’s instead of A’s like he could have. As a mom, this was so hard to watch. Don’t get me wrong, Tyler was and is a GREAT kid. I can count on my hands the times that I really had to get after him. He was (while living at home) always respectful and helpful for the most part. I just knew that I knew that he was capable of more. In October of his senior year, his friend Christian took him to a Marine Corps recruiter and he was hooked. I was shocked! I just never imagined that he would want to join the military! My sister has been in the Navy pretty much since high school with a small break in the middle and my youngest has talked about being a Marine since she was 8. But Tyler? No…really? Really.
He left on October 25th, 2011….one of the hardest days of my life. I knew it was going to be hard, but little did I know how my heart would ache…how my mind would question if I had done enough as his mom…how I would feel lonely in a way that was strange and foreign and uncomfortable. I will talk more about this later…
And now he has ONE more major obstacle to accomplish before he has the title of United States Marine….the Crucible…54 dreaded hours, 48 miles on foot, 29 problem solving exercises, 36 different stations, 3 meals (MRE’s) and 4 hours of sleep…all with nearly 100 pounds and an M16A4. And again, all in FIFTY-FOUR HOURS. This nearly 13 weeks is the most difficult thing he has every had to do. He qualified expert on the firing range, fought severe shin splints for the majority of boot camp and did not quit. He pushed past the laziness inside of him and put one foot in front of the other and WILL make it all the way. I know this because it is his time. He is putting everything up to now behind him and choosing to do more than is expected, more than he is capable of and living up to the potential that God has placed inside of him. There is only more to come. I know God has placed in him the ability to lead. I have seen glimpses of it. I just know…It is now his time.