My Littlest was sitting in her 1st grade classroom on 911. Her generation grew up with a boogie man as real as it gets. Her generation has grown up with a war. Commonplace in their lives as eating breakfast.
Is this when it began?
I think most young people seldom give it any thought. But my very serious, very thoughtful little girl has always been aware. And always standing up for justice. Always felt the pull to protect. And serve. As she made her way through elementary school she wanted to be things like a firefighter or a soldier. I didn't think too much about it. You see, this generation, as my parents generation, grew up with those games on the playground. Being heroes. Saving the world. They played at being soldiers. I remember her coming home angry. The head of the games, a little boy she went all through school with, told her girls couldn't do the fighting. She had to be the medic. She was furious.
Was this when it began?
Well. They both graduated in June. He has 14 lbs. to lose and a medical waiver to get through, and my baby girl is going before he does : ) But she doesn't gloat. She's pulling for him because she understands. By 5th grade she was more straightforward about law and order than ever. She also carried a sort of sadness that was deep and rooted in the vastness of the world. And she wanted was to make it better.
I sent her to a school for the arts as a creative writer in middle school. She needed the outlet for the heavy feelings she carried. At eleven she was carrying the world.
Was that when it began?
She never planned to be a writer and as she progressed to the high school for the arts, she thought about becoming a psychologist. Once again, to save, to protect, to serve. In tenth grade she began writing a story for one of her classes. It was about a couple who were both serving in a war. She was researching her topic carefully for authenticity. I remember her once again coming to me angry.
"The Army doesn't allow women to serve in the 'Special Forces!' " That's just stupid!
Was this when it began?
After a time I realized she was still researching long after the story was set aside. And then I received the letter from the Marine Corps. informing me that my 15 year old was inquiring about joining and that they weren't allowed to actively speak with her about being recruited until after she turned 17 or in January of her Junior year. She came to me and said she wanted to leave the school for the arts. It wasn't getting her to the future she wanted. She was heart broken to leave but at the same time her focus had shifted. She had a new plan.
And that is definitely when it began but at the same time it merely came full circle.
The Marine Corps. core values are: Honor, Courage and Commitment.
Their Motto: Semper Fidelis-Always Faithful.
She has had these traits since the day she was born.
In July of 2012 when she was 16 she couldn't take it anymore and begged me to take her to the Recruiting office. Technically they weren't supposed to talk to her but she only had a few weeks till she turned 17 and I was with her, so they did interview her. I wrote about that day HERE.
We told her we wouldn't sign the papers and she would have to wait till she turned 18 but after her 17th birthday in September 2012 she began to plague us. We made her wait six months until January of this year, just to be sure, but her commitment never wavered and we signed. After talking to her recruiter multiple times we decided that the Delayed Entry Program would be a plus, as she would have physical training and other benefits to better prepare her for boot camp. She made it through MEPS the Military Entrance Processing Station and initially swore in on January 31. Her original ship date was August of this year but has been delayed twice while they waited for an opening in her preferred job area. That has been extremely draining and stressful for all of us. Not knowing what was going to happen or when. And now? Now in 9 days the Marine Corps will pick up my baby girl and take her to a hotel. We will lose all contact at that moment. The next morning she will have a second trip to MEPS for a double check and then be put on a bus for Parris Island SC. When she arrives she will be allowed one scripted phone call to let us know she arrived safely. Unlike other military branches, which train for 8 weeks, the MC trains for 13 grueling weeks in which we will have no interaction with her other than hand written letters. I am going to miss her more than I can express and am so proud I can't express it either. As I mom I worry, but not as you might expect. I'm not worried about her career choice. I'm worried about her heart and her hopes and I want her dreams to come true. And...
There is a reason they are called "THE FEW."
I have no doubt she has everything it takes to make it, as do the recruiters and senior officers for her recruiting station. From her test scores and physical abilities she is considered a valuable recruit.
But things happen. Accidents, illness, myriad possibilities. With no glitches she will excel and achieve this goal she has nurtured for so very long. So I'm asking you this. Regardless of how you may feel about the choice she has made, if you pray please send up a prayer. If you cross your fingers cross them all tight, and if you wish, Wish Upon A Star : ) because she is one, and help this amazing young woman achieve her dream: To Earn the title of United States Marine.
For My Starlight: Because I do understand and I know, It's Time. Time To Begin.
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