This is more disappointing to me than it is maddening, which is why I didn’t post in the Pit.
Hallboy, who turned 18 in May and graduated high school a few weeks ago, is seriously considering joining the United States Air Force. So serious, he’s contacted a recruiter (the same one who he’d talked to for nearly two years throughout his past two years in high school), and I suspect we’ll be meeting with the recruiter face-to-face fairly soon. It’s something he’s thought about now for YEARS. Also, my SIL (Hallboy’s BIL) is in the Air Force, so he’s gotten info second hand from his BIL over the years. His mind isn’t set in stone, but it’s headed that way.
As a side note, he’s a very strong swimmer, is very interested in computers, and wants to fly helicoptors, so I asked him to talk to a US Coast Guard recruiter before he makes up his mind one way or the other, and he’s agreed, and contacted the USCG recruiter as well.
All good so far.
The one thing he knows for sure is that he doesn’t yet want to go to college. High school was okay, but he’s not interested in college at this point. Not only that, but he’d have to pay for college himself if he wanted to go in the least bit (there is NO savings for him to go to college and there’s no way I can financially support him or contribute towards his college educations), and I cannot in good faith encourage that path if he’s not 100% set on college (which he isn’t).
…As a side note here, I went to college when the Hallkids were little and I was raising them myself. For YEARS, I worked part time and went to school part time. As a result it took me three times as long and cost three times as much. I will be paying Sallie Mae until I die and it’s likely I’ll never get them paid off–and no, that’s not hyperbole. I seriously owe that much in school loans. You might be able to see why I’m reluctant to push college on a kid who really doesn’t have much of a desire to go to college.
Anyway, Hallboy has a family who he’s very close to–he’s good friends with their son and they’ve been friends since about third grade. We’ll call the friend Luke, 'cause that’s his name. Anyway, Luke’s parents were considerably older when they had him and his brother. Dad stayed at home to watch after the boys while mom went to work as a physician. Luke graduated high school a year early and he and his brother went to a local college, where dad drives them to school every day, then picks them up from school every evening. (Even though Luke and his brother are 18 and 19, neither drive.)
Luke’s parents are very…hippie-ish. They’re both about in their 60’s now, and have expressed to Hallboy how disappointed they are that Hallboy isn’t going to college, and their HORROR that he’s considering joining the Air Force. Um, no, they haven’t offered to pay Hallboy’s way through college (even if he wanted to go, which at this point, he doesn’t). Instead, they’ve just expressed their disapproval at him joining the service.
These people have been like another set of parents to Hallboy–he even calls them Mom and Dad. Dad has really been the only father figure that Hallboy has known throughout the years, and Dad has taught him some really good things in life, but this…I makes me sad that if they can’t support him on this, they can’t at least shut up.
I haven’t talked with Hallboy about it lately, but knowing him, it’s likely he hasn’t brought it up to them since the first time he said something about it and they expressed their horror. I know though that he’d really like to have their support if he moves forward with this stage of his life. I know they are most likely feeling a sense of fear at the thought of Hallboy leaving and possibly being deployed. I’d be lying if I said the thought of it doesn’t leave me dying inside. And I suspect they might have some reservations about the whole role and responsibilities of the military and war and the US being in other countries. Yeah, so do I.
But, guess what? I’m going to suck it up and be there to support his decision the best I can.
It just makes me sad that they can’t support him, and I’d like to tell them to STFU if they can’t provide support. This is his battle though, and I’m not going to say anything negative to or about them to him–he doesn’t need hard feelings as he works through this. Plus, I think one of the lessons he has to learn about the military is to defend the military and his decisions.
Sometimes it’s hard to be a mom.