I have been cleaning out my old car– a venerable 2003 burgundy Ford Taurus SES, which became by default my son Wesley’s car. It was almost supposed to be a car that he and my daughter Taylor were to share – but fate intervened for Wes when his sister went off to the College of Charleston in 2012.
That old car became symbolic of the passing years. With 215 thousand miles clocked – and at nearly 14 years old, it has certainly served us well. My twins first sat in that car when they were nine.
I always knew I shouldn’t have blinked.
But back to the car.
As I was cleaning it out – taking Wesley’s stuff out of it and eventually vacuuming it – the realization set in that my son made the decision to join the United States Marine Corps.
I wouldn’t be doing any of this if he hadn’t made that decision, without a doubt the ballsiest move he has ever made.
Joining up at 22 gives Wes a slight edge by way of maturity – and the kid is in tip-top physical shape thanks to a rabid commitment to CrossFit Myrtle Beach, which has become a second family to him. The Myrtle Beach Seahawks are also family to him. He played for Myrtle Beach High School and until he shipped off was the assistant strength and conditioning coach there.
But a Marine? God a’mighty!
Sometimes in my quiet moments – like just before I doze off, the reality hits – the sheer gravity of his decision takes hold and jars me out of my reverie. “My son is at Parris Island,” I think to myself.
This is a new chapter in his life, and ultimately in mine too.
He’s almost finished with week four of a thirteen-week recruit training program at the place where the water tower is emblazoned with the slogan, “We Make Marines.”
I keep being told by Marines and civilians alike that I won’t believe what I will see at Marine Corps Graduation.
I liked what I saw before in my son. I can only imagine the man I will meet on June 3.
For the record, I love you Wesley!