When my son was 21 he decided he wanted to go into the military. He wanted to work in cryptanalysis and the military offered the best training for his interests. He went through the normal application process, including the testing which resulted in his being able to “choose whatever field he wanted.” A sidebar to this story…when he took the test, he called to tell me the results. He had been “stumped” by some of the questions geared toward auto mechanics, and was disappointed he didn’t know the answers to all the questions. He was embarrassed when they called out the results for each candidate….his score was the highest that day, at 97%. So it was that his military career began. He was accepted in January of 2003, with a report date of May 1, 2003.
On April 13, 2003, I came home from getting breakfast, to find my son looking positively white. He held his stomach and said he’d awakened with a stomach ache and back ache that he could not relieve. A quick call to the family doctor and off we went to the ER. My husband, the doctor and my son all thought appendicitis might be the culprit.
As I drove my son to the ER, I observed his writhing in front passenger seat. I said, “Steve, I think you have a kidney stone. You are doing the EXACT same avoidance maneuvers I did when I had mine!” He stopped his writhing long enough to ask, “Aren’t I too young for kidney stones?”
Well, long story short, I was right and he made it through the ordeal WITHOUT taking the pain medication prescribed. He notified his recruiter, who said there was no problem as long as the stone had passed. Please report, as planned, on May 1. So report he did. They whisked him off to Missouri when he began basic training.
The weekend before he reported for basic training, I held a going away party for him.
About ten days into basic training, I received a call from my son….he was being discharged. What? Well, it turned out that on day two of basic training, he had felt the pain of the kidney stone again. Knowing he had successfully gotten through the first one with essentially sheer perseverance, he determined he could do the same this time. He told no one. He did all the required physical qualifying, successfully, while experiencing increasing “discomfort.” His kidney stone was impeding his ability to do the most basic of bodily functions…after day four without being able to urinate, he passed out during PT.
At the hospital on base they found the kidney stone (only 3mm which is passable) and started his discharge proceedings. He would be discharged as if he’d never been in the military, and could come back after remaining kidney stone free for a year.
Three weeks after his entry into the military, he returned home. He focused on finishing his education, still with the intent of returning to the military. At 25 now, he has his education, works full-time for a surveying company, his own business, has a fabulous girlfriend with whom he shares his life and has not mentioned the military in a while.
When my daughter announced her decision to move to CA this past spring, I supported her all the way.
In June I threw her a going away party.
In July she set out with her boyfriend and they drove across the country. They arrived in Napa the first of August. Jen has been incredibly successful in finding work, and starting her own business out there.
And yet, yesterday, she was already speaking of a return to VA in the next year….
I am beginning to think I should call my “going away parties” “boomerang parties” instead!