I Hope My Son Doesn't Join

Bethaney Wallace, Army Spouse 

Bethaney Wallace, Army Spouse 

Before we get off on the wrong foot, I need to explain- the military is a great thing. It's a necessary force to protect our country, it's proactive. It brings jobs and a positive way of life. And for nearly three years now, I've walked alongside my husband in his status of active duty. I've watched great men get promoted, seen new graduates be excited about their new careers, and countless other positive outcomes.

It's a community of belonging like no other, and it makes me tingly inside.

Yet I don't want my son getting anywhere near it. That is, aside from being a military brat.

Why? Because I know how much it can take- the levels of stress and the effort necessary to succeed. There are many ways to give back to others other than representing them at war.

I'll support my husband to the end of the earth, follow him with every move and cheer, support every career decision he makes. But are there days where I think about the dangers? Do I wonder what life would be if we were a couple who lived in a single town our entire life? Absolutely. But we also would miss endless adventures, and a special closeness you get from relying on only one another. Changing duty stations has brought me great friends I never would have otherwise met, and countless advantages that I'm thankful for every single day.

I'm not saying life would be better without the military, I'm saying it would be easier.

Most days, I want my son to have that easy life. I want us, as parents, to teach him to appreciate what he has, and to know how difficult seemingly easy decisions can be. And that you fight for the things you want. I want him to understand his options, not because he never did anything else for work, but because he didn't want to. My son will understand that you can help others and have a fulfilling career without imminent danger.

It's our job to teach him this, to ensure there's not a gap in opportunities that we, now having experienced it ourselves, now know can exist. Through me as a support system, and my husband who has lived it firsthand.

Our son can have 10 jobs. He can move away for personal reasons or for work. He can join clubs as his heart desires. He can join the military because it's his choice, not mine. And if he does, I'll support him with every ounce of my being; I just don't want him to.

Mostly, he should be happy; he should do what he loves and it should be his choice to make. As a mother, I hope I can teach him to find that happiness and self-fulfillment. As a mother, I want him to be safe and also happy.

Time, of course, will be the telling factor. Here's to hoping I didn't jinx myself, and that if he ever Googles my bylines, doesn't make any of his decisions out of spite.