Fair Winds and Following Seas, My Son

Tuesday, September 14, 2010
Today, my son becomes a man. He's shipping out for a six year hitch in the U.S. Navy. He'll be going through boot camp at the Recruit Training Command at Great Lakes, followed by Advanced Electronics School, also at Great Lakes. Once he completes his primary schooling, he'll be assigned a rate and will attend more specific training based on his preferences and the needs of the Navy.

This is quite a milestone. Today, he's a full-fledged adult - off the payroll, both literally and figuratively. He's making his own decisions, and his success or failure will depend entirely on the choices he makes.

I hope he's ready. I hope my efforts in preparing him for this journey have been sufficient to allow him to achieve all that his heart desires. I hope he learns from his mistakes, and makes choices that lead him to a rich, fulfilling life, full of happiness, accomplishment and service. I hope for his personal safety, for the profession of arms is never without risk. I hope he bears the burden and privilege of military service with pride and honor, in the tradition of his forbears. I hope he finds love, and family, and the generosity of spirit that makes this life worth living. I hope for all good things for him, while I know in my heart that he will have his share of sorrow and regret - the price of being fully human.

Today my son becomes my brother-in-arms. He progresses the circle of life a little farther along its circumference, taking my place in the ranks of young adults serving their country. I will take my mother's place in the ranks of parents with children in service, with all the pride and worry that entails. It's the natural order of things, and I have every confidence that I will take as much pride in my son's service as my own birth family took in my own.

Fair winds and following seas, my son. Like every mother's son before you, you carry my love, my pride, and my best hope with you. Serve with honor, with courage, with integrity.

Non sibi sed patriae.

12 comments:

Eric said...

Janiece, please pass my congratulations and best wishes along to your son.

mom in northern said...

Go Johnster...
He is following a very long family tradition going back many generations...

mom in northern said...

PS..
That has always been my favorite picture of John...

Carol Elaine said...

Well, he's going to a mighty fine place for his boot camp. Then again, I may be biased - that was where I was born.

Janiece, please give my best to your son.

"May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind always be at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face,
and rains fall soft upon your fields."

Womanji said...

Congratulations and thank you to your son and yourself.

Dr. Phil (Physics) said...

Re: Great Lakes -- tell your son that (a) Rush Street in Chicago isn't nearly as exciting as it sounds while you are waiting for liberty, (b) Chicago DOES have many terrific restaurants, including many excellent kinds of pizza, and one could try out Chicago Pizza Tours, and (c) Chicagoans LOVE to see men in Navy uniforms at Navy Pier.

Lake Michigan -- like an ocean but easier to cross in a day and less corrosion.

Congratulations to both the mom and the new naval recruit. The Quarterdeck of the Navy, "turning civilians into Sailors for over 80 years".

Dr. Phil

sharave -- trying to shave with fifty other recruits in the same space.

Vagabond said...

For John:

Ah yes, the wonders of North Chicago and Waukegan, I remember them well . . . ok, there are no wonders in either place, but that's all right, John. You won't have time for that nonsense anyway. You come from a Navy family, so you probably know all of this, but just in case . . .

In the beginning listen up, do what you're told to do right away and study . . . hard. That's important.

NEVER give up! Also important.

Liberty in Chicago can be fun . . . Just don't have so much fun you end up spending your hitch using a paint brush and chipping hammer. Your folks can explain this.

The best way to lead is always by example. This starts at pay grade E-1.

Every detail of your life is about to change, right down to the language you speak, except for the person you are. Stay true to that.

When you visit ports overseas, take in the culture and the sights BEFORE you hit the bar with your shipmates . . . the "before" is key. Just trust me on that one.

You've made a great choice. Just remember that what the Navy gives you is directly proportional to what you put in to it.

A line of Sailors stretching back 235 years is counting on you to uphold the tradition. Go get 'em!

Fair winds and following seas, shipmate.

For Janiece,

Today is a happy and proud day, but don't feel like you can't shed a tear or two. Cocktails help. Plural . . . cocktailssss.

As one lone member of that 235 year long line, if there's anything I can ever do for you or John, just say it. If he ever makes a New York City Fleet Week, let me know!

I can't imagine how proud you must be, but I have a feeling I'll know someday.

Try not to worry, embrace it and trust. You did great!

For both of you



"Any man who may be asked in this century what he did to make his life worthwhile, I think he can respond with a good deal of pride and satisfaction... I served in the United States Navy."
[John F. Kennedy]

cleete - not to be confused with cleat, which is something to which you make a line fast.

Megan said...

Well done, all around.

Nathan said...

What everyone else said.

WV: etabled = what happened to the agenda item since everyone thought it was stupid just from the IM's.

vince said...

My congratulations to your son.

nzforme said...

Congratulations to you both.

Karl said...

Congratulations to you both, Janiece, and salutes.

Not for self...