‘Thank loved ones who support you’
As I grow older and I hope wiser, it’s my belief that we are truly influenced by only a select few during our limited time on this earth. Fortunately for me, my mother was my greatest influence.
The difficult pill for me to swallow is that my mom passed very unexpectedly last year, and I never got the chance to truly tell her how much her support meant to me.
When telling one’s story, it’s always best to start from the beginning, so here goes.
Growing up as a child in a Midwestern manufacturing town, the idea of joining the military or attending college seemed as farfetched as winning the lottery. Factory work was what my father did and so did his father. It was what was expected of me, and at the time seemed like the thing to do.
At 18 years old, I started to see the friends that I had disappear, moving on to bigger and better things. Quickly, the harsh realization that my less-than-stellar career as a C student was catching up to me. We still joke to this day that I was blessed with my father’s height and cursed with my mother’s math skills.
We all see the 60-second Army commercials on television that promise travel and change to people willing to accept the challenge. Sixty seconds was all the thought I put into my decision and ran to the recruiting station. Within less than a week, I was in the Army.
When I returned home to tell my parents the good news, my father was less than excited. He himself served four years in the Air Force during Vietnam and didn’t feel I had the necessary skills or motivation to excel in military service. In hindsight, I don’t blame him. Thinking back to my childhood, the only things that got me excited were video games and cake, both of which I still enjoy to this day.