But guess what, I've had a bit of a conflict with him lately. A certain cell phone bill that's in my name hasn't been paid as promptly as I'd like it to be, and we need to figure something out for the upcoming months. Don't sweat the small stuff, I know, but it stands to be a huge expense over the next couple of years, if we don't freeze the account, which is also a possibility. At any rate, we need to get some things straightened out! I admit: I enlisted the help of his Dad: "hey, help me give the kid a nudge, will ya?"
Brian teased me last night, "Hey! Did you call "The Collection Agency" on me?!!"
I stood staring at him for a few minutes, and did the only thing I could do:
I mugged him. Yes, I ran over and got him in a headlock told him I'd have to show him who was boss. I wrestled him right off the couch, screaming a maternal battle-cry. His friends, fearful for their own lives, scattered and took cover. Brian pinned me fast enough though, and said "watch it! I'm a trained soldier! 3 seconds! I could kill you in 3 seconds!" I countered, "but you won't, you won't! You can't hurt a mom! I win, I win, I win!!!"
He admitted defeat, and I declared victory for Mom's worldwide.
I also decided Bush should bring home all of our sons, and send, instead, 30,000 pissed off mothers. We'd box any ears that need boxing, and no one would have the audacity to give us any lip. We'd march over there, demand that everyone play nice together. Anyone who doesn't will get sent to time out. For as long as it takes.
Ahhh, last minute jocularity.
I later asked Brian, "can you really kill someone in 3 seconds?" He told me, "yes." That, he has, himself, lost consciousness to this technique they were taught, in his hand-to-hand combat training. He said "I thought I was talking on my cell phone, and I came to, wondering where in the hell I was."
I know this isn't a game. My son is shipping out next week, and I'm still stunned that he's even a soldier. I don't know him as a soldier! I don't physically see him, as a soldier. When he's home, he's wearing Bob Marley t-shirts, and cutting up with his friends, and drinking Miller Lite. Except for the haircut, he's the same kid that left my house almost a year ago, heading to bootcamp. Isn't he?
He is, and he isn't. I'm surprised at how much I don't know about him, his life, any more. He's so damned strong now. And smart. He knows so much that I don't know. Stuff I can hardly imagine, or that I have a false idea of, in my mind. Part of that is that I know so little about the military in general. I've seen more Army bases on TV than I ever had in person. Last week I had Brian explain the hierarchy of regiments/battalions/companies/squads/platoons.
It's bizarre to me, to be so removed and understand so little about my own son's life. I will continue to ask him questions, hope for lots of letters, and learn through his photos and stories. A lot is explained to me by military veterans also, and I appreciate all the input I can get.
Here are a few pictures that Brian took at NTC, desert training at Fort Irwin, CA. They give me a bit more insight into his life.
He drives a tank. He got the tank-driving gig by chance: Another soldier went AWOL, and he filled the position.
Here's his view from the driver's seat:
This is Brian's friend, and as far as I'm concerned, "another one of my son's," Kyle Lathrop. He was here last week, when Brian was. Another smart kid, I enjoyed talking to him immensely. He's an artist also, and spent a few bucks on some good supplies at our local Art Coop. He worked on his drawings on the 12 hour ride back to GA on Monday.
Here he is holding a big honkin' machine gun.
Brian ran to duty without shaving one morning, and caught hell for it. In this picture, one of his buddies is helping him get the job done, from the confines of a tank. This photo was not staged; he really is getting a shave with a knife. In military lingo, that's "sharp honkin' knife."
A random view at dusk:
And a few of his buddies. Click to enlarge.
Our country's protectors.
I still like the idea of an Army of Pissed-Off Moms better.