I was driving home late from the station last night and I could hear my cell phone ringing. I turned onto the expressway and reached into my purse to grab it. I saw the caller ID. It said CHRIS O.
MY SON...calling me on the final day of Selection for Special Forces at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. I had been praying for Christopher every day, asking St. Joseph to bless him with strength and success. You see, this is Christopher's dream: to take his skills as a police officer, EMT and member of the SWAT team to the next level as a member of the Army's elite Special Forces.
It was no surprise to his sister and me when he enlisted in the Army. Chris flew through Basic Training and Airborne School at Fort Benning, Georgia. He quickly became a leader in his platoon. Chris loved the physical challenge of basic training. He loved jumping out of airplanes in Airborne school even more!
But it was getting selected for Special Forces that made Chris press on. He told me he would be out in the field for 21 days, being pushed to the limit physically and psychologically. The Army would try to break him to see if he could be the kind of soldier who would never yield to our enemies. My son would be sleep deprived. He would be left alone, deep in the North Carolina woods, with only a flashlight and a compass, doing land navigation for 75 miles. He would carry a 140 pound bag of sand on his back in full Army gear through extreme heat and over hills. He would swim 50 meters in fatigues and army boots. And if he failed, he would come home to Massachusetts to fulfill his duties as a member of our National Guard.
So when I answered the phone, it was a leap of faith. Somewhere deep down inside, I knew that if he dug down deep, his strength and his faith would take him over the finish line.
And it did.
Christopher said: “Mom, I made it.”
And now I am in tears. Typical Mom. Chris is saying “Mom, don't cry...I made it. I'm okay.” And all I can think of is how I want to reach through the phone and hug my boy. He may be a well tuned fighting machine, but he is still my baby. And let me tell you, Dear Diary, when I see him in a few weeks, I am going to kiss my Green Beret candidate all over his face!
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