The Marines I have learned are incredibly beholden to traditions. Did you know why the stripe down their dress blues is red? To never forget their fallen brothers. Thanks to the Marine Family Network I have been learning about their traditions and trying to understand, as much as an outsider can, what my son has been going through these past 12 weeks. However knowing what he is going to experience for 54 hours starting Wednesday is truly pushing my nerves to their limit, it is called The Crucible. They are in their final days of becoming "pure" Marines, withstanding the highest heat to remove all imperfections. During this time they are sleep and food deprived, will march over 45 miles, endure battle stations, and most importantly learn to think and survive as a unit. Upon completion they can say with pride that "I Have Been To The Mountain Top" (another big tradition).
And with that, I thought of OUR crucible…as parents. We’ve withstood heat before…..bringing these children into the world was no picnic. Then you throw in finances, worries, education, friends, rebellion and all the ‘other’ elements that have turned up the heat on us….yet we remained strong.
Then came our melting point. That day, that no matter how much pride you have in your son, you have to admit that when they told you they wanted to be a Marine your heart dropped…even if only for a minute. Let the melting begin. Pretty soon, you realized you were nothing like your former self. You felt like a melted mass of ‘blah’. You shipped this kid off to strangers in hopes that they will ‘love’ him as much as you do…only to read and find out the the ‘love’ a DI shows him may not be what you had in mind. “WHAT have I done?” “WHAT was HE thinking?” often come to mind…you feel like you can’t move…trapped by the indistinguishable emotions that seem to mix with your form. But then, the heat is turned up…..no communication. Wondering every minute what they are doing…..not being able to eat for fear that they are hungry….almost unbearable temperatures boil the very soul of your being until you think you will break.
But then, something miraculous happened….those worries, insecurities, fears slowly begin to be released. You realize that the ‘heat’ is there for a reason and learn to let go of those things you once held tight to…and with that find that you are more at peace with all that is happening and the transformation that is taken place.
Then comes your final test. The time has come that your recruit proves their worth…..they are put through the test…and so are our nerves! But in the end, they have a new form…..Marine. And so do we…..Marine Parents. And although other ‘metals’ can be polished to be beautiful and catch your eye, none are like a crucible metal…..it’s pure through and through. It’s stood the test. It’s exceeded the expectation. And with that….transformation.
Bring on the crucible….I’m ready to be molded!