And that’s not even the really amazing thing either. The most amazing thing of all was, my son took my advice AND started studying for his GCSEs. Yes it was incredibly late in the day to take an interest in his studies, and yes he’d given himself a mountain to climb, but still, that’s what he did. He asked my advice, got organised (more amazement!) and began a disciplined programme of study and revision.
So, you ask, what was it that lit a fire under him? Three little words explain it all: The Royal Navy. He needs the grades to join up.
For years my son has attended the Naval Cadets. He adores it! The teamwork, the events and activities, it’s just right up his street. But it’s not all gung-ho and good fun. They all have to attend parades and meetings, plus there are lots of charity events to organise and take part in, too. He does it all and loves it. I’d recommend it to anyone as a wonderful club for both boys and girls.
But I must admit, when he and his commanding officer began talking about considering a career in the navy, it didn’t feel so much like fun to me. It took on a very different meaning all together. Ships, guns, missiles, war, danger. My son in harm’s way. Who would choose that for their child?
And there’s the point of it all. I’m not choosing it – he is. He ultimately wants to become a Royal Marine, but until he’s old enough and tough enough, he’s determined to join the navy and get some armed forces experience under his belt. That’s his plan, which he dreamed up all by himself. His plan.
I’ve had some time to get my head around it all by now and I have to admit, there’s simply no better career for my son than the navy. It suits him in every way. From the variety and discipline to the physical challenge and travel, it’s perfect.
In fact, and this is hard to admit – it’s what I would choose for him, if I had to choose. Because every parent wants the very best for their child, and this is the very best for mine. So on that morning he leaves for the Royal Navy, I’ll send him off with pride and a mother’s heavy heart. My little boy grown up, making his own choices. And what good choices they are too.