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He planned on smoking weed and THEN join the military

Updated on January 31, 2012

When my 19 year old son told me that his plans for the future were to smoke marijuana while in college, and then quit using it before joining the Air Force, I didn’t know where the air in my lungs went.

We were at the park. It was a beautiful afternoon in sunny Puerto Rico. The setting was too nostalgic for such a story.

I decided to play ‘good parent’, so I took him there to have a good heart-to-heart talk. I sure wasn’t ready for that curve ball.

“What are you saying?” I muttered, trying to sound as calm as possible. He explained, quite respectfully: “Well, Ma, I have it all figured out… I want to enjoy my life a little. Then I’ll clean up and join the military.”

My spirit left my body. What on Earth is he thinking? And to top it all of, he is actually telling me this.

As a mother, I feel as if he was too influenced by mass media promoting natural/medical uses of marihuana, or by the fact that states, like California and many others, legalized said substance for medical uses, which portray an eco-friendly image of what is still an illegal substance.

Especially when one is considering joining the military.

Although my research proved me wrong in more than one instance. Marijuana usage among teens from 12 to 17 have virtually remained the same since 1999, with an average of 9 or 10%. In fact, marijuana usage has shown a slight decline in states where the substance has been legalized for medical purposes.

Do as I say, not as I did I tell you!

In any event, I shouldn’t be this dramatic. Serves me well that my son found out I used to smoke marijuana during my high school years. I couldn’t ever pinpoint why his father (my ex) not only told him that I used to smoke, but that he used to do it as well. So all of this should be taken more as a "family tradition." I’m going into a coma… His father approves?

In any event, my son wasn’t prepared for what I had in store for him:

“Son, listen, and listen well… None of this is about my past, I’m made. This is not about my past, but your future. There is no way I am going to allow you to use my past or my wrongdoing as a justification for you to do accordingly, or worse. You will do better, doggone it, as long as I have strength in my bones. I couldn't care less about my dignity, my pride or my history. I will make a man out of you against your will if I have to.”

If it's not too obvious, I take the Mary Poppins approach. In fact, Mary Poppins is an excellent lesson on parenting. In my house, it is a privilege if I explain anything to my children. I make no excuses. There is no democracy in my house. As my son was reaching 16, there were some negotiations; he had a voice, not a vote.

As parents, we need to reclaim and exert our authority and stop behaving as if we were our children's siblings. We must show that we are in charge, regardless of our past. I pity the child of mine that tries to put me down for my past. And no need to get physical, you know, tough love is enough..

Learn you must, my son

My point isn't even about morals or values. My take is about the satisfaction that derives from going through life knowing you did the best that you could with what you had, regardless of your circumstances, or family background for this matter.

If you lack your parents support, well, look here. I realized soon enough way back when that I was going to be long overdue if I didn’t check myself out first. I truly turned myself around because I decided to, not an easy thing to do, to make a decision and actually act upon it.

My son decided that day, after another good talk with my boyfriend, that he was going to quit marijuana and join the military. Where there’s a will, there is a definitely a way. He is now just graduating from his Basic Military Training in Lackland Air Force Base, Texas.  

The Bottom Line: Is all about our children

My concern in sharing this experience is not to campaign against or in favor of marijuana legalization for whatever purpose (I would in fact support its legalization just to get over with the law enforcement headache). My point is my son having a chance to live his life taking full advantage of each stage, and to enable him to be involved in as many enriching and positive experiences as possible.

My drive is to ensure he does the best he can with what he has. Of course, I can only go so far... but a mother, as most of you know, can work wonders.

When my son was about to crawl, I didn't force him to run. I enjoyed with him that achievement. Now he is starting to crawl in this world of men. Does him no good if he starts out unnecessarily intoxicated.

There is a time and a place for everything. Maybe one day, when he finally retires from the Federal Government and makes sure he gets his retirement check, he pulls out a reefer for good old times sake. I might be six feet under, or the gods know where... watching him with a smile... In due time, everything in due time.

That's me though, life is anything but a cookie cutter. I ensure my children enjoy and exert the right to live their life to the fullest, that's all. There are moments in their life (like it sure happens to any of us as adults) that one just can't see straight. That's when we, moms and dads, come in, to slap the silly out of them. Tough love is indeed love.

A true Commendation Medal

Like I said, my son soon decided to join the Air Force and drop the paraphernalia, gangsta-wanna-be, lifestyle... You should read the letters he is sending me from Lackland... hold on, let me get one for you...

He had send me a couple of them, there was a very special one I just can't find right now... But here's a fragment of the one he sent for my birthday. He made sure he wrote me the very day:

"...I truly don't know what else to tell you other that 'thank you'. I feel awesome. I know I would not be here if it wasn't for you. Thank you for the way you raised me and everything that you taught me (like I'm done with him). I didn't realize the difference (he is referring to how I insisted in circumstances making the individual, but that's another article) until I got here. Half of my flight wasn't prepared to be here. Most of them look for ways of getting rid of the problems by blaming others. Indeed people are the same wherever you go... I know that have you not been the way you were with me, I would've be like them. Sorry for everything. I know I dragged you through avoidable situations. But I can say that I learned from them. I know you warned me and forewarned about each and every one of them, and they happened anyway. But I had to learn the hard way."

There is no Commendation Medal, no Congressional Award, no money in the world that could top this words of my son. And that's what it's all about.

Go smoke your reefer, your blunt, or abhor it and march against it. Just remember your children. We, the parents, not the Government, not the media, not the Internet... we are their world. Let's rock that cradle.

In a next hub I will tell you a bit about how it was with drugs for me as I was growing up. But for now, is not about me, right? Is about you! Choose wisely. Be happy. Choose to be happy.


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