Maybe We Did Our Job Right

Maybe we did our job right


My son is a United States Marine. Just before he went away to the Corps, he rekindled a friendship with a young lady that he was acquainted with from High School. Over time, the friendship blossomed into a romance. As if a relationship is not hard enough face to face, My son and his girlfriend managed to carry on their relationship in spite of their separation.

We met his young lady just days before my son was to depart for Okinawa, Japan. At this meeting, the couple announced that they were an “item” and dating exclusively. Now, as a retired Sailor, I was well aware of the problems this long distance relationship may pose. A young girl separated from her fella and a young Marine faced with the temptations and stresses of being far from home for the first time is not a formula for success in a young romance.. I remembered how things were for me when I first went away to the Navy and was stationed over seas.

Granted, things are much different today. When I was my son’s age, all we had was “snail mail” and the occasional phone call. Overseas phone calls were expensive and took a good bit of time to place. Surface mail was slow at best and many times nonexistent. But, today, things are better. The internet makes many things possible. My son and his girl were able to carry on their relationship in spite of the miles that separated them.

This past Christmas season, my son came home for the holidays. A wonderful surprise for everyone and a learning experience too. My son spent time with friends and all of us family, but he spent the majority of his time with his girlfriend and her young son. Not only was he attentive to his girlfriend‘s needs, he spent time with her little boy.

My son would walk in the room and see this little guy on the floor playing and he would not hesitate to get right down on the floor and ask him what he was doing. The little guy would tell my son and the two of them would play together for as long as it took for the child to get bored. Minutes, hours, it didn’t matter.

As this was going on, my son’s girlfriend would look down at the two of them and you could just see her thoughts. She looked as if she was thinking: Wow, this is what it’s like for my baby to have a Dad in his life.

My heart overflowed with pride.

Just before my son left to return to duty with the Marines, he asked me what I would think if he married his girlfriend. I told him that we just want him to be happy. If getting married to this particular girl would do the trick, I was all for it. He know that we, his family love his girlfriend and her little boy, so we had no problems in that area.

I did mention that being married with an instant family would cause some problems that many young couples don’t have to deal with. As long as they were aware of this I told my son that I didn’t see any big problems.

My son responded with that same smile that would melt my heart when he was a child. As we said goodbye upon his departure for Okinawa, my son smiled and told me to “remember his plans”.

Many phone calls later, my son and I were talking about marriage and how proud I am of him. He reassured me that when he does get married (the plan is for sometime next year) he will work to always remember how much he loves his girlfriend this very minute. Then he told me something that really made the tears come to my eyes. He said: “Poppa, you and Mom have been together for nearly 30 years. I know that there have been some difficult times, but you and Mom worked through them. My goal is to be just like you and Mom. After all this time, you still Love each other. That’s what I want too. That’s how I will approach my marriage.”

Before this conversation, I knew that my son loved his girlfriend and was serious. After it, I was able to rest easy. He had convinced me that he really understood what a lifetime commitment meant and he was willing to make it, no matter what.

Maybe we did our job right.

NavyCoffee NavyCoffee
1 Response Feb 15, 2010

Yeah. ya did it right. And he'll be fine.