Thursday, October 22, 2015

My Son Takes Wing (continued)

I do solemnly swear
That I will support and defend
The Constitution of the United States
against all enemies foreign and domestic,
That I will bear true faith
and allegiance to the same
That I take this obligation freely,
without any mental reservation
or purpose of evasion,
and that I will well and faithfully
discharge the duties of the Office
on which I am about to enter.
So help me God.

So went my son Sammy’s swearing-in as a US Foreign Service Officer.  The occasion was a mix of solemn and exciting both for the new FSOs and their families in the State Department auditorium that day, and phones busily took pictures of beloved children. 

For me it was a lot better than I had expected, because Sammy’s first tour of duty will be to—drum roll please—Brussels, Belgium!  I was weak with relief when I heard, and then quickly filled with pride that he should have garnered such a coveted assignment.  He’ll be a political counselor.

I’ve been kind of blue since the swearing-in, since it makes this imminent departure of my only child very real.  He’ll be leaving the week after Thanksgiving, and I will miss him terribly.  I won’t be privy to the nature of the hard work he’ll be doing (he’s been told that posting involves a lot of late nights and weekends) but I will get to hear what he’s doing in his limited free time.  Brussels is a short two-hour train ride to London and Paris, for example, besides the city itself being beautiful and culture-filled.  (I’ve already hit Wikipedia and the Belgium tourist websites to soak up information about my son’s new home.)

Now he’s busy with additional training and with the logistics of his move, selling his car, deciding what to take with him, and saying goodbye to friends.  We’ll have a wonderful Thanksgiving together to send him off, though I don’t know whether we’ll get to have his birthday party with my mom and I and Sammy’s dad and his family which we usually have Thanksgiving weekend, too. 

I have much more to be thankful for this year than I had ever hoped for, knowing that my son will be as safe as anyone can be in this world of ours.  It will truly be a Thanksgiving, but then I still have to say the hardest goodbye I ever have.  I love you, son.