I remember the day I got the call from my Dr’s office to confirm that I was pregnant. I have to say I was in shock! I was 21 years old, in the Navy, living in Rhode Island. I was very far from home, my home was California, so living in Rhode Island was very different. Nothing about my pregnancy was traditional at all. I was a single parent, stationed 3000 miles from family and I was pregnant. Over the next few months I prepared to come back home and have my child, in my soul I knew I was having a son. I prayed, as a single mother, that I be blessed with the ability to teach him to be a good man, to be a proud man, but one that would never be afraid to show emotions or ask for help. A family man one day I wanted him to be, I wanted to give him everything I got as a child. A safe and loving home, my FULL attention as a parent. The ability to nurture him and raise him to be a man any woman would be proud to call her husband and a daughter that would look up to him as her hero, as her Daddy. I have to say, the first few years of being a single parent, literally was not easy, but we made it work. When my son was 5 years of age, we met, my now husband. It was somewhat of a transition for me, because it was always just my son and I and then this blessing came into our lives and it made my family of two, a family of three. When I look back on that time, there are some things I wish I did differently with regards to my husband, I wish I had given him more parental options. I kept my parenting limited to myself because I feared that one day it would be my son and I again and I did not want to fail him as a parent. As time went on, 15 years had passsed, my son decided he wanted to enlist into the US Marine Corps, he wanted to carry on a family tradition held by my father, my husband and my father in-law. With a very heavy heart I had to let him go and do what he had to do, his time had come. All of my years of nurturing, loving, disciplining him would be tested. Would all my years of parenting him, not missing a basketball game, getting on him when he procrastinated on homework or when his chores were not completed, pay off? I had to admit, I was scared for him, not only because he was leaving our home, the safe haven we provided him, but because I knew once he left I would be waking up every morning, knowing that in the next room, his bed would be left empty and I would be left wondering what his day would be like and what challenges he endured for that day and my heart ached. The day came when we had to take him to the Marine Corp recruiting office to drop him off because he was on his way to Marine Corp boot camp in San Diego. It took every breath, every inch of my mind and muscle not to break down and cry, because I am Mom, I have to be strong for my son, but inside, I was dying! Three months and many letters later the day came finally came, he was graduating from Marine Corp boot camp as a Marine! I had not heard his voice in three months, had not seen a picture of him since he left. In his absence I found myself laying on his bed, smelling his pillows and missing him so much, but I would not allow myself to cry, because I am Mom, I have to be strong! BUT my day finally came, when all of those years of worry every time he had an asthma attack, or when he had the flu came back when I finally got to see my son, my Marine in his plattoon video on my laptop and that’s when the dam broke! The pride and joy that I felt that day was so overwhelming as I sat and I saw him for the first time in three months, the tears came down like an ocean wave. I cried for what seem like a lifetime, because I realized in that moment that the day I gave birth, this child we raised into a man, became a United States Marine, MY MARINE!