Monday, October 08, 2012

The Littlest Soldier

My daughter is the most patriotic American I've ever seen. First thing, when she got into high school, she joined the JROTC, and she's been gung-ho over it ever since. She's on the drill team, the rifle team, in leadership, and she's got a chest full of medals. She'll go in at six AM to do I have no idea what, and stay until 8 PM to continue doing it. She'll go away weekends with them to practice it even more.

One weekend I got a call from her CO. Someone had fallen on her while they were doing some sort of exercise, and she'd hurt her wrist. Could I please drive out and pick her up? I said OK. I got out of what I was doing and started driving. Halfway there, my car broke down. There were all sorts of lights flashing on the dashboard, but I managed to drive it to a friend's house. He was kind enough to drive me to the airport, the only place you could rent a car on a Saturday night.

On our way, I got a call. Daddy, can I stay the weekend? I don't feel so bad. It was kind of embarrassing explaining to my friend, who'd just dragged himself out of his comfortable home, that we didn't need to go to the airport after all. Worse yet was finding myself a ride home. But after I did all that, she came home on a school bus Sunday, and we took her to a doctor the next day. She'd fractured her wrist and had a cast for the next few weeks.

Yesterday she was out on a walk to benefit sufferers of autism. For some reason, this walk entailed the JROTC entering a bouncy house, where yet another girl had fallen on her, this time injuring her knee. I was able to find a walk-in clinic this time, and she's hobbling around on crutches with some kind of knee immobilizer.

She's very upset that I won't let her go to any of these early-morning or late-afternoon drill things until she gets better. When I pointed out that she wouldn't be able to participate, she said, "Yes, but I can go to the meet even if I don't participate." Yet I stubbornly refuse to get up and drive her there to watch.

It makes me very apprehensive. For one thing, in the professional military, there are worse things than people falling on you. But she, at 16, wants to be in the military precisely as much as I, at 16, did not. Teenage rebellion is simply not what it used to be.
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