Yes, you read that correctly. Monday, October 31st he took the oath of enlistment. Why the Navy? Well, because he wanted the Air Force or the Navy, and the Navy is more welcoming to people who aren't perfect. He first discussed joining with my dad and brother while we were in San Antonio for my brother's graduation from USAF boot camp. He said he's been thinking about joining the military for quite some time and they encouraged him. A few of Nathan's reasons for wanting to join are: steady job, regular raises, paid job training (obtaining a skill for a career as opposed to being an unskilled laborer), health and dental benefits, security for our family, and the opportunity to see the country/world on someone else's dime.
Reactions to his news have been mostly predictable with the exception of Brian, Nathan's dad. Predictably, my family was excited. We are travelin' folk with military background, so of course my family was excited. We expected that Brian would be upset; he and Nathan are close and Nathan's family, much like my dad's side of the family, are not travelers. But what Brian told Nathan was, "You're a man and if that's the decision you need to make for you family then that's what you need to do." We were (gladly) amazed! Then in another conversation he told Nathan he was proud of him, which made his heart grow two sizes. Also predictably Daphne (Nathan's mom) and Andrea (Nathan's sister) were not happy. Daphne hasn't said too much about it other than she's sad that we'll be moving away--one of the things I appreciate about Daphne is that she is able to distance herself from her kids' adult decisions. If that makes any sense. I guess what I'm trying to say is that she doesn't interfere and that's really sweet. I can't figure out exactly how to explain what I'm thinking! So as far as I know she is probably grieving, but doing it quietly and not giving Nathan any guilt trips. Andrea has been, mmm, less than pleased and hasn't hesitated to let Nathan know it. She was very shocked and upset to find out we'd be moving away, and that we actually wanted to. I know it's been really hard on him because he dearly loves his sister, but he has been able to be firm but loving and I am proud of him.
This whole thing has really made it obvious to me how different people can be when it comes to being settled! This is not criticism but observation--personally I can't imaging not wanting to travel and see the world and move around. Living in one place forever just kind of sounds like a death sentence to me. (Unless it was, say, Colorado. Or somewhere else in my beloved Rockies.) But, that's very much the culture of my family. If we had been around in the olden days we would have been the families traveling West in the covered wagons!
Other people think that it's a horrid idea to ever leave the town/area and that living overseas would be the most horrible thing ever. (We want to live in Europe) I was actually accused of not being family oriented because of my desire to travel. Yeah, not true at all. So while my gypsy spirit makes it a little hard for me to understand this viewpoint I do realize that I am in the minority and most people do remain in one geographic location throughout their lifetimes. I am not just talking about Nathan's family here; my dad's side of the family is all the same way.
Personally, I am happy about Nathan's decision. We'll have healthcare. Nathan will have a career, and hopefully one that he likes better than his current job! We'll get to live in a lot of different places, and hopefully the military will be as good for Nathan's self esteem and self discipline as it has been for my brothers. This is not to say that I don't have concerns. Nathan will be leaving for basic next August and I will have a two year old and a two month old. His job description said he is aboard ship 65% of the time so I will be single parenting a lot. He plans to strike for a new job after his first 18 months but until then that's how it will be. But in reality that's not a lot different than how things are now. Summers Nathan is gone, out of town, for weeks at a time. Currently he is working nights and sleeping days and we only see each other for a few minutes a couple of days a week and Sundays if he's not over at his dad's. So really things won't be changing that much for me, unless he gets a shore job in which case he might be home to help out more.
So now you all know our big news, and the big life changes headed our way! Exciting stuff!