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Another parent here started a discussion looking for advice regarding her new young daughter-in-law's accusation that it was all the mom's fault her son joined the Marines.  Only married for a short time, first deployment hits, it's no surprise that in her panic and fear the young woman wants to blame somebody.  A dad popped into the discussion and said that his wife blamed him for all of their kids joining dangerous careers, said, I think, in a jovial long-patient husband way, because he followed that statement by saying he knew his wife was just worried and this was her way of coping.  Clearly a long-time love match ;>


The whole conversation triggered a thought..."Hmmm, who can i blame for the fact that my son joined the Marine Corps right out of high school?"


I place a lot of blame on my father, a WWII Navy vet (was anyone from that generation NOT in the military?!), a career police officer, with a second career leading a new program in our state Youth Authority.  My son spent an awful lot of time with my father growing up.  My dad was a natural charismatic leader of men, with a great sense of obligation to those who reported to him, and an unflinching no-crap-allowed integrity.  From him, Andy picked up notions of leadership and service.


I blame my mom, a Depression-era women with a great sense of duty to God, country and family.  From her, my son learned that some choices are a duty, hard or easy, doesn't matter, you do your duty.


I blame my husband (and, if he ever reads this, he'll say, "Don't you always?").  He loves this country and is a strong patriot, and forever regrets that he was in an odd little part of the Baby Boom, the draft cancelled in the year he would have been called, and he went back to eking out a living rather than joining up.  From him, my son learned that God does bless America and he should be proud to serve.


I blame myself...and that's sort of a funny thing, because what I blame myself for is that my son is brutally independent and stubborn and will not walk down a path just because everyone else is.  He will make up his own rules and follow his own path, and the heck with you if you don't like it.  In a family of college graduates, with even the grandmas being the rare college graduates in their generation, and every cousin on a path to or from college, a family member joining up right out of high school is not  rare, but literally unique.


I've realized that I have LOTS of people to blame for my son's USMC career -- and every one of them should be darn proud of their contribution to the making of a US Marine.


It occurs to me that I should go back to that discussion and suggest to the mom that, next time her daughter-in-law blames her for her son joining up, the mom ought to say, "Why...thank you."  It's an awfully fine thing to have helped raise a Marine.



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Comment by Devil Doc Mom 661 on January 28, 2012 at 4:26am

Julie, I cant even get my mind around such thoughts, it is so foreign to me. I raised my Son as I was (and I am certain you) to be of service in any way you can. I have no long history of servicemen in my family. I tried to talk my Son out of enlisting out of fear. His becoming an FMF Corpsman was his choice completely. 5 years later and 1 deployment under his belt and I am utterly amazed at how much closer we are BECAUSE he enlisted. As horrible as this sounds, if my Son married a woman that said something like that to me, I'd slap her. (shameful isn't it) I honestly would not be able to help myself. Our kids are so darn decent and selfless. I have not experienced anybody reacting to Shaun's choice of profession with anything less than gratitude and deep respect. (thank goodness) I commend that Mom for keeping her cool in that situation.

Comment by 1~17smom (Julie) on January 27, 2012 at 8:22pm

Devil Doc Mom -- people would "blame" you for making a Marine, or, in your case, I'm guessing a Corpsman (whom we Marine families adore) because they are thinking about that decision from a completely selfish, what's-in-it-for-me sort of way that drives too much of the country's thinking.  The idea of service to community, let alone to country, is foreign to many.  It occurs to me that people ask rude questions like "Couldn't get into college, huh?" or "Did he get in trouble with the law?" because they are projecting onto your child the only reasons they would ever choose to serve their country in the military.  They can't imagine someone joining out of a sense of duty or a desire to pay back the country for the gift of growing up here.  A sad answer, but I suspect it's true.


3/3 Weapons Co


Comment by Devil Doc Mom 661 on January 27, 2012 at 8:09pm

Well said Julie! and I agree with you totally. I am so grateful to all Marines who are serving and have served. Raising one is a tremendous honor, although terrifying at times, I would NEVER change a thing. Blame, why would anyone place blame for such an achievement? It makes a body wonder. Semper Fi

Comment by 1~Trish on December 16, 2011 at 11:29pm

Julie, I agree with you.  Our love of our sons and daughters makes us both extremely proud and yet also guilty of raising fine young men and women who are willing to give all to their country.  I love all the people I have met, and I love their Marines.  God bless and protect them all, and anyone that wishes them or their families ill.....well they can all just kiss my b****.  Our children and their predecessors are the reason we are living in a free country.  Happy Holidays!

Comment by Jazzbox on December 12, 2011 at 8:56pm

Blame???  I think Congratulate would be more appropriate.  From the Day they are born we have strived to install Honesty, Courage and Independence into our children.  The fact that they chose a path that may be hazardous is not for us to decide.  We can share our outlook on the situation, but they will ultimately make their choice.  And as a Father I can think of many Bad choices that could have been made, but instead my Son chose Marines.  I could not be any more Proud of him.  Jazzbox

Comment by firemanswife on December 9, 2011 at 2:07pm

Excellent points, everyone of them.  I asked my 4 boys once, whatever or whoever made them believe that they could go off and pursue their dreams. Each one of them flung far from home.  One Marine, on Air Force, 1 in the dirty side of the oil and gas industry and one a musician.  Their responses were all the same, "You and Dad"  Makes one just beam.

Comment by 1~17smom (Julie) on December 8, 2011 at 10:37pm

It's just so odd to me when people "blame" you for your son being a Marine.  If he was a drug addict, you could be blamed.  If he got a girl pregnant and abandoned her, you could be blamed.  If he robbed a bank, they could blame you.  But how can people even think "blame" when you are giving up your son to the US Marine Corps?  When did that become something deserving of blame?  Shame on 'em all.


3/3 Weapons Co


Comment by blind faith on December 8, 2011 at 8:24pm

God Bless you for sharing your insight. My husband and I are not even speaking with my mother in law as she blames me for our son's choice. You have given me yet another reason to defend my son AND HIS choice!!!!

Comment by SonshineMom-Mandy on December 5, 2011 at 2:51pm

Thank you for this.  A whole new way to look at "blaming" myself.  <3

Comment by searaygirl - Deborah on December 3, 2011 at 5:08pm

love this!

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