Last weekend was Danger's ERAU graduation and USAF commissioning, both three years after we dropped him off at his dorm. Like his sister, he has come a long way in a very short time. One might expect this from a boy who could fly an airplane before he could drive a car.
The commissioning ceremony was smaller and more solemn than graduation. That came as no surprise. Maybe two dozen of the 750 graduates stuck with AFROTC to the end, and here they were, pledging their lives in defense of the country. Unlike the graduation, there was not a single beach ball bouncing across the assembly. Also unlike the graduation, there was not a single boring speaker droning on in the assured glory of hearing his own voice.
The program for commissioning included a page for each student. On this page, they wrote a brief history of themselves, or at least someone wrote it. I suspect a lot of parents were involved. Mind you, I was not. The pages generally ended with the student thanking people, mostly family, but not always. I scanned the several pages with light interest.
I studied Danger's page with an unexpected intensity.
The man is a Certified Southern Smartass. He uses the language differently and to his own design, which doesn't come as much of a surprise, and I know it gets him into more trouble than he needs, but he does appear to have some skill with negotiating his way out.
The initial lines and paragraphs were what I expected. A brief history using adjectives that I attribute to the maternal unit. In the final paragraph, he thanks people, listing particular family members for the special things they've done for him. For instance, he thanked his siblings for not keeping his ego in check. I'm not sure who wrote that, but it did make me laugh inopportunely during the commissioning. Fortunately, the sabers involved were not all that sharp. Just pointy. Very pointy.
At the end of the paragraph, he gets to me. I'm intentionally not speed reading because I want to follow his word choice. What does he credit to me? Mental resiliency. I reread that brief sentence several times. He said that I reared him to have mental resiliency.
There are a million ways I can interpret that, and for the time being, I'm going with the more pleasant meanings. However, coming up with a gay dad cannot be a walk in the park, especially through the teen years, and I know the scouts were none to gentle with him. One day, we'll share a private meal, and the conversation will turn and drift as it always does. Perhaps then, that day some time distant from now, I'll have the nerve to ask, and he'll have the nerve to tell.