This painting was done a few years ago after I ran across a picture I had taken of Ian (my oldest son) when he was about 4. I pulled the painting out of storage and have it sitting in my studio where I can look at it a lot - not because I think I'm such an incredible painter (I'm fair to pretty okay) - but because I miss him and want to remember when he belonged to me and when I saw him every day.
He called me from boot camp on Sunday afternoon; it had been three weeks since I had talked to him. He sounded older, stronger, more confident and, dare I admit, happy. When I asked him if he was surviving boot camp and all that it requires, he replied that it was "pretty easy"(!) and that he really likes it(!)
This is a kid who loves a challenge and was a wrestler for many, many years. Maybe that sport got him ready for the physical part of the training; but what could ever get him ready for the mental part of it? I just don't know.
As reluctant and apprehensive as I was (and am!) about Ian enlisting, it is far better to know that he his happy with his decision. Maybe some people are born to be warriors; Ian may be one of them.
Our family will be travelling to Columbia, SC, to see him graduate from training at the end of February. I expect to find that my son will have changed a great deal, or so I have been told by people who know. And even though he doesn't belong to me anymore and I don't get to see him every day, I have the pride in knowing that I raised one fine young man.