Last year, Tom was contemplating a career in the Navy - but after taking a Caribbean cruise with my mother over New Year's ... he decided that he didn't much like being on a boat for several days with no sight of land.
Seeing as the odds were high that he'd be on a boat for several days at a time with no sight of land if he joined the Navy (and the odds were low he'd have the cruising benefits of nightly shows, on-deck swimming pools, and All You Can Eat Buffets), the Navy was promptly ruled out.
Another big decision Tom made this year, is that after spending a long 12 years in school, he'd rather take a hiatus from academia for a while. So instead of jumping in to University, on his own volition (and much to everyone's surprise) ... he enlisted in the Army.
Back in March, my sister, Eileen, sent me a text message - out of the blue, with no forewarning - to let me know that Tom was enlisting in the Army that day. And if that wasn't shocking enough, he had taken some kind of aptitude test that indicated he'd be well suited for UXO, or "Unexploded Ordnances."
Charlie and I had recently seen the movie "The Hurt Locker" so when I heard that my precious nephew, my godchild, my sister's only son, would be serving our country on a UXO team likely stationed somewhere in the war-torn Middle East, I promptly dropped to my knees in my office and prayed to God.
An hour later, while I was still fervently praying, Eileen sent me another text message to let me know that although Tom had passed his initial physical, when he underwent the physical screening for serving on the UXO team, it was determined that he was color blind.
Upon hearing the news, I - along with my sister Eileen and our entire family - lifted my arms to heaven and said, "THANK YOU, GOD ... for making Tommy slightly color blind!"
Instead of UXO, Tom will be an Army Medic. And now that the shock has slightly worn off, we couldn't be more proud of our nephew. Overnight, Tom has turned in to a strapping young man that at 18 years old, stands 6'2" tall with beautiful blue eyes and an even more beautiful personality. At the moment, he is in Kentucky with his church group, roofing homes for the less fortunate. (Roofing is a skill that he picked up while he was on a mission trip, earlier this year, in Jamaica).
Last week, we were with Tom in Michigan and ten minutes after we arrived - a Nerf battle erupted. From what I could tell, it was Tom and Henry, against the triplets and it was an all-out intense battle.
I certainly hope it'll be more intense than anything Tom will experience in bootcamp, basic training, and the next several years of his Army career.
He is my godson, after all.
And I'm nothing if not a little overprotective.