EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the A to Z Challenge, an exercise in self-flagellation we bloggers inflict upon ourselves to teach us discipline as writers and to build audience. During the month of April, I’ll be posting 26 times, once for every letter in the alphabet. Looking on the bright side, we can each be thankful this is an English language exercise and not Khmer, the language of Cambodia, which sets the world record with a 74-character alphabet! After some misgivings, I’ve decided to proceed with my initial idea of blogging about the special people in my life whose names begin with the appropriate letter. There will be difficulties, like having more than one special person whose names begin with the same letter, forcing me to choose. And then there are those letters — O, Q and X among them — where no name springs readily to mind. What will I do then? We’ll have to wait and see!
A is for Aaron
He was last to arrive, but we gave him a name that puts him at the front of the line, with an extra ‘a’ for emphasis.
Regular readers of my blog know this isn’t the first time I’ve written about the baby in the family, my only son, Aaron. While he was growing up, I would worry that he hadn’t yet learned to tie his shoes, or later, that he seemed to have no direction in life. I thought for a time that I was destined to have a 40-year-old son living in my basement, still playing video games without a care in the world.
I needn’t have worried. All I had to do was look at the signs and learn to interpret them.
Aaron joined the U.S. Navy, eventually becoming a petty officer aboard the USS Nevada, an Ohio-class submarine in the Pacific Fleet. When people hear about my sailor son, they say they could never deal with the life of a submariner, and I’ll quip that those years playing video games in my basement perfectly prepared Aaron for the role, working inside a steel tube for months at a time, never seeing the light of day while cruising silently beneath the waters of the Pacific.
Nowadays, I never worry much about Aaron’s safety during those cruises. I know it’s an inherently dangerous job, but I guess I have faith in the technology that keeps him and his shipmates from harm. I worry more about his state of mind, being away from his wife and daughter for so long.
With his stint in the Navy drawing to a close, I can’t help wondering what he’ll do next. I might comb through old photographs again, looking for signs and portents that will give me a clue to his future, but such things are only decipherable in retrospect. Instead, I have faith that like last time, my son has a plan, and no matter what it is, he’ll always be first in line.