I knew this day was coming, but still it was a shock when it arrived.  It had been an especially good day on Saturday, filled with moments so bright and sweet that you long, even as you’re living them, to hold this moment for as long as possible before it fades away.

What a normal day, filled with things we’d been needing to do for weeks but the boys’ schedules have been hectic with school and work and so it fell to this Saturday to catch up.  There was raking to be done…lots of it.  Between the 3 maples, the sweetgum, a massive oak, and more than a dozen tall pines shedding needles, we hadn’t seen the grass in weeks.  The boys raked and hauled tons of leaves to the curb.  Then they cut and edged the grass.  When they were done we sat on the front steps and pulled apart a perfect pomegranate with our hands, separating the ruby-like seeds from the tough membranes and popping them into our mouths, laughing at how the juice looked like blood. With two teenage boys, this is what fun is.

Then the mail truck came and inside was this:

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I know I am probably being too sensitive, I have an older boy who, six years before, had to register for the draft.  But it was a different world six years ago.  And we were a different country.  So the arrival of this hard-ass American eagle commanding that my son register for the draft on his 18th birthday felt like a threat to me.  They were coming for my son.

They want me to send this little blond haired boy, and two years from now they will want the fat little baby on his sister’s lap.

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He is required by law to register, and that law is backed up by all the muscle and swagger of this government, symbolized by that hard-ass eagle.  But I am serving notice that they will never get that boy.  Or his older brother.  And certainly not that fat baby boy.

I did not give up coffee and leave my chronic headaches untreated during pregnancy to ensure a healthy baby so that he could die alone on some distant battlefield for that hard-ass eagle.  I did not nurse him for a full year to give him the best possible nutritional and immunological start in this world only to have the government expose him to toxic chemicals and leave him at the mercy of faulty or insufficient protective battle gear.  I did not watch over him as he slept and remove every possible danger from his little world only to have hawkish cowards sacrifice him for the sake of their bad-ass ideologies.

Yes, my son is strong and agile.  He would make a fine soldier.  He would fight like hell for the right cause and probably be victorious.  But this is not that cause, and you are never going to get him.

Happy 18th birthday, Colin.  I’m still your mom, and I’ll still fight like hell to keep you safe.

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