Super-Mom of the Month, July 2012
Super-Mom Madeleine Biondolillo:
Despite my best attempts to prepare, saying goodbye to my 18 year-old Marine Recruit son after his swearing-in ceremony last winter at the Military Enlistment Processing Center in South Boston was heart wrenching. Two days later I became part of a 4:30 am daily yoga practice at Prana that helped me endure my son’s 100 days of basic training.
On one of last winter’s only cold days, I shivered as I left the ceremony, steeling myself for his grueling future. I played back a scene from Stephen Pressfield’s remarkable account of the Pelopponesian War, “The Gates of Fire.” King Leonides chooses “the 300″– men who will go into battle and certain death with glory after holding off the 10,000-man Persian army based on a simple, yet counterintuitive strategy. His warriors are selected not only on their intrinsic ability for battle, but on the qualities of the women they would leave behind. The King knew that his warriors would give their all to the fight if they had confidence that the women left behind would cope and carry on to maintain home and family.
Yoga has taught me the value of maintaining intention. I have spent the months since my son left, including the proud day that he graduated from boot camp at Parris Island, contemplating the Marine Corp’s values of “Honor, Courage, Commitment” from the perspective of a mother “left behind”.
It is my intention, during the next eight years that my son will spend serving our country somewhere in the world, to create my own motherly interpretation of the Marine’s values. In their honor, I strive to promote our Marines’ selfless service. I find courage in a daily prayer for the well-being of my son and his brother and sister Marines. My commitment is to valuing that my son is patriotic enough to understand that he, as one of the best and the brightest of his generation, has an intention to give the gift of service for the benefit of our country.
In his fascinating account of the Marine Corps’ basic training at Parris Island, “Making the Corps”, veteran war correspondent Thomas E. Ricks says, ” …the Marine Corps is up to any conflict, no matter how humanitarian.” Knowing how often the Marines are the first in to humanitarian missions such as the aftermath of the earthquake in Haiti, makes my son’s sacrifice more comforting.