When he told me to never wear a uniform. He said I didn’t want that, that I’d have a much better life if I studied and went to college. He’d worn a uniform, I wanted to be like him. He insisted and insisted, however. I didn’t want to jump out of airplanes or trek through jungles. It all sounded exciting to me and I wanted to make my father proud.
He never told me the real reason he didn’t want me to wear a uniform. Now that I know, I understand. Maybe he didn’t have the words to explain, maybe he knew it wouldn’t matter if he did. His reasoning wasn’t anything malicious or a lack of pride to serve. He just had an understanding about what wearing a uniform meant that I lacked.
You don’t wear a uniform. You don’t put it on and go do a job. You are broken down, built up, and you become a man who wears a uniform. You lose pieces of yourself, some good and some bad. The uniform doesn’t fit you- you grow to fit it.
Maybe he saw that I was sensitive and thoughtful, maybe he was that way once too. Maybe he didn’t want to see that part of me die. And now all I can do is hope that one day my son listens when I tell him to never wear a uniform.