I hope everyone had a great forth of July. I had an amazing weekend. All the family got together and that included my oldest son that is in the Army. I hadn’t seen him in eight months. At first we weren’t sure he would be able to come but with lost of prayers he made it from Arizona to Texas. We had two wonderful days together. I miss him so much, it is really hard to be an Army mom. I have adjusted a bit but still cry when he leaves. Letting go is the hardest thing I have ever had to do. He is almost twenty but in my eyes he is still that sweet young boy I raised. I don’t think a mother ever really gets past that. I am so proud of him! So in his honor and others that serve our country I wanted to post a short story I wrote for him right after he left for basic about a year ago. This story is very dear to my heart and I hope you enjoy it. It was my way of trying to cope with letting go. It left a gaping would after he left but he has made me so proud. I also want to thank anyone out there serving. May God keep you safe and provide for you the way you do for us everyday of your life. Without you we wouldn’t have the freedom and joys we cherish so much.
A Soldier’s Mom
Zach came running in the house slamming the door behind him. “Mom! Mom!” His eyes darted around the room in search of his mother. He was so excited he had the best news to share with her. She was going to be so proud of him.
Laura came out of the kitchen drying her hands on a dish towel. “Why are you yelling?”
“I finally figured out what I want to do,” he ran his hands threw his hair and shook his head. “I don’t know why it has taken me so long?”
Laura sighed with relief. Finally, she had tried to get him to decide on a college for a month now. He had over ten colleges that wanted him and four were full scholarships.
“So which one did you pick?” Her face lit up like a child on Christmas morning.
“I’m joining the Army.” He stood tall and proud waiting for her response.
She giggled and continued to dry her hands. “Ok, funny, you got me. What college did you pick?”
“This isn’t a joke mom, I want to be a soldier.”
“No! Absolutely not you have four full scholarships just waiting for you. Why would you even consider this? It is too dangerous and I won’t let you!”
“Mom, I really want this. I want to do something that’s important. Please try to understand. I really need your support but I will do it with or without it.” He reached out to his mom but she turned away and headed up stairs with tears in her eyes.
Zach sat on the couch and turned on the TV. He couldn’t focus, he was so confused. He had thought she would be proud of his decision, not angered by it.
Laura threw herself on her bed and sobbed. She was at odds with the situation. Zach had so much going for him. Why would he even consider a life in the military? She had always kept him safe as a child and now he wanted her to condone him putting his life in danger by choice. Her heart ached at the thought of losing him. A memory of him came crashing in on her, it was bitter sweet, one that stared out as joyous and almost ended tragically.
She ran by the bike exhausted, they had been at it all day, but he was so excited she didn’t have the heart to give up on him. Every time she’d let go he’d fallen. Laura cringed and prayed he wouldn’t get hurt.
“Mommy let go I can do it!” He looked back at her-- no fear to be found just—utter joy and confidence. She let go and watched as the bike wobbled and swayed out of control. She just knew he was going to get hurt.
“Mommy! Look, I’m doing it!” He was so proud of himself. He almost fell trying to see her reaction. She laughed at his tenacity and determination. When Zach wanted something nothing was able to stand in his way. He was the most determined child she had ever known. She watched in shock as a car came barreling down the street and hit Zach. Hysterical, she ran up to her son, he was covered in blood and wasn’t responding.
At the hospital the doctor told her he was lucky the car wasn’t going any faster. He only suffered a concussion and a few bumps and bruises. It was the worst thing she had ever had to go through.
Laura sat up on the bed and wiped her eyes. How was she ever going to be able to be ok with this? It was hard enough trying to deal with him going away to college and then he springs this on her. She took a deep breath and tried to compose herself. She had to talk to Zach and let him tell her his reasoning behind this crazy idea. The more she fought him on it the more adamant he would be about it. He had taught her at a young age how stubborn he could be when his mind was set on something. She went down stairs and tried to have an open mind about the whole situation.
Zach came out of the living room, reached out, and hugged her. “Mom please don’t cry. I really want this and I want you to be proud of me.”
“Oh, Zach. I am always proud of you. You are the one thing in my life I did right. I have never doubted you in any way. I just worry about you.” She cupped his face in her hands. “Never doubt that I love you and will always support you in anything you do. This one may just take me a little longer to adjust to.” She smiled at him through her tears.
* * *
Laura was so excited Zach was coming home for Christmas. He had been away for almost four weeks now and they had been the most excruciating four weeks of her life.
Many nights she had cried herself to sleep with worry about his future. Would he live long enough to even have a future? It tormented her on a daily bases. Being a military mom was one of the hardest things she had ever had to endure. She had never been away from her son for more than a few days.
In her excitement she had decided to go all out and make it one of their best Christmases yet. She had bought a new tree and everything for a big turkey dinner. She wasn’t sure when their next Christmas together would be and was going to make the most out of their time together. As she reached into the box of Christmas decorations, she smiled as she pulled out an ornament that never ceased to tug at her heart. Baby’s first Christmas 1990 was the year etched on the bulb. She had searched forever trying to find the perfect first Christmas ornament for her brand new son. She finally decided on the one with a teddy bear in a Santa hat holding a little baby in a blue blanket. Its funny how as a mom you are so wrapped up in the little things that seem so important at the time.
Now she looked back and wished she had the little worries back.
It was hard to believe her son was nineteen and grown. In her eyes she still saw the boy, he use to be. Now she had to adjust to him being a grown man. She wiped her eyes as tears tracked down her cheeks. “Get a grip Laura. He’ll be home tomorrow.” She sighed and placed the bulb on the tree. Stepping back she hit the switch and looked at the tree as it lit up. It was perfect. There was just one thing to do, place the angel on the top.
It was always Zach job to put the angel on the tree. She debated on leaving it for Zach.
“Now you are just being silly. He’s not a little kid anymore.”
A knock at the door roused her from her thoughts.
“Wonder who that is this late at night?” She laid the angel on the coffee table and headed for the door.
She opened the door and stared in shock. There stood Zach with a big smile on his face. Tears flooded her eyes as she looked at him. He wasn’t the boy she remembered but a man, he looked so much like his father.
“Mom, don’t cry.” He reached out and hugged her tight.
“I thought you weren’t going to be here till tomorrow,” she said through her sobs.
“I was able to get a flight tonight and wanted to surprise you,” he smiled.
“Come in. I’m so glad your home,” she wiped her tears of joy on her sleeve.
He dropped his bags by the front door and headed into the living room.
“You haven’t put the angel up.”
“I was fixing to when you knocked, but it didn’t feel right. It’s always been your job,” she said as she handed him the angel.
Zach took the angel and placed it on the top of the tree. Laura smiled and wrapped her arm around his waist as they both looked at the tree with satisfaction. He may be grown but when he put that angel on the tree she saw the little boy in him shine through.
Having him home made Christmas seem normal, and gave her back something she would miss greatly. He maybe grown but he would always be her little boy.
I hope you enjoyed the story. As you can see I had a hard time coming to terms with him being in the military. But now he is a strong soldier and I couldn’t be prouder.
Happy Reading and Writing,