associate degree in business administration at the Minnesota School of Business-Plymouth. This is a story she wrote for her introduction to literature class, chronicling the day her oldest son left home to join the Army. He was recently discharged (Army Special Forces), while her daughter was recently deployed for a third tour in Afghanistan.Deborah Newton-D’Taillefer is currently pursuing her
The morning started like any other day. I woke up early to get things done, and the beauty of the golden orange sun peaked over the far end of the sky, welcoming me to the day.
My son (18 years old at the time) woke up much earlier than he needed to. His smile flashed his dimples that light up his entire face; just as the sun caressed the sky that morning. I thought it was curious he was up so early, but I shrugged it off and went about getting ready for the day.
I was unaware that our life would change that day. He would be going away. Instead, my mind wandered to the thought of how wonderful it was to see him smile as I started my day.
The rest of the day was a much-visited routine: Work, rush hour traffic, picking up the girls from school, and a stop at the grocery store. On my way home, my mind visited my son’s morning smile. I briefly wondered what he did with himself while the rest of us were gone.
As I pulled the car in the driveway, I noticed an unfamiliar car there, thinking he had company. I pulled into the garage, and all of us bounded into the house. I walked the four steps from the front entry to the middle level and heard voices. I turned the corner and saw what he had been up to.
Two U.S. Army officers were sitting at the table with my son. When they saw me, they immediately stood up and politely greeted me. I immediately asked what was happening and why they were there.
One of the officers, tall and slender, told me my son had something to tell me. My heart was palpitating in my chest, I felt the blood rushing to my head and the words that were swimming around the room seemed like a foreign language. My legs were ready to give out.
The room was spinning, but my son’s face was clear to me. I looked at him pleadingly, hoping for some sense of all this. His words cut like a knife to my heart as I heard:
“Mom I joined the army, I am leaving right now.”
My mind raced as I tried to figure out how I did not see this happening. He came to me and held me in his arms and whispered:
“I had to do it this way, Mom. I could not bear to see you cry.”
As I looked up to his face and search his eyes, I could see he was telling the truth. I thought that if I started crying he would not, or could not go. As a tear trickled down my face I felt the cold harshness of reality. He wiped it, kissed my cheek and told me:
“I love you more than anything, but I will be ok and I need you to trust me.”
Before I could burst into tears, the little boy I raised picked up his bag and walked out the door. I can’t remember, or even comprehend what the Army personnel said after that. I yelled “I am coming with you!” and all I could see were his eyes as he turned to look at me. The brown hue of his eyes, the pleading within them, and the recognition that he needed me to understand all spoke to me clearly.
He softly whispered he would get word to me as soon as he could. As I watched him get in that vehicle, I felt my heart crying in my chest. I thought to myself, ‘how can this be fixed?’ This cannot be happening. My blood coursed through my veins, yet each pulse felt like something was being ripped from my heart and soul.
I watched the vehicle leave as the tears started pouring down my cheek. I reached for the side of the wall just outside the doorway. That’s when reality sunk in. That day I joined a long line of women before me that have felt the harsh reality of watching their child leave to the arms of the military.
My son, no longer a little boy, went away that day.