A short story of a mother who is in the military and her small child, who doesn't quite understand why she has to leave him, just before Christmas, but later after talking with a copy of friends, he comes to understand it all.
Why is Mommy Going Away Again?
By Lisa A. Milner
“Okay Colbie, it’s time to go, we have to hurry.” was the words I heard that night. As I was gathering my favorite toys, I was wondering why my mommy was leaving again. She just came home not long ago. Doesn’t she love me, am I not behaving good enough for her to stay home and be with me anymore. I try to be as good as can. I’m only eight years old, what more can I do to make her stay?
Colbie is trying to push all of his toys into is back pack. He walks over and looks into the mirror to make sure he look clean. He sees his fancy hair cut, his uncle gave him.
“ I look okay, people tell me that I look just like her, only I’m a boy. I’m a little bit lighter than her; mom calls us coffee color with a little cream, ( he giggles) my hair is cut short, my eyes are brown like hers, I have all my teeth are white like hers. I just don’t get it, why does she have to leave again? And Christmas will be here pretty quick and she will miss it and grandma says Christmas is for families. ( he gives a look of shock) Maybe she has another family.”
“Colbie, come on now, I got to go.” says his mom. As he walks down the hall with all of his stuff, he sees her in that uniform again. “I hate that uniform!” Colbie says to himself.
“Mom, will you be home for Christmas?” Colbie asks. “No, sweetie, I won’t be here. But I will send you a special gift and I will call you as soon as I can from where I’m going.” His mom says with a smile. Colbie frowns and walks out the front door. He looks back at her as she finish putting stuff into her backpack. She is wearing a military uniform, that is green, black, and brown, it has the words US Air Force on one side and on the other side it has her last name Freeney along with many medals and ribbons. She grabs everything and her keys and walks out the door and lock that big heavy red cedar door. She walks over the back of the car and puts all of her stuff in the truck of the little grey Saturn. She looks back at the house and remembers she forgot to put the alarm on, she walks back to the house unlocks it and applies the alarm; then she walks back to the car.
“Mom do you have another family? “ Colbie ask, as she gets into the car. “What? Where did that come from?” his mom asks. She turns around and looks at him. He just looks at her with a scared looked. “No, you are all the family, I need. Can you please tell me where you got such an idea from?” she asked him, still looking at him and noticing that he looks like he is about to cry. She gets out of the car and walk to the back seat where he is sitting and opens the door and squats down near him and holds his hand.
He says” Well, you’re always gone and grandma says Christmas’s is for families and you’re not going to be here, so I just thought that you might....” she stops him and pulls him to her and hugs him. “That is one thing, you never have to worry about, but in a way I do have another family, but not the way that you think I do. They are you family too. The military is our family, because I am in the military, we look after each other like all families do. But this is my job and I must leave and go where ever and whenever duty calls for us to be and sometimes that means that we will miss some important days, like when I missed you homecoming game and other times.” She said as she looks into his eyes. “ I love you and no one will ever take your place in my heart. And one day you will maybe go into the military, like your mom and have to do the same things that I had to do. But we must pray to God that by the time you are old enough to enter into the military that God has removed the need for a military. But until then, we must protect and serve our country and sometimes as I said before, it may mean leaving at any time for only God knows for long or where we have to be in the world.”
She then kisses him on the cheek and gets up and locks the door and closes it, walks up to the front door and gets into the car. She looks back at him through the rearview mirror and ask” Are we cool now, have I put your worries away?” “Yes, ma’am” Colbie replies. “Okay, here we go onto another adventure. So, what do you want to be when you get big like your mom?”
“I don’t think I want to be in the military.” He said. “And why is that?” she asked. “Cause, they have to leave on Christmas from their families.” He answered. “Yeah, but think about all the good that you would be doing for others who probably won’t be able to have Christmas, of the military wasn’t there? Think about it for a minute, it’s because of the military that you get to have Christmas, and all of the other holidays and do all the things you get to do. Think about all the toys, the house we live in and the trip this summer, maybe; that we will get to go on. It’s because of the military that we can do all of those things and more, you know.” She says as she drive unto the highway towards grandma’s house.
Colbie gets very quiet and looks at the window, then says “Yeah, but mom, what about when you’re old and gray, like when you get 30 years old or something?” His mom laughs to herself and says” I’m already past 30 years old or something, son. Remember, my birthday last month? There was 39 candles on my cake? And when I get old or something then, I’ll retire. Okay? Is that a deal? “ He shakes his head “Yes, ma’am.” He says with a smile.
Then he notices that they are on grandma’s street and he sees his friends Alonzo and Brenden, playing ball in the street. They notices the car coming and sees that it is Colbie coming, they run down to Colbie’s grandma’s house to meet him..
“Hello Mrs. Freeney, hi Colbie, they both say”. “Hi Brenden, hey Alonzo. What were you guys playing- stick ball?” He says as he gets out of the car. “Put your stuff into the house, before you go play with your friends.” His mom says to him. Then Grandma walks out the house and reaches down and grabs and kisses Colbie as he walks by her. She walks over and kisses her daughter. “It’s a shame you can’t even stay home for Christmas to be with your boy, Wanda. I know, it’s serving your country stuff, but Uncle sam should know that people have families, too.” Grandma says to Wanda, “Yes, mother.” Wanda replies. “Well how long this time? Or I’m not important enough to know those things.” Grandma asks. “I should be home in time for school to start back up in the fall, mom.” You could hear the annoyance in her voice. She gets all of Colbie’s things out of the car and walks into the house. She sees her dad in the kitchen pouring a glass of tea for himself. “Hello, dad.” She says as she walks by the kitchen. She walks down the hallway into her old bedroom, which is now Colbie’s room and places his clothes in the closet. She stops and looks at everything in the room and remember when she was once Colbie’s age. Then she walks out and back down the hallway into the living room, she sees all of her awards and pictures that she has received since she was in school and even now, since she’s been in the military. She sees the picture of when Colbie was born. He was so small and a head of full of hair, she remembers. Brrring; her cell phone rings, she grabs it off of her belt loop and looks at it. She answers it: “ Yeah, what’s up? (There is a pause, as she listens to who is speaking to her. Sure, I can come a pick you up. I’ll be there in about 20 minutes .Okay, see you in a few Brenda and then I can go around the corner and get Alice, too. (Pause) Okay, see ya.”
Okay, mom, I got to go, I’ll call when I can, if there is any problems, call my Chief and she can get it back to me. Okay, where is Colbie?” she walks towards the door and out and sees
Colbie playing with his friends. “Colbie, momma leaving!” She shouts. He runs over to the car and gives her a hug and kisses her. “I love you momma” he tells her. “I love you, too baby.” She replies, as she kisses him back.” I will call as soon as I can and I’ll send you post cards to read, too. Okay. Let’s pray for my save return and all of my military friends and that all of our families will be safe until we return, Okay?” They hold each others hands, “Let me say it this time mom, please.” Colbie asked her. “Dear Lord, Jesus, I ask that you will forgive us of our sins...(he opens his eyes and sees his friends have stopped and are bowing their heads, too....”I ask that you allow my mom and her military friends to be safe wherever this Uncle sam guy sends them. And I ask that you keep all of us safe, too. Oh, yeah, can I have a Nintendo for Christmas, Lord, too. If not, I just want my mom to be safe with everyone else. Please, Lord, Jesus Christ, Amen.” Wanda smiles and kisses Colbie on the head. “That was a good, Colbie.” She says. Then she notices that the boys are coming over to the car, too. “You boys be good, okay” She says as he closes the car door. The car starts up, Wanda waits for the boys to get out of the way and then she backs out of the driveway and drives away.
“Boy, your mom is going away again. Will she be home for Christmas?” Alonzo asked Colbie. “Yeah, will she brings you a whole bunch of gifts for Christmas?” Brenden asked. “No, she won’t be home for a long time. She’s working for some guy names Uncle Sam.” Colbie answered. “But don’t your mother love you anymore?” Brenden ask. “Man, you must of done something really bad, for her not to come home for Christmas.” Alonzo says as he throws the ball to him. “My mother loves me a whole lot, but being in the military, you have to away anytime and go anywhere, for however long it takes, so that we can have the stuff we have in America.” He says with the sound of pride in his voice. “You know once I thought, my mom, didn’t love me any more or had another family something crazy like that and now I understand why she does all these things she does for me and for you two, knuckle heads. At least I think I understand.” Colbie says as he throws the ball back to Brenden. He looks back down the street as he sees his mom’s car turn the corner. “Bye, mom, see ya later” he says to himself.