“Mom, I never want to leave you,” he said. He was four years old.
“Aren’t you going to work?”
“I’ll only work on Tuesdays so I can be with you all the time.”
He’s driving away in a car full of Marines. Her Marine. Her son. She calls out after him, “Don’t forget your jacket. It might get chilly.”
“Doesn’t she know you blow things up in your spare time?” his buddy says.
We watch their backs as they turn their faces from us to face the world. We talk about jackets because we can’t stop wanting to cover them, to keep them warm, to protect them. These sons we carried in our wombs.
These sons we held close to our breast, whose cries we answered in the night. We long for the time when it was enough, when our arms could keep the world at bay and our kisses could comfort hurt.
But we long, too, for them to be bold, moving forward without looking back. So we bite our tongues, swallow our words, and let the lump rise in our throats. We blink back tears, wear brave smiles, and wave them on.
We give our Samuels back to God, put our Isaacs on the altar. We say goodbye, and they fly away on the wings of our prayers.