As You Walk Away

February 20, 2015Katie

Photo Feb 17, 3 36 04 AM

I watched you walk to your car, a bounce in your step, that cap on your head.

Photo Feb 17, 3 37 00 AM (1)

Don’t you know you’re walking out of my world? A thousand long miles away.

Photo Feb 17, 3 35 59 AM

You go, into your new world, a world of adventure and learning and sweat and possible danger.

And I am bursting with pride, but also a slow sad grief burns its way up from my belly….until it floods my eyes and, my throat hurting, I slowly turn and walk inside to dry my face.

Earlier today I watched as you stood straight with your arms at your side, and raised that snappy salute to that perfect stranger, and pledged to honor and defend your country, and I felt the same. now-familiar pride and pain while all the while knowing it was the right thing for you to do.

Photo Feb 18, 9 40 02 AM

I’d spent a wonderful two full days with you, watching movies, eating your favorite foods and all the things a mother offers in those last days together that mean so much to her and might mean a little bit to you.

Will you miss these things? The bright, brick-red hue of the achiote-spiced chicken you beg me to make, the steam of the crab boil as it is poured onto the newspaper on the kitchen table we’ve dined at so often together, or the comfort of a quilt on a leather chair kicked back while we watch all three Hobbit movies?.

My eyes flicker over my grandma’s Bible on the fireplace hearth as I walk heavily into the living room. Will you make God your own, now that you’re far away from the confines of parental authority?  I am comforted knowing that the one possession you were allowed to take besides your cell phone was that small pocket Bible I saw in your backpack at the swearing-in ceremony.  I saw your fingers caressing the cover as you kept it out and handed us the rest of your modern gadgets to bring home, and my heart soars now remembering it.

I walk slowly up the carpeted stairs and through the upstairs living room where your X-box sits blankly looking up at me, as if it knows it’s finally been bypassed for adulthood, and into your room with its un-made bed.

I think about how early tomorrow morning you will learn how to make crisply-tucked hospital corners on the cold metal bunk that will be your new home and I smile through the wetness of my eyes at what I know will change you for the better. I make the bed and feel the emptiness of the now-neat room. I would give one thousand un-made beds to have you here again.

So do you know as you walk away…

Just how much I love you?

Photo Feb 18, 9 41 46 AM





  • Shelley Stevenson

    February 20, 2015 at 8:46 pm

    I have tears running down my face as I feel your pain. I pray God's supernatural comfort will flood your heart and soul until Connor comes home again. Love you, Katie.
  • Ruth Thomason

    February 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    All I can say right now Katie through my tears ~~ beautifully written! Much love and hugs!
  • Jane

    February 20, 2015 at 8:54 pm

    Beautiful! And bittersweet. Thank you.
  • Marie at the Lazy W

    February 20, 2015 at 10:13 pm

    Oh Katie. I feel it for you reading this. My goodness. Many prayers for Conner's happiness and future!! And just as many for your mama's heart. xoxo Thank you for sharing this.
  • Maria

    February 21, 2015 at 1:51 pm

    I did this six years ago when my son entered the Naval Academy. He is now a Marine officer serving our county on his second deployment. It is tough. Very tough. I will tell you, though, your son will be better for it and will make you proud. Kuddos to you for raising a fine, young man willing to serve our country. I salute him! And you! I recommend this book written by a dear friend ... Be Safe, Love Mom: A Military Mom's Stories of Courage, Comfort, and Surviving Life on the Home Front, by Elaine Lowry Brye.
    1. Katie

      February 23, 2015 at 8:42 am

      Maria - thank you for telling me about your experience! I know this in my heart and I am going to check on that book! Thank you!

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