Today is the day. My day.
I know I should shower, I know I should wear the beautiful dress my husband brought me, green to bring out my eyes. I know I should strap on the heels I love, the ones that he says make my legs go on for miles. I know I should just get out of bed.
But it has been 3 days since he's shaved his head. It's been 3 days since he asked for my help ironing his uniform, eyes that match mine nervously watching as the hot steam creased every line sharp. It has been 3 days since we last took that picture on the front porch. We both have on matching smiles, but only our family knows how he spent that picture holding my weight, my knees trying to kiss the floor. But we know if they did I would never rise again.
It has been 3 days since we said our goodbyes. My husband said he looks like a man in his uniform. I only saw a little boy, my little boy.
It has been 3 days since I talked to anyone. They are proud that my little boy, of my son that left to fight, to fly away in a plane, to hold a gun.
There is a knock on the door but they don't open it. They know better. "Happy Mothers Day", my beautiful daughters call out. I can tell they want me back, want me to burst out with hair curlers still set, and my lip stick perfect as always.
"I will never hear from him again, I will never hear my baby boy say Happy Mothers Day again" and a wave of grief for my son who has yet to die, yet to even see the battle field, crushes me. I won't be given roses for Mothers Day because it has been 3 days since they, since the U.S. Army, took my son away 3 days before Mothers Day.
The doorbell keeps ringing now and no one will answer. The shrill ringing is wracking my brain like a military whistle during training camp. I get up. I need to make it stop.
I approach the front door, listening to my girls and husband outside in the backyard, they are laughing. Through the windows above the door, always just out of eye sight for my short frame, I see shaggy hair. It isn't him. No Mothers Day surprise for me. He has other things to remember then me, yet I have nothing to think about but him.
I open the door, expecting to see some friend of the girls, but instead I am greeted by a delivery man.
And he is holding 2 dozen roses. For me. With a card that reads,
Happy Mothers Day Mom,
1 Dozen because I love you and
1 Dozen for missing your day.
Don't worry, I'll be home soon.
I set out a wail that sends my family streaking into the living room, the delivery man holding my hand as I hug what my baby boy has left for me to band aid the hole in my heart until he comes home. My girls take my roses and bring them to my nightstand, to remind me every morning of the 24 promises of a homecoming in the future.
Because I know he will come home now...call it mothers intuition.
And so now I sit, with curlers in my hair, my green dress brought to bring out my eyes, and red lip stick on to match my 24 promises. And I count down the days until my baby boy comes home.