Tue. Jun 6th, 2023

The tree mentioning Kylie’s mom was probably the worst that could happen to Kylie on her first day of school. Kylie had not seen her mom since she was about seven years old—  she was now 16. They would always take nightly walks around the neighborhood, and Kylie would always want to pick all of the neighbor’s flowers and other plants.

“Kylie! Stop that sweetie!” her mom would yell.

They would walk and talk about school and Kylie would always beg her mom for a dog.

“Mommy, can we pleaseeeeee get one? I promise I will take care of it!” Kylie used to say in excitement.

“Not right now. Maybe when you’re older.”

One day Kylie’s mother surprised her daughter with a plant seed. “What’s this mommy?” Kylie said ecstatically.

“We are going to plant! I know how much you love nature, so let’s plant our own… Pick a spot!”

Kylie ran down the street and pointed.

“HERE! HERE!” she yelled to her mom from down the street.

They planted the seed and watered it.

“Now, make sure that you take care of it okay? It’s yours, protect it.”

“Okay, mommy! It’s ours.”

“Ours.” Kylie’s mom said as she hugged her child.

Kylie and her mom were close, closer than a lot of children were with their parents. Although this was true, there was something that broke that bond: her mother’s dream. Since Kylie’s mom was a little girl, she had always wanted to serve her country in any way she could. One May, she started training in their family home and submitted many applications to the different armed forces. There were various amounts of weights and a treadmill in their basement, as well as a barbell. Kylie remembers missing many walks with her mom during that time and would walk alone.

“Moria, listen are you sure you want to do this?” Kylie’s father would ask his wife in private.

Moria would nod her head without any hesitation and answer him, “Yes Luke, I want to do this. I’ve always wanted to do this, you know that.”

Moria landed a position in the U.S. Army just a few weeks shy of Kylie’s seventh birthday in September.

“I love you Brandon, and I love you Kylie. Be good for Daddy, please?” Moria softly said to her two children as she started to weep.

She hugged Luke and slowly began to walk out the door carrying her army green duffles. She waved and blew her family a kiss and was gone. She would be headed to her station in Iraq. 

Madison Starinieri is a student majoring in English Education and Special Education. MS882527@wcupa.edu

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