by Russel Langley
Hello my sweet child. You can’t hear me, nor can you see me as I stand before you in my uniform. You are lying in your crib sleeping the sleep of the innocent. It breaks my heart that you are unaware of what is happening. It breaks my heart that when you wake I will be gone. I will be far above the earth traveling to a distant land. I will miss you. As my eyes well with tears and I listen to your sweet breathing I have some wishes to leave you with. Until I return my sweet child hold onto these wishes for they will keep me going over there and keep us close in our hearts.
I wish I never had to leave you. You have become the light of my life and the hope I wake up for everyday. Yet in some strange way I want to leave. I want to go there to fight and protect you from all that is evil.
I wish you could understand that I have no choice. I have no choice but to leave you and your mother. Some bad people did some bad things and now daddy and his friends must go make it right. We have no choice but please understand, we would make no other choice.
I wish for my safety so that I may return to you and your mother. The greatest joy this life can bring a man is to watch his children grow up. I will see you again, I don’t know when but you have given me the greatest reason to return.
I wish for peace. I wish not for war but for peace. But if war I must fight then fight I will. I fight this fight not for me but for you my child. I fight this fight that you may lie here, in your crib, sleeping safely and innocently.
I wish for strength as I grab my bags. Not that they are heavy, but that my heart breaks as I lift them and know I am leaving you behind. My chest feels as if it will never breathe again as I look on you one last time.
I wish for your happiness no matter what happens to me. My greatest wish for you is for you to grow in peace and happiness. I want you to know nothing of war.
My child know this as I leave: I love you more than words can ever say. As I walk out the door and kiss your mother I leave with her my love to give to you. My child, you have given me reason to fight and for that reason I take this fight far from you. Live my child, in peace and happiness live. Daddy is here; he watches you all the time. Daddy can see you always. I will watch over you until we are joined again. I love you my child, my life, my reason.
Russel Langley is a disabled combat veteran who spent 21 years in the Air Force as a security forces member and leader, and as a weapons instructor. Russel has a degree in English and works as a freelance writer and journalist. He lives in Oak Ridge, TN with his wife and two children.