Nine-year-old Talana Banks, and her older brother, Willie, are Army children.
In 2005, their mother, Chief Warrant Officer Felicia Banks, deployed to Iraq and had to leave them behind, in care of their grandmother.
When they sat down for StoryCorps, Talana, Willie and Felicia looked back on that year.
Click here for the transcript.
Willie Banks (WB): My name is Willie. I’m 12.
Felicia Banks (FB): My name is Felicia Banks, and I am here with my son, Willie, and my daughter, Talana.
TB: So how did it make you feel to leave us for your deployment?
FB: Well, I remember that morning when I left, it was uh, probably one of the hardest things I've ever done. And I just prayed that we be together again.
WB: At first, I thought you were just going to the store or something, but then I noticed you weren’t coming back.
FB: I probably did a poor job of explaining to you where I was going and what I was up against. But at your age, you shouldn’t have to worry about me. I’m the one that’s supposed to worry about you.
TB: Why did you decide not to come back for a whole year?
FB: Are you mad that I didn’t come back for a whole year?
FB: All right. They give you two weeks of what they call ‘Rest and Relaxation.’ So for me to come back for two weeks and then leave again, I thought it would just disrupt your lives. So, I just decided to stay the whole year and come back at the end.
So when I came back, how did you feel?
WB: I got really excited when I saw you coming towards us. I got the biggest hug in the world. And I didn’t know if you were going to leave again or not. I was just happy to see you.
FB: You’d gotten so big, so I hugged you--I kissed your face. Yeah. And then, Talana, I saw you.
TB: I was confused. I didn’t know who you were. And then I’m like, "Oooooh…"
FB: I remember the look on your face when you realized who I was. Your eyes got really big, you just started hugging…hugging me, I think you were choking my neck.
TB: Well, I’m proud of you because you’re serving our country. But I like when you’re home.
FB: I like being home. I love you guys.
WB: Love you too.
TB: You’re awesome.