Submitted by a Florida Army National Guard Officer
I am a single parent with sole custody of my 14 year old daughter and joint custody of my 9 year old son. Due to the loving care and dynamic support that my mother has provided over these challenging years, my children remain straight-A students, active in extra-curricular activities and positive in their attitudes and life views. While those of us in uniform tend to receive a lot of recognition for what we do, our families also serve and make significant sacrifices to enable us to defend our freedom. We could not do what we do without their patriotism and support.
In early 2003, I received short notice for an imminent mobilization in support of what would become Operation Iraqi Freedom. My mother quit her job, packed up her belongings and moved from her home in to my house in to care for my daughter (5 years old). Though this disrupted my mother's life, she made this sacrifice to minimize disruptions of Ashley's life. This enabled us to keep Ashley in the same school, same extracurricular activities and to remain close to Ashley's friends. She took care of Ashley from January 2003 until March 2004.
During my mobilization and deployment to Afghanistan in 2005-2006, she again packed up her belongings and moved into my house and provided primary care from March 2005 to June 2005 to enable Ashley to finish out the school year. Then she provided back up care to assist my sister who cared for Ashley from June 2005 to May 2006, when my mother again assumed primary care until my return in July 2006.
In 2009, we commenced our pre-mobilization training for another deployment to Operation Iraqi Freedom/ Operation New Dawn. My mother again packed up her belongings, moved out of her house and moved into my house to care for my daughter (12 years old). She provided care from October 2009 to December 2009 and from January 2010 to December 2010.
Additionally, she consistently provides care for my daughter as well as my son when he is visiting, during my regularly scheduled Active Duty Training weekends, annual training and out of town conferences and meetings.
While I am proud to serve our country, i could not have continued my service all these years as a single parent without the loving support of my family and most especially the support that my mother has gladly provided. She is a true patriot and a loving grandmother who has sacrificed much over these past years.