By Michael Baltz, OHFL Intern
Since 9/11, more than two million military members have deployed to the Middle East and more than 40% of them left a child at home. That means almost a million parents in the past 10 years had to step up and play both roles for their children during these deployments.
The following story was submitted by a U.S. Air Force spouse living in Florida as a part of the Hero Campaign and Rucksack Walk, Faces of Military Families Survey:
“Currently, my husband is deployed. So I have three little ones at home: ages 4,3 and 1. This is a challenge as simple everyday tasks (getting everyone dressed, cooking meals, going to the doctors) is all on mommy's shoulders. This is not our first deployment, but it has been the hardest.
“Without my husband here, I have to find ways to incorporate daddy into our everyday lives. We have a daddy kiss jar. Basically, it is full of Hershey kisses. The girls get one a day. Once all the kisses are gone, then daddy will be home. It is a challenge and there are days that I wonder how we all survived, but then I remember how difficult it is for him. He is far away, has little contact with us and is missing out on a lot of firsts. We recently learned he will be gone longer than initially projected.
“We are so proud of him though. And thankful that we have a husband/daddy that supports our country and us. We just can not wait for his return.”
During deployment, everything falls onto one person’s shoulders for an entire year or longer. But while juggling the activities of daily life, military families also worry about their loved ones serving in harm’s way.
As the days of raising children become more and more challenging in this fast-paced world, it is even more of a challenge for military spouses who are left behind. The ones who have to step up to the plate, alone, and get the job done while worrying about their loved one at war. Not everyone is aware of this challenge with military families.
The 2011 Hero Campaign and Rucksack walk will raise funds to provide emergency assistance to Florida's military families and wounded warriors. The campaign culminates with a rucksack walk in the Jacksonville Veterans Day Parade on 11-11-11 where we will walk together and symbolically support military families by carrying military rucksacks or backpacks. Visit www.herocampaign2011.com to donate to the campaign, register for the Jacksonville walk, or host a walk in your city. Raise funds as a team or individual.