I always say my family has served their country too. Although they did not enlist in the military, my family has sacrificed and dedicated so much of their time to make it possible for me to continue my service in the Army. When I am away from home, I know that my children are very well taken care of. My sisters and even all my nieces and nephews have played their part in helping me along the way; they have all earned some stripes.
My oldest son was born a few years after I enlisted in the military. He was only three months old when I had to go away for annual training for two weeks and he got to spend the two weeks with daddy. Of course I missed my baby, but I had no worries because both sides of our families were very involved. Daddy and the extended family took care of my son year after year. They showered him with love and quality time I know I missed him much more than he ever was missing his mommy.
Okay now fast forward ten years to my first year long deployment. It was so hard to leave my only child and for the first time my son expressed that he did not want me to leave him. Very emotional time let me tell you. My son’s father and I were no longer together but he dropped everything and moved so that my son did not have to have his life uprooted. He got to live in the same house, his own bedroom, and go to the same school. Both sides of our extended families gave us so much support I was able to perform my duty without much worry of what was going on at home. We communicated via Skype and telephone often. My family is very proud of me and my service, but I am just as proud of them and grateful for them.
I have since gotten married, had two beautiful little girls, and separated. With the help and support from my family, I am still able to give 100 percent to my unit and my soldiers. My next deployment I will be leaving three children. My sisters offer to care for my children without hesitation every time. To be a soldier and a mother leaves you feeling torn between your obligation to your children and your sense of duty to your unit. Only with a great support system is it even possible. I will soon be able to retire from the Army National Guard and I owe it to my family. So, I would like to thank all the military families out there that are supporting their soldiers unconditionally. We could not do it without you!Special Shout out to my sisters Margie and Theresa, my neices Ashley, Alicia, & Beth, and my Nephews David, Donnie, & Randy - yes my nephews even babysit!