Commentary

March 7, 2014

Keeping family bond throughout deployment

Tech. Sgt. Colleen Urban
380th Air Expeditionary Wing Public Affairs

SOUTHWEST ASIA †-†Deployments are different after you have a child. I just never realized how different deployments would be once I became a parent.

This deployment I am a mother. Sometimes I wonder how a mother could leave her 1-year-old baby like I have done, as if I am abandoning my child in some way, but then I remember the reason why I do it. I do it not just for myself anymore, but for my son, and I get through the separation by remaining focused on why I am here and what I am here to do.

It began when I sat at my desk, nine months pregnant, reading an email stating I would deploy in a year. I hadn’t even had my child yet and already had to think about leaving him. On top of that, my husband was deploying at the same time.

How was I going to do this? How would I be able to handle leaving my new baby boy? How would I physically be able to get on a plane and not look back? More importantly, how am I going to ask someone else to care for him? I didn’t have a choice. I had a duty, an obligation that I was not backing out of.

Even knowing a year in advance could not prepare me for the emotions I would go through during this deployment. I was just getting the hang of being a mom, and now I felt as if I would have to start over.

One of the first times I saw my son on a video call, he held him arms out as if I was just going to scoop him up. As my son reached for me through the screen of the tablet and whined for me with desperation in his voice, I did everything I could to fight back tears, but it was no match for the feeling of helplessness that overcame me.

The helpless feeling comes from not being there. I can’t scold him when he does something wrong and I can’t teach him how to do something right, I can’t make him feel better when he is sick or put him to bed at night. Most of all, I can’t hold him, hug him or kiss him–all I can do is keep loving him from 8,000 miles away.

I have watched my son learn to talk, express his emotion and throw a ball all through a small hand-held screen. In that tiny box in the top corner I have watched myself grow. As each day goes by, it never gets easier, but I get stronger. The bond that I have with my son is not broken from this deployment, our bond is greater than ever and it will only help me to cherish the moments I do have with him and help me to become the parent I want to be.

My son won’t remember this time, but I will. As long as I am in the Air Force, it is something I could face again and many other parents also face each day. So when you look back upon these days, don’t think about what you missed, think about what you gained and what lessons you will be able to pass on to your child. Your strength and determination will make your child proud to call you mom or dad. That reason is enough to keep me going.

Whatever your reason is, keep doing it, because you are doing something greater for yourself and the future of your child.




All of this week's top headlines to your email every Friday.


 
 

 
Air Force photograph by Christian Turner

AFMC command chief visits with Edwards Airmen

Air Force photograph by Christian Turner Chief Master Sgt. Michael J. Warner, Air Force Materiel Command command chief, speaks to enlisted Airmen at Club Muroc Oct. 15. Warner held two enlisted calls speaking to junior Airmen i...
 
 
DoD
aafes

Exchange’s extended holiday return policy gives shoppers peace of mind

  To make gift giving easier, the Army & Air Force Exchange service is extending its return policy for items purchased from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24, 2014. The Edwards Air Force Base Exchange’s standard policy allows re...
 
 
DoD

Travel regulation changes affect PCS moves, travelers

Big changes are happening with the Joint Travel Regulations, and they could affect your next permanent-change-of-station move or how you are reimbursed for temporary duty assignments. As of July 25, Army uniformed and civilian travelers are directed to use their government travel credit cards for PCS moves, Harvey Johnson, the director of the Defense Travel...
 

 
festival2

Fallapalooza 2014

Corvias Military Living photograph by Mark Nettles Military families guess the amount of candy in jars for big prizes at the second annual Fallapalooza at Edwards AFB. More than 400 people turned out to enjoy free food, fun and...
 
 

Nurturing relationships and a culture of caring

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del. – When life gets challenging, stressors can build and conflicts can escalate, sometimes leading to abuse. Preventing domestic abuse is fundamental to basic relationship maintenance. Partners in healthy relationships work together every day to nurture their relationship, taking care to address issues and concerns when they occur. Healthy relationships should...
 
 
Air Force photograph by Edward Cannon

Enlisted Combat Dining Out spreads esprit de’ corps

Air Force photograph by Edward Cannon An Airmen low crawls in Hangar 1600 during Edwards AFB’s Enlisted Dining Out Oct. 10. Obstacle courses were part of the activities along with water gun fights and dinner.   Edwar...
 




0 Comments


Be the first to comment!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>