Monday, June 1, 2009

Where's the Mommy?

I knew the hardest thing about deploying would be being away from my family and, so far, it has proven true. Prior to leaving, I was asked several times how I could be leaving my family for so long. How do you answer that? If you say, "It's just part of the job," you seem pretty cold and uncaring. If you break down in tears, people question your commitment to your chosen career.

I joined the Air Force nearly 16 years ago knowing a deployment was a constant possibility but, after all these years without being tasked, it became something that happend to other people. Now, here I sit in southern Indiana, learning all kinds of skills that one doesn't usually associate with a nurse practitioner. I have learned to shoot two weapons (M4 and 9MM), I have called firing comands to a HMMWV gunner, and have a basic understanding of greetings in Dari.

The best thing about the training? It keeps us busy and helps the time pass so I don't miss my family so much. My husband is doing a great job "holding down the fort," but somethings just cry out for the Mommy. My daughter turned eight a few weeks ago and Nate baked the cupcakes for her class. He also planned a great evening out at her favorite restaurant and fun was had by all, but I just hate not being there to celebrate with them. My boy "graduated" from kindergarten last week. (I know, a silly idea but tradition where we live. It is considered second only to the actual event 12 years later.) His teacher was so kind and forwarded some photos she took of him but, again, it isn't nearly as good as being there.

It is an odd feeling, knowing life is going on without you. Your children will continue to grow, events will happen in your loved ones' lives that you will never be a part of. That is a hard thing to accept and, some days, the "mommy guilt" is overwhelming. But even on the worst days, I soldier on, knowing each day brings me one day closer to home and believing that what we are going to do will make a difference in other's lives. While my family will have memories of this year that won't include me, I will be helping to change lives in Afghanistan and will forever be part of someone's memories there.


  1. Oh my, Lori, they're so big! I know this is the hardest thing for you. You are in my thoughts & prayers.

  2. Hi, Lori. This is Soup's mom, checking in. You may recall that I was at their house when "Bubta" had the stroke, and you were one of the first on the scene. What a comfort you were to them, to be there while we waited for the ambulance. Your deployment must surely tug on your heartstrings, and there really isn't anything I can say to make the time go faster, or to slow down the children's growing while you are gone. I can only say a heartfelt "thank you" for the job you do and the tremendous sacrifice you and your husband and kids are making on our, and the Afghanis' behalf. Godspeed.

  3. Hi Lori. I know it will be hard and you're right, there is no easy answer to the question. As a Coastie wife and a Marine mom, I know firsthand the sacrifices made by our military personel(and their families). So please let me say Thank You for your service. Be safe and know that we'll be thinking of you and your family.

  4. Soup - yes, they are big and getting bigger by the second. Goose seems to think she is the "lady of the house" now - bossing her father around.
    Soups Mom - that day will always stand out in my mind as well. I felt helpless (as we all did) and am so glad of th final outcome.
    Dawn - is your spouse still a Coastie? As a Michigan native and a weekend sailor I have always been intrigued by the Coast Guard.
    Thank you all for the kind words - some days are harder than others and knowing we are in so many thoughs and prayers makes it better!

  5. I hope the time away from your family goes quickly and safely.

  6. I promise you're missed just as much. We are all counting down the days.

  7. Lori,
    Your daughter looks just like you! You are very missed - not just at home but every MWF morning at 5:30. I am so proud of the great job you are doing and will continue to do. You are such an encouragement to me! Blessings, Jacki