Tuesday, April 13, 2010

You Have to Leave for How Long? By Adam Ostergaard, Age 11

When you are a military kid, your parents will sometimes get deployed. Deployments are stressful and depressing. My dad was deployed to Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 2005. We were very sad when we got the news that he was getting deployed. That was the first time my dad has been deployed since was born. I was seven when he left and my brother was nine. We were living in Pensacola, Florida at the time. My dad was going to be deployed for six months. This was going to be the longest time my dad and I were going to be separated. At first, I couldn't believe this was happening.

We tried to spend as much time as we could with him before we were separated for that long time. So, he decided to take time off to take a trip to Sea World. We went to Sea World because it was free for military people. He also coached my and my brother’s baseball team so he could spend time with us. I was really going to miss my dad.

We all drove to Jacksonville, Florida, because that's where his plane was to take him to Cuba. It was very miserable time when we were waiting with him at the airport. As we set our last goodbyes, our whole family was crying. I gave my dad a last hug. It was very distressing for my mom because now she was all by herself and she was going to have to take care of Luke and me all by herself. Then, we left the airport and spent a few days in Orlando, Florida. We went to Orlando to get to Disney World to cheer ourselves up. Then, we drove back home and our house felt so empty without my dad.

We were lucky that our dad was able to call us every night. If he had been deployed to Afghanistan, he wouldn't be able to call us every night. We also wrote him a letter every day telling him what's been happening at our house. We sent him a box full of little stuff telling him we still missed him. We tried our best to do our regular routine, but sometimes it was hard.

My brother couldn't eat as much, because he was sad that our dad wasn't there. So he would never eat a lot and he would never eat in public places. He said he was okay, but my mom knew it was because my dad was gone. We would stay up late for him to call just wanting to hear his voice again. We had a lot of help from neighbors, friends, and family. They would mow our yard, fix stuff that we couldn't do, and give us support when we were sad. We took a month-long trip to visit relatives so that we had some fun and weren't just sitting around missing my dad. We made a paper chain that had how many days were left until he came back home so each day one of us would rip a link off the chain. I liked seeing that chain get shorter and shorter.

It wasn't only bad for me. It was also bad for my dad. He said it was one of the saddest days of his life when he left us at the airport. He was thankful he was very busy on deployment, so the time went by fast. But he even said it still seemed like a very long time. He really appreciated the letters and care packages and shared all the goodies with his roommates. It was a great day when he saw me, Luke and mom waiting for him at the same airport.

When we had three chains left, we left our house and went to Tallahassee to visit the state capital and St. Augustine, one of the oldest cities in the United States. We did that on the way to Jacksonville to pick up my dad. We were so excited that we were finally going to see him again. We had made posters so he knew where we were. We waited anxiously in the airport for his flight to come in. Finally the flight came in! At first, other military people were coming out. Then we saw him. My brother and I ran up and gave him a big hug. I was so happy to see him after all that time. I was not separated from him anymore and I followed him around everywhere at first. My mom and dad were crying again because they were so happy to see each other. Now our family was all together again. We started our drive home telling stories and showing pictures. We got home, we surprised him with a big poster we made saying “Welcome Home Dad”. That deployment was one of the hardest things that has happened to our family, but I think it also brought us closer and made us each stronger.

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Julie Rahm

Mindset means everything. And no one knows this better than Julie Rahm, aka America's Mindset Mechanic. A former naval physicist, Julie applies physics to the energy of human thought and the results thoughts create. As a military daughter, spouse and mother-in-law she has experienced the challenges of deployment separations, frequent moves and telecommuting careers while remaining happy and achieving her dreams. With her passion and people-loving style, Julie has provided the metaphorical tools for thousands of people to bridge the gap between their thoughts and their lives. Julie Rahm, M.S., is a certified Frame of Mind Coach who has appeared on numerous television and radio broadcasts, including The Phil Knight Show and ABC affiliates. She hosts The Mindset Mechanic LIVE on Saturdays and Sundays on FM107.1 WTKF and AM1240 WJNC in Eastern NC. Her weekly column The Mindset Mechanic appears in The Pamlico News. She has been quoted in numerous newspapers, and on the web at www.Mindset20.com and www.FrameOfMindCoaching.com. Julie is an inspirational keynote speaker conveying life lessons through a blend of intuitive success strategies, enlightened wisdom, humor and fun. She is the Champion of Military Kids around the World. Julie's latest book is Volume I of Military Kids Speak.

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