Saturday, July 24, 2010

Deployments Are Hard, By Gabriella Kesterton

In the lives of military children and families, you will most likely encounter a deployment of one or both of your parents. A deployment is where your parent leaves to go to a foreign country to help out in countries like Kuwait, Afghanistan, and Iraq. It can take months or even a year for your parent to return. My dad has deployed three times in two years! I really felt sad most of the time he was gone in Kuwait so let me tell you about one of his deployments.

It was late October when my dad had left to go to Kuwait. Since my dad is and has been an only father, and since I could not go with him, he had to bring me all the way to Iowa, where my family lived. We were in Rota, Spain at the time; so it was a long flight over to the states! 11 hours of brrrrrrrrrrring on a C-130 was completely annoying and miserable. I had jet lag for a couple days adjusting to the U.S. times.

I was going to live with my aunt and uncle, including my two playful cousins. They were all so helpful in making me feel better about my dad being gone. For instance, after school I would play with them, give them baths, cuddle on the couch, and other stuff. My aunt comforted me when I couldn’t hold in the sadness much longer and my uncle had helped me with school stuff. My grandma and grandpa had helped out, too. My grandpa would sometimes watch the girls and me whenever he could help. Having family there for you is important when your parent is on deployments. A pet being with you helps a lot, too. Trust me! At night, my little dog would cuddle up around my belly and sleep with me all night. He made me feel at home. I made lots of new friends and reunited with old friends from childhood. My dad had been sending gifts and letters, including e-mails and pictures of what was going on in Kuwait. Every day he made an attempt to contact me in some way. I liked that a lot.

Getting into school activities and doing fun stuff can help take your mind off of your parent being gone. I joined basketball and often went to the park, the zoo, swimming, and other fun stuff. You can also write in a diary or journal of your days. Then keep them for memories.

From what I’ve heard, children can sometimes be depressed, hyper, sleepless, and even unbearable at times. It’s usually because your parents are not there and you feel sad, mad, anxious, worried, or nervous. Everyday I felt those same emotions.

Every night I would pray that my dad would be okay, and that tomorrow he would give me a call so I know that he’s all right. Every day I would look forward to his calls, e-mails, letters, and gifts. And almost all the time I thought of him.

There were a few more months left to go and when he came back, we were going to be going to Sicily, Italy. I would have to leave my friends and family, but I would be happy to be with my dad.

When the time nears and your mom/dad comes home, you feel so relieved and anxious. Mostly, you feel joyful. Sure enough, my dad came home after fourteen months in Kuwait and I was happier than you could ever imagine! I’m glad to have him home, and I’m glad that I had family and friends there when he wasn’t. A few weeks later, we packed our bags and said good-bye to everyone. I am so blessed to have such wonderful family and friends with me.

I still keep in touch with family and friends through e-mail and phone calls. Life is different without your family with you, and I sure do miss them. I think it has changed my life by how much closer I am to family and friends. I said that I would be back for 10th grade when my dad retires, so I look forward to seeing friends and family again.

Deployments are hard but you get through them. Just remember that when your parents are gone, they’re still there only far away.

I hope this story has helped everyone in some way with deployments. God bless America and all of the troops out there fighting for freedom.

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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 and 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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