Saturday, August 28, 2010

My Dad’s Fourth Deployment, By Trenton Sanders, Age 12

Our family lives overseas on a naval base in Sicily, Italy. I'm 12 years old. In my opinion, a deployment is when my dad goes with a group of people from our duty station to somewhere away from the family. He was on a humanitarian deployment to Nicaragua when I was nine months old. His second deployment was when I was six years old. He went to Iraq. The third one was to Kuwait when I was 10 years old. Soon my dad is leaving for Afghanistan on an Individual Augment or IA. We have been blessed as a military family in that my dad has only been deployed four times during his 16 years of service in the Navy. I have good and bad feelings about the deployment that is ahead for our family. These deployments have affected many parts of my life, but have made me stronger in many ways.

There are certain traditions we do before and after his deployments. First, we have a family meeting discussing our feelings about his deployment. He tells us where he is going and shows us on the map. It helps me to know where he is going to be by physically seeing the location on the map. Another tradition is he takes a picture of himself with me and writes a note on it and gives it to me the day he leaves. Then, for his return, we make signs welcoming him home. We also plan a large trip when he returns. It gives all of us something to plan for when he returns. The last deployment, we went to Paris, France and to Euro Disney. This deployment, we are hoping to go to Ireland.

Another piece of my life that is affected by military deployments is my education. During the second deployment my dad went on, my grades really fell. I feel now I have matured so I am not as emotional and naïve. I have a hard time staying on task when he leaves. My thoughts always seem to wander toward how he is and what he's doing. My mood will change to gloomy and gray. My dad is defending our country in the toughest and most dangerous places in the world while I am attending my classes, doing my homework and chores, and living my day-to-day routine here in Sigonella where I cannot do anything for him.

The separation is a pretty hard thing to get over. Then again, there are good times and bad times when he is gone. Some of the bad times are when we get reminded of his absence. Examples of this are someone asking “Where's your dad?” or thinking “What dad would do?” When he was on his last IA, I got depressed when I looked at the dinner table and saw one plate missing. My dad thinks it is very important for the family to eat together at dinner. Miranda, my six-year-old sister, would state “Where is daddy?” and “I want my daddy home!” in the evenings. When this happens, the three of us get teary and cry. Mom and I tell her that he is coming back soon and he is thinking of her, too. I believe deployments are one percent good in a way. They make me stronger and make me more responsible by assisting my family in our daily routines.

To help the three members of my family get our minds off my dad being deployed, we do fun family activities. To help us keep track of the time that has gone by, we make a paper chain that explains the highlights of each week as they passed by. Another activity is we have family fun nights where we watch movies, play games, or read to each other. Our biggest event is going back to the states during the summer to visit family and friends. Keeping busy with our many events and after school activities assists us in passing the long, hard eight months of my dad's deployment.

In conclusion, this deployment, I feel I am more mature and I have had more experience than other kids. It will still be tough because he will be in an even more unsafe area than any other IA deployment he has experienced. The areas I have talked about in my essay hit me the most when he has gone to wherever.

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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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