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Archive for December, 2011

Santa, I Need A Little TLC

Dear Santa,

You’ve seen my children through five years of deployments. We have always received a phone call, though brief, from the front lines on Christmas Day. For that, I can never thank you enough.

You’ve brought my husband home unharmed after each deployment. For that, I am forever grateful.

You even heard my wish for a puppy that was easily housebroken. Our darling golden retriever, Sailor, has been dutifully by our side since you delivered him eight years ago.

And this year, this deployment, I have been a very good girl.

I have mowed the lawn every week, just like my husband asked me to.

I’ve gotten the kids to school – on time, and even brought brownies for the bake sale.

I attended every FRG meeting and resisted the urge to throw something when we were told the deployment was extended!

I even let my mother-in-law use all our Skype time last month so she could talk to her darling son – instead of me.

So this Christmas, I’d like the attention squarely focused on me. Please.

I can’t get the tree to stay upright in the stand. The lights are dangling precariously over the edge of the porch and the house looks more like we tossed the leftovers from the garage sale onto the roof than we attempted to decorate for Christmas. You have elves who can handle this, right?

After days that begin when my youngest begins wailing at 4 a.m. and end when my oldest finishes homework around 10 p.m., I need a little TLC. A foot rub, manicure, massage? I don’t expect any special treatment from your staff … a gift card will do.

If you’re in the mood to be extravagant, skip the help with decorating and just fly me to my family’s home in Massachusetts where the tree is up, the cookies are baked and we can all take a breather. Seriously, this is probably your best option. Have you tasted my gingerbread lately? Deployment stress does not help me in the kitchen.

And when my husband does finally return home, I would appreciate the gift of restraint and tact. I’m going to need it when his commander tells us too soon after that return that the unit is preparing to deploy, again. The words I would spew will promptly land me on the top of the naughty list.

And last, I would love a barrel of overflowing support from the average citizen. Is it just me, or do they take our sacrifices and our freedom for granted far too often?

I know I have so much to be thankful for but, Santa, it’s been a rough year. Us girls on the homefront, deserve to be at the top of that nice list. And besides, when the guys do come marching home, think of all the work we’ll save you that year – when our families are whole again, and our hubbies are by our side, there’s not a better present in the world.

Love,
Me

I’m your favorite, right?

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by Allison Perkins

My son’s due date haunted me.

This was my first baby. A little boy. He was our joy. Then, we learned his due date.
The doctor excitedly told me it was Dec. 7.

I winced.

“That’s a heck of a birthday,” I said. The doctor was unfazed.

December 7th, Pearl Harbor Day,” I said.

“Oh yes, yes that,” he said. Without emotion. Without hesitation. Almost without recognition.

Roosevelt declared it to be a day which would live in infamy.

Just before 8 a.m., Dec. 7, 1941, 181 Japanese bombers and fighters launched an aerial attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, home to the U.S. Pacific fleet. A second wave of firepower came nearly 30 minutes later.

When the smoke cleared, 2, 403 people were dead, 21 U.S. ships were sunk or damaged, 188 U.S. aircraft were destroyed and another 159 were damaged.

As the doctor calculated my son’s possible birthday, then 61 years after the attacks, my heart dropped. How could we celebrate such a joyous occasion on such a horrific day?

Nine years later, our youngest daughter was born. When the doctor scheduled my induction, he announced that I should report to the hospital on Sept. 11.

Again, my heart sank. Again, there was no emotion, no hesitation in his voice. It was just another day.

But it wasn’t.

Another early morning attack. More Americans, 2,819 in all, dead.

It was a day, we all promised, we would never forget.

This week, America marks the 70th anniversary of the attacks on Pearl Harbor. This unforgettable moment in time, seems somehow, forgotten.

The Pearl Harbor Survivors’ Association is now so few in numbers that the group will officially disband on Dec. 31. It is rare to find an elementary school or American town that pauses to mark the day when the U.S. officially entered the war in the Pacific.

The number of survivors who are able to visit community centers and retell their incredible stories of attack and survival has dwindled to a handful.

As they disappear, so it seems, does America’s willingness to fulfill our promise to never let their memory fade.

Please take a moment to pause this week to remember America’s veterans, of Pearl Harbor and fights throughout the years. Be thankful for their sacrifices. Be grateful for their service.

In the end, neither of our children’s birthdays landed on Dec. 7 or Sept. 11, despite the doctors’ predictions. But I don’t need a family milestone to remind me to pause and thank those who lost their lives those days.

I will never forget. Will you?

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by Allison Perkins

Over the last two years, I have interviewed hundreds of military kids. 

They have been as young as 8 and as old as 18.

Some have moved once. Some have moved 16 times.

A few had parents killed in combat. Others had parents severely injured on the battlefield –in ways that are both visible to passersby and in ways that are not so obvious. Most were lucky enough to have their parents returned unharmed, though the hardships of the separation linger.

Some are jovial go-getters who are a staple at on-base events and who served on every teen board around. Others remain quiet and unassuming, but are no less spectacular in their contributions.

Each of them taught me something new. Each of them was a joy to interview.

What all of them gave me was a hope that one day my young sons and daughters, military children themselves, will grow to develop the same maturity and integrity that these youngsters have. These are the types of heroes that our children, that all of us should strive to emulate.

While much of the nation trudges on with daily life, and news of the war is rarely featured on the front page, these kids are building America’s future. While their parents fight on the front line, these are the Americans who are keeping the homefront fires burning.

They have been asked to do more than just behave and help their moms around the house. In many cases, they become parents to their younger siblings. They care for injured parents. They run the household.

At school, they are the class leaders. In the community, they commit to thousands of hours of community service. They leave every place they live better than they found it.

These military kids have stepped in where many adults could not, and would not. They have faced the hardships while the grownups turned away in fear.

These kids are the reason, in many ways, that America is still a great nation.

They work tirelessly without pay, sometimes without thanks and usually, without their military parent nearby to cheer them on.

America, it’s time to say thank you.

Today, Operation Homefront begins its search for nominees for the 2012 Military Child of the Year Award.

Do you know a military child who has made a positive impact on their family and community? Nominate these young heroes for the Operation Homefront Military Child of the Year Award.

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