This marks the
600th entry to my blog Off the Base. The best way to note that milestone is to turn it over to some thoughts from military family members. The families – the grandparents, mothers, dads, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, spouses, children – and veterans are the reason I created the blog. I wanted a place that gave them a voice and that could help civilians better understand the stresses and successes military families and veterans experience.
He’s My Brother – from Get Out of the Cube
“My little brother is a little less than half way through his first deployment to Afghanistan with his National Guard unit. He and I have always been really close. He’s 8 years younger than me (he’s 31), and he was always my side-kick.
“For me personally right now, I would say the strongest feelings I have are 1) constant worry, 2) frustration that I can’t do anything to protect him, and 3) guilt.
“The guilt thing is strange. It’s like I don’t want to enjoy things, since it seems so unfair and selfish for me to be relaxing or laughing it up, when at the same moment he could be fighting for his life. Being optimistic is a challenge, especially given the sentiment there from recent events combined with what my brother’s role is. It’s no walk in the park. I can’t imagine how he feels. Putting on a positive public face is a daily challenge.”
Dancing with His Daughter – from a military spouse
One way this military spouse stays close to her deployed husband is to look through photographs from when he was home last.
“… (I) came across this one, it was right before Christmas. I often put music on in the mornings instead of the TV because I find the girls will dance instead of just sit there watching TV. Well this morning, he scooped up our daughter and just two stepped with her all over the living room. I snapped a picture without them knowing.”
A Delayed Christmas – from an Army Mom
“… One thing I have learned as an Army mom is to expect the unexpected, but when it happens it still hits hard and sends my emotions on a roller coaster ride. It was heart-wrenching to think about the tree that went up, with such anticipation of the wonderful Christmas to come, but would have to be taken down without any Christmas celebration.
The worst for me was the irony that I, through Military Families Ministry, launched a project that sent almost 1800 stockings to deployed troops for Christmas, yet my own son would spend Christmas in Afghanistan with no stocking, not one gift or package from home. I was angry at the Army and heart-broken for my son.”
You can read Tracie Ciambotti’s full blog entry about her delayed 2011 Christmas HERE.