8 Tips for Mother’s Day with a Military Mom

A proud "Marine" mom, Cyd Deathe.

A proud “Marine” mom, Cyd Deathe.

Sunday is Mother’s Day – normally a time for celebration.  But it’s sometimes tough to celebrate when mom is home and the kids are serving overseas in the military. So here are some suggestions.

When it comes to tips on what not to say to a Marine mom, Cyd Deathe, co-founder the Tampa Area Marine Parents Association, has a list:

 

  • Don’t say to a military mom, ‘Why did you let him join up?’ That’s one of Cyd’s biggest irritants because it totally dismisses that the child is an adult.
  • Don’t ask ‘When are they coming home?’ Cyd says, “Most of the time we don’t know. We can only hope and the more you hear it and the more you want it and the more you say it it’s not good.”
  • Don’t open a political discussion about the wars with the mother of a deployed military member because they cannot change the fact their child is deployed and possibly at risk.
  • Do be sensitive. “I had one military mom who took her son’s dress blues to the dry cleaners,” Cyd said. “And attendant asked her if she was getting them ready for him to be buried in them.”

Cyd’s son is no longer in the Marines, but she still leads the parent support group  that is open to all military parents. And she had some advice for parents of deployed service members:

 

  • Give up the crying because it makes them weak.
  • It’s not about you.
  • Don’t tell them that you miss them, they know that already.
  • Your job is to make them strong so they’re on point so they can do what they’ve got to do.

Earlier this week, Dorie Griggs offered 7 suggestions on ways to support a military mom and what to avoid.

You can listen to Dorie and Cyd tell their stories on WUSF.

 

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Military Parents Sew Pillows for Homeless Veterans

A stack of sewn, stuffed and rolled pillows waiting to be transported to the Tallahassee Stand Down for homeless veterans.

A stack of sewn, stuffed and rolled pillows waiting to be transported to the Tallahassee Stand Down for homeless veterans.

A baby pillow pattern that comforted Marines on the frontlines in Iraq is now serving to soften the lives of homeless veterans.

The handmade pillow measures 12 by 16 inches. It’s sewn from light, cotton fabric in many colors and stuffed, not too fully, so it can be rolled.

The pillow is the signature item of the Tampa Area Marine Parents Association (T.A.M.P.A.). Members have been making pillows in patriotic colors for nine years and sending them out with all their care packages for deployed military.

Cyd Deathe co-founded the support group after her son joined the Marines. That was nine years ago, and they’re still active supporting deployed military from all branches and now veterans.

Cyd Deathe stitching closed one of 200 pillows for homeless veterans.

Cyd Deathe stitching closed one of 200 pillows for homeless veterans.

More than two dozen T.A.M.P.A. members just stitched more than 200 packable pillows to be distributed this weekend at a VA Stand Down for homeless veterans in Tallahassee.

A Stand Down is a military term for men and women returning from the frontlines where they are given a chance to relax and regroup.

“We came through the whole Iraq (War). We’re going through the end in Afghanistan and now we’re phasing into the veterans,” Deathe said. “The downsizing of the military and all these guys getting out and where do they go, what do they do, what are they able to do, what’s their future?”

Originally, they requested 400 pillows for the Stand Down, Deathe said. But the time was too short to guarantee more than 200 pillows.

“My strongest passion now moving forward is our veterans,” Deathe said. “Our boys are turning into veterans and so much of our demographic here in the Tampa area are our veterans parents seeking help because of the issue their kids are going through.”

A stack of pillow casings waits for stuffing next to a pile of completed and rolled pillows.

A stack of pillow casings waits for stuffing next to a pile of completed and rolled pillows.

She said the same support she needed as a new Marine mom – military parents now need as their sons and daughters transition into civilian life and become veterans.

“Once a military mom, always a military mom cause it never stops,” Deathe said.

What has changed is that the support group welcomes families from all the service branches and is also open to people who just want to support military families and veterans.

The VA at Bay Pines in Pinellas County has also scheduled a Stand Down Saturday  9 a.m. – 1 p.m at Bay Pines VA campus, 10000 Bay Pines Blvd., Bay Pines, FL. Another is set in Tallahassee.

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