Will She Come Home?

What It's Like Having A Parent Deployed

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My mom, left, with fellow soldiers in Iraq.

Mary Arnold, Staff Writer

Imagine waking up every morning, knowing that any day, a deranged terrorist could blow up your mother, and you’ll never see her again. This is what every child goes through when they have a parent deployed in a war zone. This is what I endured every day for a year while my mom was in Iraq serving her country.

Having my mom deployed changed my life in many ways. The first couple of months, I cried myself to sleep every night. Since then, I still have the occasional nightmare of all the horrible things that could have happened to her while being in a war zone.

I also felt separated from everybody else in my fourth grade class. After my mom left, we moved again, from Rhode Island to Ohio. A new state. A new school. I was the weird kid without a mom around. I didn’t have any spa or shopping trips. While the other girls in my grade talked about what they did with their moms over the weekend, I was left out. I felt jealous that my friends got to do those things, and I couldn’t.

Sometimes, I would start spontaneously crying in class. Just the thought of my mother being gone would deduce me to tears.”

There were, however, some unforeseen changes in my family life that turned out to be for the better. I grew closer with my dad and my brother, bonded by the temporary loss of my mother and the fear that we might not see her again. I learned more about my dad, and more about taking care of myself. It couldn’t have been easy for my father to be a single parent, especially taking care of a girl by himself. Because of this, my aunts swooped in to help. They took me shopping, to get my hair cut, and to be the motherly figure in my life that I so desperately needed. Because of this, I learned more about the importance of family.

Looking back on it now, I don’t think I would change anything. With the temporary loss of one of the most important people in my life, it made me a better person, and who I am today. It taught me to not take anything for granted. It did, however, make me less dependent on my mom, and I now like to do things on my own. I also realized that not everybody is as lucky as I am in having two parents around.

6,802 American military troops died while fighting the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of these brave soldiers left husbands, wives, children, and grieving parents behind. I am thankful every day that it wasn’t 6,803.