When I was little I loved going through my siblings’ baby albums. When my brother was born (during the Vietnam era), my father was in the Navy. On my brother’s first birthday, the album shows a black and white picture of little Scott tuckered out with cake all over his face and one of my dad’s sailor hats on his head. My Mom had written a note that the only thing Scott didn’t receive for his birthday was a visit from my Dad who was supposed to be home on leave but couldn’t be. Entries like this one were common during my brother’s and sister’s childhoods and reading those pages always made me cry my eyes out.
This spring, several hundred Payne County children will be missing a parent when our National Guard unit is deployed to Afghanistan. It seems unbelievable that so many local people will be affected since we aren’t near a base, but in this age of the “citizen soldier,” it’s our next door neighbors who have to make the big adjustments, rather than an unknown group of people at a military installation.
We have many books of interest to military families on subjects like separation anxiety, parenting effectively while another parent is away, budgeting, home maintenance, and car repair. We also have several great DVDs provided to us by Military One Source. These DVDs are designed to help children cope with a parent’s deployment as well as the parent’s return. Titles include:
· “Young children on the homefront: Family stories, family strengths.”
· “Military youth coping with separation: when family members deploy.”
· “Mr. Poe and friends: discuss family reunion after deployment.”
I feel kind of silly making material suggestions to those of you affected by the deployment---most of you families are veterans by now with two and three deployments already under your belts. But, we still hope you will come by when you need us---drop in during a storytime with your little one to spend time with other parents or use our computers when yours is on the fritz. We want to make sure you know that we are here, proud to serve the families who are willing to serve our country.