My Mommy or Daddy is Deployed- Part One 

Joy Hollowell

You have to be 18 to join the military, but there are plenty of Mainers younger than that, currently “serving” our country.they are the sons and daughters of soldiers overseas and the battleground these young people face is one of the toughest to fight.Joy Hollowell has a special report on “My Mommy or Daddy is Deployed.”===========Scenes like soldiers coming home from war are heart warming to watch, especially when the soldier returning is a mom or dad.”A lot of us are very honest when we say that it’s a lot easier to be deployed than to stay at home.”Chaplain Andy Gibson is the Director of Deployment Cycle Services for the Maine Army National Guard. He says it’s not just the soldier that goes through training for a deployment.”We do talk to the parents before they go away,” says Gibson. “Over a period of months, we give them different educational bits, we also tell them about the support that we have in this state. We do have two youth and child specialists, we do have a military family life consultant who specializes in children.””The kids don’t generally deal with the deployment as good as the adult, cause the adult knows he’s coming home. The children sometimes forget about time. It might be three or four months that the soldier is gone, but the child thinks of it as yesterday.”Darlene Bergeron is one of three Readiness Group Leaders for the 1136th. Her husband and the rest of the company are in Afghanistan until next spring.”Life goes on,” says Bergeron. “That’s what we’re here for. We give each other support, we keep things going.” “For our air guard brothers and sisters, it’s a different dynamic for them,” says Chaplain. “Because they don’t go away for a whole solid year. They go away for two weeks, and then they go away for a month, then they go away for four months.”Chaplain Gibson says one of the toughest challenges for military kids in Maine is they are so spread out.”So very often they’re in schools, they’re in their play groups with a bunch of children who aren’t children of deployed,” says Chaplain Gibson.And even though those other kids and adults can have good intentions…”I don’t think anyone actually knows what it’s like until they’ve actually gone through it,” says Gibson. “A lot of times we put pressure on our kids by saying, you must be proud of mom, you must be proud of dad, when actually they’re really angry at mom or dad for not being there.””A lot of people don’t understand what these kids go through,” says Bergeron. “Yes, you’re left with a parent, however, they’re missing that other parent that does a lot of different things that you take for granted.”Often that doesn’t go away, even when the soldier returns.”In some ways, it’s like re-introducing strangers when the soldier comes home,” says Chaplain Gibson. “Because particularly at first, it’s very normal for the military member to be a little bit more apathetic about things. It’s very normal for that military member to try to be more aloof and to withdraw from situations.It’s very normal for that military member to not care about some of the things that they cared about when they left.”What we tell kids as well as adults, we say that the lower your expectations, the better you are. Low and slow.”+++++Chaplain Gibson says it usually takes about a year for military families to adjust to mom or dad being back home from deployment.If you’d like more information on programs and services available to military kids and their families, you can call the Military Family Assistance Center.It’s a 24-hour toll free number, 1-888-356-9287 or log onto