A Personal Tribute to Military Families – Home and Away

Although I was born in a military hospital, my father left the service when I was a baby. I didn’t grow up a military kid but my mom freely shared stories about what it was like being a military wife. It was very hard for her to let him ‘belong to the Air Force first’.

I’ve always been very patriotic, which no doubt came from my mother’s talks, and once I was married myself I started to really get what it meant to be a military wife. I couldn’t imagine having my best friend leave us for a year at a time. I couldn’t imagine having a baby born while daddy was overseas. The sacrifice of military families truly humbles me.

Photo: Center Street Books

I recently found a treasure of a book on the new book shelf at the library, called Home and Away, by Nancy and David French. It’s premise fascinated me. It was written by a couple ( they alternated writing chapters) and it was a sort of diary of the year the husband spent in Iraq. But this story differed from many others because this was not a textbook military family.

At age 35, the husband, an attorney, felt like he owed our country more service, so he signed up for the Reserves. Soon he was being called to a one year stint in Iraq, leaving his wife and two young sons to quickly figure out how to do the whole military family thing.

I loved the alternating chapters, being able to see the husbands side of the journey, and then seeing his wife’s perspective on it. It was a touching, well written peek at the small details that frustrate, and encourage military families. I feel like I know better how to support the next military family I come in contact with.

It would be a great read on this day that we are remembering and honoring our country’s veterans (and their families). Pick up a copy when you get the chance.