- The Washington Times - Thursday, September 4, 2008


Dear Active Duty Mom

I’m very happy to know you have a lot of great people who want to take care of your sons. Everyone will be very instrumental in shaping the lives of your sons at this time, given their ages and your upcoming deployment. The Army is doing a great job with pre-deployment briefings, and much information will be given to you. I’m sure it’s mandatory that you attend. If not, then I encourage you to do so. I also would suggest that you bring your sons and caregivers to the briefings, too. Much information will be given that will be helpful to everyone.

Make sure you have your legal, financial and medical concerns in order. The Judge Advocate General definitely will prepare you with your options for power of attorney, etc. Just make sure you tell them who will be the major players in caring for your sons. Do your homework on the community where your sons will move. Check out the schools, medical facilities, doctors, dentists, etc. The more you know about the care they will receive, the better you will feel.

Also try to visit the schools your sons will attend and meet the administrators. Tell them you are a service member who will be deployed this school year. Also search for recreational options. For example, if your sons play a sport or take music lessons, check out the youth sports organizations in the community. It’s important for your sons to maintain as much normalcy as possible. Youth activities are much easier to access on a military base than in a community.

Keeping in touch across the miles has improved greatly. You can use webcams and write, e-mails, send cards and play computer games together across the miles. Please use as many of these options as possible. You also can stay involved with your sons’ discipline using a reward system. Some Web sites I would suggest you review are Military.com. Also visit Army Community Services on your base for many other resources that will be helpful not only to your sons, but for their caregivers, too.

Finally, you should approach deployments by taking care of your mental/emotional, physical and spiritual needs for you and your sons. I think you are doing a great job because you are planning ahead. I wish you and your sons the best. I know deployments are tough, and I’m sure you must be experiencing many emotions about leaving your babies. This is normal. Take care of yourself and be encouraged.


Dear Hopefully

Godsend, huh? Well, you are my first reader to bestow such a compliment. Thanks. I’m glad your Marine has a concerned woman like you to come home to.

My advice is not to bring up the war or what he is experiencing a this time. It’s evident that he is not having the greatest time right now. Just enjoy the R&R; getting to know each other and building a strong connection. He’ll eventually let you know if he is in distress. He can let you know this without bringing up anything about this Iraq experience. Again, I’m glad you are supportive. I’m sure everything will be just fine. Just take the relationship slowly; there’s no rush.

cVicki Johnson, a licensed clinical social worker, military spouse and mother of three, has been counseling service members and their families for 15 years. Her column, Dear Ms. Vicki, runs in The Washington Times Thursdays and Sundays. Contact her at [email protected]



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