Read this military mom’s moving letter to her neighbors and say ‘roger that’


(Photo: US Marines, Cpl. Jonah Lovy)

By Elaine Brye

You watched them grow up.

You remember them on the playground and up at bat in t-ball. You saw them in the school plays and at church on Sunday morning.

Now that they are grown and in the military, you ask me where they are or how they are doing. On a good day, I will smile and give the update. On a bad day, I might crumple in your arms.

Why?

I fight a battle every day to ride the wave of pride and fear as my children — four of them, to be exact — do their duty as military officers. You would think I would be used to it after 16 years and 12 deployments. But I liken this journey to labor: No matter how many times you have done it, when the first pain hits, it still hurts like a son of a gun.

My first battle on the home front is to overcome daily worry. You may be wondering why I worry. After all, they are not always deployed . . . even though sometimes it feels like it.

My three sons and son-in-law are aviators. Over the past few years, there have been several dozen military aviation accidents, and almost every crash was in US operations. There have also been multiple training accidents across the branches. I would be remiss to not include the toll that PTSD has taken on our military community as we lose service members to the battles within. It is part of the life of a military mom to come to grips with these hidden and obvious dangers. It’s an invisible backpack filled with the bricks of fear and worry and the sadness of letting go of the time when I could protect them.

The load military moms carry certainly gets heavier when our children deploy. Many times we are out of communication; because of operation secrecy, we cannot or should not know what they are doing. It can drive a mom crazy. We become hyper-vigilant, and every news bulletin sends our hearts racing. As one veteran said to me, “I realized I knew I was okay, but my mom only knew for the instance I could text or talk to her.”

We find ways to cope, whether it be through prayer or walking or projects. But the biggest help comes from those who understand. Other military parents automatically get it.

But neighbor, I’d like it to be personal to you, too. Realize that I am carrying a hidden weight upon my shoulders that only lessens when deployment is over or when my children are all under my roof, which seldom happens. Remember that we all have a duty to our country, but some are sacrificing every day at a different level. Don’t be afraid to call me and ask if everyone is okay if you hear bad news. If I don’t know, you can pray with me. If everything is great, we can rejoice together. And — heaven forbid — if it is not, I will need you more than ever.

What makes this military momma thing bearable is the enormous pride I have in their service. You will see me wearing my military-themed t-shirts. As I hear the stories of situations they have encountered, it makes me even prouder. When I hear the Star Spangled Banner, I cry because I love this country and my children who are protecting it. That blue star banner hanging on my door is wrapped in love and appreciation for all they do.

I appreciate it when you thank me for their service. I love it when you ask me what you can do to support them. Through the years, friends and neighbors have sent hundreds of packages for my kids to distribute. They have been remembered on prayer lists and been the recipients of some great holiday treats.

But let’s take it one step further.

Can I count on you to advocate for my kids and all their fellow service members to make sure they have the resources they need? Will you fight with me for good mental health services, health care, family support services, and the equipment they need to keep them safe? Will you reach out to the families of those deployed who need help in a tangible way? Because they are fighting for you, for your freedom, and a chance to live life as you choose in the country we all love. They really are your kids, too.

68 Comments

    1. Roger that! Army mom here for almost 5 yrs now. My son has been to Korea in 2013 for more training and is now currently deployed! My heart aches each day but I left him in Gods hands the day WE signed on! God Bless all who serve to defend and those who serve at home! And very beautiful and moving letter!! Felt every word!

  1. I know What your going through. 21 yrs my self. 3 sons, a daughter in law and a grandson. All army. Very proud.

  2. Roger that. My daughter’s next assignment is Sea Duty so she will be deployed leaving behind her 1 year old son in my care. It will be very different but I will anything to support her.

  3. Roger that! both my children are currently deployed. Someday are certainly hard then others. I’m very thankful for the technology we have I can’t imagine what parents went through 15 or more years ago. Thank you all for your service..

  4. Roger that! My son is third deployment! I pray constantly even when no one knows what I’m doing! Thank you to all that serve, support and assist our military loved ones!

  5. Amen Elaine, from this ARMY Veteran, who works with Veterans at the VA, as well as an Army Mom of an infantryman preparing for our 1st deployment. God bless you and your children. I’m 1/2 way through your book. Such great encouragement, I’ve been recommending it to all my military mom friends!!!

  6. Yes, I will fight with you, so that our military loved ones are provided the services they so deserve. Thank you for your much needed support and information for this new Air Force mom.

  7. Rodger that! Both of my daughters gone on their first deployment, husband former Naval Aviator…..a different life than most of my most of my friends….one filled with worry….and enormous pride!

  8. Roger that!! It so true that our soldiers are always at risk even while training. Psalm 91 is a constant prayer for me. Military moms are indeed a proud and fierce force😊……#prouarmymomma

  9. Definitely! It is so hard to be so proud and so scared all of the time. They are doing important things every day.

  10. Roger that! 23 years and counting. 1 Coastie, 2 Army, and Marine Grandson. Thank you for raising such super children. Thank them for their service. Prayers for strength.

  11. Thank you for their service, and for the words that as a military mom, I totally get. Prayers for the safety of all your children and hugs to you. Roger that!!!

  12. I love this! Think advocating for mental health service is a great way to show support for our troops! Thank you for your dedication and support and thank you to your families service! Semper Fi

  13. Roger that! As the mother of an Air force Pilot I felt every written word. So proud of, and grateful for, our American Warriors.

  14. Roger that! Is going to be my first daughter deployment next month but I’m so proud of her at a such young age decided to serve our country.

  15. Roger that! Proud Air Force mom of 11 years. I have felt nearly everything you have described. Constant prayer is all that can get you through some of those times. Have been & will continue to fight for what is right for our military & their families!

  16. Roger that! We are just beginning this journey…USAFA proud mama. God bless our children and God bless the USA!

  17. Roger that! Although we are Canadian this military momma feels every bit the same as my American military mom neighbours. What amazing young people we have raised! May they all be safe and y’all be blessed with boots in your homes soon.. ❤🇨🇦🎗🇺🇸❤

  18. Roger that!! Having my hero recently return from D#5, my heart is always with our troops. Being a military mom is like nothing else. Balancing the pride and fear of this emotional roller coaster is so difficult at times. Thank you so much for shedding light on our lives.

  19. I too have a son have a son who is serving in the military he is in the Navy and yes I worry about him all the time. His Brother who turned 18 wants to follow in his footsteps and become a Marine, I have 2 more boy’s to see if they follow behind their eldest two brothers and 2 daughter’s to see if they decide to follow behind their eldest two brothers as well. Whatever their choices may be I know I support all my children 💯% because I myself am a military child and yes I will worry about them but at the same time be proud of them.

  20. Same here 11 years son in the Marine Corps. Five deployments down and it never gets easier. I identify with everything you said! I am so proud of him but it hasn’t been easy. I think of time now as before he joined the Marine Corps and the time after. Thank you for giving a voice and letting others try to understand what we all go through as Military Moms!!!🇺🇸

  21. Roger that! My daughter, SIL and twin sons are all AF officers, 3 of them aviators. I keep my feelings to myself within my extended family (siblings and nieces and nephews). They don’t understand the worry or the overwhelming sense of pride that I feel. I am so very proud to be an Military Mom!!!!!

  22. Roger that!!! I am a retired Navy wife, and mother of six. The two oldest children served their country-one Navy and one Air Force-and now our third child is serving his country in the Navy. I am very proud of all of them, and understand exactly what you are going through. Thank you for your service as a military Mom and thank your children for their service! I’m proud to have been a military wife, and VERY proud to be a military Mom!!!

  23. Copy! I say “copy” as my son had one Commander who did not want them to use “Roger”. Lol. Love the encouragement. You said it all. There are many bait accidents and many are due to maintenance, or the lack thereof. Kudos to you for taking the time to express all of a mom’s and dad’s concerns. Proud Air Force mom here. Fly, fight, win!!

  24. Elaine, Roger that!

    I have shared this post with my friends on facebook because while my son is not an aviator, he is a Marine, and is deployed, and when not deployed, lives fairly far away from me (Italy for three years, so North Carolina seems close).

    Sending you love, and support.

    Lexa

  25. Roger That! 3 sons in the military. 1 in the Air Force, 2 in the Army. So very proud of all of them. All have been deployed several times. I couldn’t be prouder to be a military mom!

  26. Roger that! I’m an very proud AF wife, AF mother(2), and Marine mother. The journey has not been easy but very rewarding. We shared a space in every conflict since 1991. Thank God for keeping all of us.

  27. Roger that! My son just left for his first deployment. I am so very proud of him. I can’t wait to be able to hug him again. When he comes back from deployment it will be 19 months since I’ve seen him.

  28. Roger that! Mom of four also. Proud Mom of a USAFA cadet and an enlisted Navy son. One deployment thus far. Hardest thing I’ve ever been through and life as not been easy. I stay strong on the outside and am in constant prayer. They are doing the difficult work! 🙏🏻✈️⚓️

  29. Elaine,
    Your letter is like the chapter I just read ‘It’s Ok If You Break Down in the Dairy Aisle’, from your book. I am digesting it one chapter at a time and every time it brings me to tears. Our son, Kirk, (2nd LT USMC) is not deployed yet but soon expect he will receive his deployment orders as he is in training at Ft Sill for artillery and will be graduated mid June. Your presence on FB, in you book [and in my life] is helping me prepare for this. I only hope I can be support to other families whose children, husbands, wives are deployed. I hope we can help each other.

  30. Momma’s are not the only ones who worry . My grandson is in the Army and I pray for him every night . Grandmom’s worry also. We worry about our soldiers and their parents ( our own kids) God bless them all.

  31. Roger that!! I’m a relatively new military mom. Your writing echos my thoughts. Prayers for you & your service members. God bless & keep you all.

  32. My daughter has just begun her career in the USMC. She graduated boot in Feb. It can be overwhelming thinking if what lies ahead. Trying to get through one day at a time and remember that God is in control. I miss her like crazy, but am filled with pride as well. Thank you & your family for you service!

  33. Roger that. My son is an EOD specialist. For those in military life you know what it means, for those wo do not. It is an explosive ordnance disposal. When he is deployed I cry almost every night to just hear from him. He has a wife and 4 beautiful babies that he spends every minute he can trying to chat or just catch a glimpse of. When he is home rhe worry doesn’t stop. PTSD is a part of his life every day. I worry he will have a day so bad he can’t stand up from the horrible headaches. Or that home life will involve fighting. He loves his family so muxh, but we all know the stats on divorce in people with PTSD. He went into the military straight out of high school and was and is proud to be serving his country and our freedoms but I am saddened by the lack of respect so many show and I know this goes straight to his heart.

  34. Military mom: you are courageous, loving, keeping the faith lady.
    May God bless you and your family in doing there duty for their COUNTRY AND MINE. In my prayers. God is good and gives the strength to endure.

  35. Definitely. We hang in there because of people like you sharing your stories that let us know we aren’t alone. It helps to know that there is a huge community of military moms ready to support one another when the going gets tough. Thanks for all you do Elaine! Love you for all you do, all the time!

  36. Roger that! Son on 3rd deployment. Prayers for all who struggle with PTSD. Getting safely home is only half the battle.

    1. Roger that! I am a Marine Mom or as we say MoM (mom of a Marine). I couldn’t be more scared or any more proud of my son for what he is doing. Thanks for the wonderful words of wisdom. You are truly a hero!!!

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