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Wife of Soldier Tammy K. This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

By
     Mrs. Tammy K. is a high school history teacher at Mount Saint Charles
Academy, and the wife of Chad K. who is in the Army Reserve. He is the 3rd Platoon leader in Iraq, and an E-6 Sergeant. Mr.
K. has been stationed in southern Iraq for 12 months, and will be returning home soon. During his absence, Mrs. K. has
had to work, raise their two children, and manage the household.



Your husband left Iraq
today. How long will he be home?


Hopefully for good. We won’t know if he will be reactivated.
He’s got 15 more months left in the military, and then he retires after 20 years of service. He’s been in
since we were 17.



How do your kids keep focused at school and function while their dad is
away?


Well, to be honest, I believe that they’re too young [to understand the war], because John is
nine and Kaitlyn is seven. I think they just deal with it, and don’t really think about it too much during the day.
They’ve got school, activities, they both do karate, and there’s dance and baseball. They’re very
busy. So it hits them at night when their dad would normally be home for dinner and would tuck them in, that sort of stuff. And
then John’s the typical boy who tries not to cry about it, but he does. And Kaitlyn, well, she cries about everything.
I’ve been in close contact with their teachers through this whole thing, and luckily, there are no problems in
school.



How do you explain that their dad is in danger?

Well, when he
first went, we told them, “Daddy’s going to help the people in Iraq.” We didn’t say that
it’s a war. And over time, as my son got older, he heard and saw things, and asked me one day, “Can Dad be,
well, ... [in danger]?” I said he could be because he drives a truck, so he’s transporting things. There are
days that I know he’s not on the base, so I get nervous because I just don’t know [if he’s all
right]. So, over time they have figured out that there are days that he could be in danger. And again, they’re young
and I don’t think they realize the concept of dying. They understand that people go to Heaven or Hell, but they
don’t quite get it yet. They’ve never lost anybody close to them.



How
big a toll does it take on your family when your husband isn’t there?


A lot. I have been saying
this from the beginning: I have a whole new respect for single moms. It was really hard. I’m so glad he’s
coming home! Without my parents, I would have never been able to get through this, and I’ve also got my grandmother,
who’s been just phenomenal. I can’t say enough. Last year I had the kids in my class, and they were so good
to me. And my friends here at school, the teachers I work with, have been very supportive. Thank God I have these people because
some people have no family; they were stationed out here, with just themselves. I don’t know how they do
it.



Do you worry about him constantly or just when you’re home?


Well, now it’s different because I know he’s okay. Last year I can remember (I told a lot
of my students) that I would get up in the morning and know that I would get through the day because they were good kids, and
they kept me busy. And then I’d get out of school and I’d be busy with my own kids.

The
hardest time would be at night during family time. Dinner was tough with an empty chair at the table. Family functions were
tough; holidays were horrific. Birthdays were torture to me. Our tenth

anniversary, he wasn’t here.
You just get through it. Work was what got me through it, and keeping busy with my kids and friends. It’s quiet time
when you miss your spouse.

It was very hard, and I am so looking forward to him coming home. He can mow the
lawn and everything. The one thing I always complained about was that I had to do the “guy” stuff and my own
work, and it was very hard.



When your husband is away, does it bring your family closer
together?


It did bring everybody closer because not only did I need their help with the kids, but it was such
an emotional strain that I needed them just to be there. You think about what could happen, and you see the news and read the
reports, and you want them to be there if you need to cry.

I had to hold it together when my kids were around
because I didn’t want them to see me cry. Not that I didn’t, because there were some days when I just
couldn’t hold it in. I’ve cried in school, with friends, with students, my family, but it did bring us all
closer because they were there as the emotional support I needed. They were the ones who kept me in check when I
couldn’t handle it. They took the kids, they made dinner - little things like that definitely brought us closer
together.


This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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This article has 2 comments. Post your own!

A_JourneyThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Mar. 2, 2012 at 10:49 pm:

Awww thats so sweet :)

But maybe you shouldn't include so much information about them? I couldn't tell if you changed their names, but if you didn't, you might not want to include that much information about them.

Congrats on getting into the magazine!

 
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[SuperSoaker]Skitzo said...
May 12, 2009 at 12:20 pm:
I love the fact her husband and her kids are so close=]
It is so fun to see a family like that and i hope there dad is okay and safe=D
 
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