When Mark deployed in 2009, Audrey was almost 1 year old and Caroline 3. We did not know how often we would be able to talk with him. I was working full time and worried about handling things in his absence, especially our children.
How would they handle the disappearance of their daddy for an entire year? When he returned, would they recognize him? Be angry at him? Welcome him back with open arms or fear him?
On a day when I was exhausted and could barely stir the macaroni and cheese I would feed my kids that night, a package arrived in a non-descript box, but what was inside was a much needed gift. The United Through Reading program had sent my little girls two books.
When we opened each book, there was a DVD and a note from their Daddy inside! The girls loved seeing daddy and so did I. Mark didn’t feel as far away when we watched those videos and following along in the books.
United Through Reading exists to serve deployed family members by keeping them connected with family back home. The service member is video-recorded reading a book to children at home, and the recording, along with the book, are mailed home. We received many UTR packages throughout Mark’s deployment, he sent the kids each a book on their birthdays and other special times he was missing.
Although they have outgrown the stories we can’t part with a single one of them. Each book and UTR video have a special place on our bookshelf.
Please consider a donation in honor of Mark’s 50th birthday. Your gift will allow others to reach out to their kids while they are away, just like Mark did to Audrey and Caroline.
Click on the “DONATE NOW” link on the left.
United Through Reading is a non-profit organization that offers military parents the opportunity to be video-recorded reading storybooks to their children from nearly 200 recording locations worldwide. Our program creates an emotional connection between parents and their child, encourages literacy, eases homecomings and gives families the tools to reintegrate into a daily routine. Since inception, over two million military parents, spouses and children have benefited from United Through Reading’s programs and services.
Learn more at www.unitedthroughreading.org