When Mark deployed in 2009, Audrey was almost one-year old and Caroline was three. 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 absence 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?
One evening when I was exhausted and could barely stir the macaroni and cheese, a package arrived in a nondescript box. Inside was a much-needed gift -- United Through Reading (UTR) had sent my little girls two books.
When we opened each book, there was a video included of their Daddy reading the storybooks and a note from him inside! The girls loved seeing their dad, and so did I. Mark didn’t feel as far away when we watched those videos and read along with him in the books.
UTR was created to serve service members and their families by keeping them connected while they are apart. The service member is video-recorded reading a book to children at home, and the video recording and book are mailed home to family. During Mark’s deployment, we received many UTR packages; he sent the kids each a book on their birthdays and other special days he missed while he was away.
Although they have now outgrown some of 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 for 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