I am a mother of a kind, intelligent, beautiful, and very understanding 5 year old girl. I am also an Officer in the United States Air Force. Because of my duties, I am often unable to give her the life she deserves. I rarely get to attend her school field trips, or make school holiday socials. I often have to work late nights, weekends, and sometimes all night long for weeks on end and she has to spend the night with my best friend. Although the Air Force family is very giving and works hard to accommodate our needs, it is hard on me, and I don’t like it; but moreover, it is very unfair to my daughter. She deserves more. She deserves time with me, her mother. She deserves to have me at home every night to tuck her in and read her bedtime stories.
My daughter doesn’t complain. She doesn’t always like it, or always understand, but when I tell her it is because Mommy has to go to work to “Keep America Safe,” she doesn’t question it. She smiles and kisses me goodbye. It breaks my heart that to her, this is the normal life.
I cannot tell you how many times I have contemplated getting out of the Air Force. I am married, my husband has a good job also as an Air Force Officer; I do not need to work. Although I am a classic Type-A personality, I have often thought about pursing a normal career, a quieter career, where I would have a regular 50-hour a week job, or at least know that my daughter would have my undivided attention all weekend long, versus competing with my cell phone and emails. But I am still here. It is not because of the money. It is not because of the benefits. It is not because of the respect for the troops. Those are all eroding perks.
I am still here because my daughter is getting an experience that most young girls will never have. She can read and write in Japanese as well as English. She is learning that there are people in the world that are different, and that some are less fortunate than we are; and that her Mommy is helping them. She is learning that women are strong; women are competent; women are leaders. But most of all, I believe that my contribution is making the world a better place. I am making a safe world for my daughter and all the worlds’ daughters. A world where my daughter can grow and prosper without fear makes my sacrifices, and her sacrifices, seem like a small price to pay; and for this world, I believe.
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