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Military family life: What was it like to deploy your father at 10 o'clock?

His father, Dave, was a Green Beret in his 10th expansion. The family lived in northern Virginia while Dave was stationed overseas. Davidson suffered the loss of his father, but he never forgot him.

"Sometimes it's because we actually do a lot of fun things when he's not around, but it's also sad because he's not just here," Davidson told CNN. "My mother was sometimes devastated and weeping a lot because she was missed. And it wasn't really difficult for her because I was helping her, but she just missed it."

Davidson saw the world stuff, approaching his The fatherly deployments with force displayed by many military families.

"I don't know where he is, but I think he's good because he's a good, strong man," he said.

Every family deals with adversity in their own way. This is what Davidson's family does. They demanded that CNN not use their surname for security reasons.

  Davidson and his father, as illustrated by his father in a book they wrote together.

& # 39; My mom cried and I was a bit scared that my dad would die & # 39;

Davidson helps his mother, Elizabeth, with the hug of her youngest sister or reading bedtime stories to her three younger siblings.

But Davidson did more than read books. When he was 6, he wrote a book about what it means to be a military parent without a child.

Davidson's book is finally coming out just in time for Veterans Day. It is called "Brave for My Family" and is published under a pen name, Davidson Whetstone. His father illustrated the book. die, "Davidson wrote in the book." We got on a plane to Washington, DC. "

  This illustration shows Dave embracing Davidson after surviving an attack on Afghanistan.

Dave flew to Germany and then to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he underwent multiple surgeries. Shrapnel in the face and down his right side, losing his carotid artery by millimeters.He lost peripheral vision in his right eye and shrapnel remains in his body today.

Davidson said he could not remember how he felt when he found out what had happened to his father. He could only remember being grateful to see and embrace him.

"I want to write lib ro because I want to show other kids that they don't have to be afraid when their dads are deployed in countries where war and scary things continue, "said Davidson.

Seeing Dave's description of the hospital gives back the emotion of what happened.

"When you look at it in the book, it looks very real," Elizabeth said in tears. "Take me back to that day where I was walking and I saw him hug Davidson and all his shrapnel wounds."

He remembers thinking, "OK, Jesus, you're still here and we'll get it."

While Dave was hospitalized, a guest showed up at Christmas 2013 and promised Dave they would have lunch. In 2014, the visitor passed. The whole family went to the house of Vice President Joe Biden and cut bread.

  President Joe Biden hosted the family at his home in 2014 when Dave recovered. recovering.

Together they wrote a book

Years later, father and son decided they wanted to share their story. Dave recommended the idea of ​​a book.

Dave was home between deployments, so he and Davidson stayed after church on Sunday and worked on the book. Davidson will write and draw his father. This is their time together.

Drawing has always been a passion and a way for Dave to adjust his thoughts when he was young.

"After losing half of my vision and close to my dominant eye, it became more difficult to draw," Dave wrote in an email from overseas.

"But, illustrating Davidson's story gave me a strong motivation to create a meaningful representation of our family's sacrifice and courage. It also allowed me time to remember and appreciate the details of experience of our family, and make sense of some "what he wrote." 19 Dave said he feels grateful to have his family in his life, especially his wife, who raised their four children while away from home. him.

"I cannot express how proud I am of my whole family, and how blessed I am to have each of them in my life. I am very proud of Davidson for writing this book, but only if I honestly, this is just a snapshot of his talents and desires as a good young man. "

& # 39; They knew we were talking about why he was doing what he was doing & # 39;

Dave and Elizabeth met each other in college , but they didn't date until late.They had a whirlwind romance, married in 2008. Dave went to Special Forces training. Military life was the only life Elizabeth had known since the time they met.

A few months after Davidson's birth in 2010, Dave is on his third expansion. Dave has gone away for almost every year of their marriage, from three months to one year for training or expansion, he said. Elizabeth.

"I have four children and it's busy at home," Elizabeth says. "When I stop and really want to know about our life, it's kind of a reality of yes, it's sad. I miss her, and it's hard, but I've done things I never thought I'd be able to do by myself with four kids. "

  Davidson's dad is a Green Beret. He's been in his 10th deployment since joining the Army in 2004.
Elizabeth has been taking care of her children and schools with them. Father is gone. Older children seem to understand why.

"This is what I found out, that their father left because of us, for our country and to keep us safe," he said. we are clearly talking about why he does what he does. "

Having a partner deployed can be a challenge, especially for a family with young children. [19659002] When she had a sore throat earlier this year, Elizabeth had to bring all four to the emergency room. Their Homeschool co-op set up a meal on the train for Elizabeth, and everyone else in her circle sent encouraging texts.

Families are finding ways to stay connected

"Removal can be a profound experience for families and most families go through it, "said Shelley MacDermid Wadsworth, director of the Military Family Research Institute at Purdue University. "Military families are known for being resilient. But they can also expose families to different challenges, and especially if someone is injured."
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MacDermid Wadsworth is a professor who has studied military families for 20 years. At the time, research showed that service members, their spouses and their families showed higher rates of mental health symptoms tied to an expansion, he said. If a service member is exposed to trauma or is injured, the risk increases.

"There is a lot of concern about deployments happening early in children's lives because it will come at a time when children are learning how to relate to others." MacDermid Wadsworth said. "How kids do a function is how parents do it."

Keeping in touch with a transferred family member is a big part of staying close to a family.

"There has been tremendous creativity in the last few years in helping people stay connected during deployments," he said. "There are many examples of smart care packages and textbooks that are really suitable for kids and parents apart."

  Davidson and his brothers pray at night for their father and # 39; and his siblings pray at night for their daddy's. It's safe to return.

The hardest thing to do was make his family do it

Dave called his family if he could, but he also sent audio recording or video for Elizabeth to play for children. She had one of hers read Lily James' favorite daughter book.

"It's changed a little bit with every kid I have," Elizabeth said. "When I have Davidson, I have all of these books that Dave will read, and we'll videotape him, and I'll do it for him."

Every time Dave went on a mission, Elizabeth and her children prayed for her safe return. She recorded herself praying, and the kids were praying along with the recording when she wasn't home.

While Americans are grateful for the sacrifices service members make for our country, these are the sacrifices they do not see as the most difficult. , Dave said.

"I was wounded in battle, and I lost close friends," Dave wrote. "But, to me some of the hardest pills to swallow are not there for the first words, the first steps, the first Christmases, the first birthdays, and all those moments you will never have again. things are watching my kids grow up in the pictures. "

So don't cry goodbye as he goes for another deployment.

"We know what it's like to have a wife deployed. She's in her 10th deployment," Elizabeth said. "We hope this book will be an encouragement to other children and families of the military."

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Proceeds from the book will go to organizations like Green Beret Foundation that supports military families and wounded warriors.

Sometimes people ask how they can help military families. Elizabeth said the small gestures were so far away.

"We are very strong and I feel we can do it no matter what," he said, "but it is sweet when one does the shortest acts of kindness to our family because it helps so much."

Encouraging texts , such as "I pray for you" or "I think of you" relieves the military mother. And, he said, people should be friends with children in the military. They need to move around a lot. Davidson has moved nine times in his 9 lives.

For other military children, Davidson has a message. said.

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