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An open letter to deployed parents who won't be home for the holidays

Nicole White is a writer, former English teacher and volunteer for rape victim advocacy in the state of Florida.

A holiday wish for the brave men and women who are serving our country

Dear folks,
By the time you read this, you will know of the family traditions that are taking place in your home this holiday season. You will know the number of candles lit by your little ones on your family menorah… who is hosting which dinner and which brunch.

You will know which panic-stricken relative will be sending late gifts to your home. You will know who placed your ornament on the tree. All baking items have been purchased, and your favorite cookie recipe awaits the warmth of your oven. By the time you read this, you will know of the family traditions that have taken place without you. For that, I am genuinely sorry, and I thank you for your service to our country.

I want you to know that your babies are resilient, brave and tenderhearted. As are you, their parent, role model and friend. I want you to know that your children are OK. They are playing, learning and living as you have taught them to. I want you to know that you are OK. You are surviving, passionately serving and protecting us all to the best of your ability. While knowing all this certainly does not lessen the pain that comes with your separation, especially during the holidays, I hope it provides just a bit of comfort and perhaps motivation to make it through another day of your deployment.

Though you are physically apart from those you love most right now, you are experiencing this season together. This holiday season, this deployment, this seemingly insurmountable number of days. You all feel each minute/hour/day pass, and live with this reality moment by moment. You will all be OK.

Your babies are OK. You are OK. And this season will pass.

With love, light and peace to you and yours, and with a heart filled with gratitude,

Nicole White
Jacksonville, FL
wife of Lt. Paul White, USN
mother of 3

A holiday wish for the brave men and women who are serving our country

Image: Nicole White

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