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Veterans Day photos: Military families

Monica Beyer is a mom of four and has been writing professionally since 2000, when her first book, Baby Talk, was published. She has one more published book under her belt and is currently a freelance writer for SheKnows, Pregnancy and B...

Facing unique challenges as a family

On this Veterans Day, we sat down with veterans and their families to see what effect military life has on a family, and what motivates these brave men and women to serve our country.

Michael and Whitney's military photoMichael and Whitney

Michael, Whitney and Riley from Port Orchard, Washington

Michael is currently serving in the U.S. Navy.

The hardest part of being away is not being able to see Riley learn new things. Missed his first steps, first serious hospitalization, first day of preschool. Keeping in contact is fairly easy on an aircraft carrier. There's access to internet and email. How often you're able to use those really depends on your job and how much you're working. Last deployment I was working 14-18 hour days so I didn't have much time. This time I'm able to send a few emails a week and the occasional Facebook chat. While in port I'm able to Skype and Tango when I can find Wi-Fi.

When we pull back into the shipyard I'm able to breathe freely. There's nothing better than seeing Riley's face light up because Daddy is home.

Motivation to serve? More like motivation to support my family. It gets hard being away so often but I just remember that I'm doing this so I can take care of my family. This will most likely be my last deployment since we'll be going into a maintenance period for 18 months after we get home and then I'll be on shore duty for two years. I get out in 2017.

Photo credit: Raina Skye Photography

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