Families Wait at Home for More Than 369,000 Deployed U.S. Troops

Military Wife Has Help for Kids Who Miss Their Parents

WASHINGTON, DC--(Marketwire - Jun 24, 2011) - Kat DeMille knows what it's like to wait for months for Dad to come home.

The former Navy brat grew up to become an Air Force wife, so she doesn't need to be reminded of the 369,000 Americans who are deployed overseas, many of them leaving behind a spouse and kids, according to U.S. Department of Defense statistics. She's been living that drill most of her life.

"One of the most important things I learned as a kid was that it is okay to feel sad and to miss the ones we love," said DeMille, author of the children's book "I Wish Daddy Was Here" (www.iwishdaddywashere.com). "Children take their cues from the adults who surround them, and in military families, there is always this semblance of steely reserve. They don't want to show sadness around the kids, so all the kids see are the brave faces, and it makes it easy for them to bottle up their sadness or feel that missing their moms or dads is a bad thing. I had to unlearn that misconception, and it actually helped me feel better."

DeMille believes kids should know that while it's important to move on with their daily lives while a parent is deployed, that it's also okay to miss them and to let their sadness out when they need to. She said that part of the message of her children's book is that the sadness is a part of coping with the reality of modern troop deployments.

"My husband is currently deployed right now, so my daughter and I are living it along with every other military family," she added. "Missing a family member is like the elephant in the room that no one wants to acknowledge. The military life causes many families to endure extended separation. How we deal with the time apart makes a big difference in a child's life. Letting your children express their feelings will help them get through the separation. Life does not stop because someone we love is away, but that does not mean we cannot miss them."

About Kat DeMille

Kat DeMille grew up in a Navy family and married into the Air Force, and her family was the basis for the characters in her book.

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Ginny Grimsley