Fightertown Mom Fills Many Roles While Sons Deployed
(April 1, 2010)
Lori Miller, mother of a fightertown Marine, looks at her grandaughter Sarah's chalk drawing at a park aboard Laurel Bay, March 13. Lori helps keep her son, Staff Sgt. Christopher Miller's, three children busy by taking them to the park, swimming, to the movies and other activities.
||MARINE CORPS AIR STATION, SC (MCN - 3/26/2010) — Service
members across the globe are known for deploying to fight
for America's freedom. What is not as highly recognized is
the parent or grandparent who watches over their children,
making it possible for them to deploy.
Lori Miller, mother of a Fightertown Marine, watched over
her son Staff Sgt. Christopher Miller's three children
during his deployment. Christopher, a machinist with Marine
Aviation Logistics Squadron 31, deployed to Camp Bastion,
Afghanistan for an 11-month deployment and returned Monday.
Both of Lori's sons, Christopher and Staff Sgt. David Miller
deployed to Afghanistan this year, making it more
nerve-wracking for Lori with the possibility of losing both
sons to war.
“The first time both of my sons deployed at the same, time
it was hard to sleep, and I was constantly worried about
them,” Lori said. “This time, watching the children helped
distract me from worrying as much.”
Lori moved to the Air Station in August 2009 to help support
Christopher, a single father, and his three children, which
meant temporarily leaving her husband, dog, cat and home in
Pennsylvania to play the role of mother, father
“I could have taken the children back to Pennsylvania, but
after their parents got divorced, I didn't want to take them
away from their friends again,” Lori said, while smiling at
August was the first time the children were able to live
with their father for the past 5 years, all of Christopher's
daughter Sarah's life. Before getting comfortable as a
family, duty called and Christopher was deployed. |
“My mother made it possible for my children to be able to
move here by helping out whenever she could,” Christopher
Lori moved without hesitation to assist in watching the
children. With few pieces of furniture and the help of
neighbors, the family was able to make a home together.
“I like living on base because it's safe and has security
that won't allow anyone on (base) that's not supposed to
be,” Lori said.
Lori helps keep the children's minds off of their father
being away by keeping them involved in numerous activities.
Cub Scouts, swimming, hanging out with friends and going to
the movies on base are a few examples of activities the
children do. Additionally, once a month, the Miller's have a
family game night with the neighbors.
“I wouldn't be able to be as successful with the children
without the help of our neighbors,” Lori said.
Lori spends her average day dropping the children off at
school, going for a walk with a neighborhood friend, picking
up Sarah from preschool, taking children to their activities
and constantly making sure the children are safe, leaving
little free time for herself.
“It is challenging to watch children all the time after not
having any in the house for years,” Lori explained.
Even though Lori has various challenges when looking after
the children, she stays strong and has the help of friends,
and the children to keep each other company.
“When I got sick with strep throat, Christopher Jr. helped
me by picking up stuff, taking care of his siblings and
setting the table,” Lori said.
Lori Miller, mother of a Fightertown Marine, helps her grandchildren create a welcome home sign, March 13. Lori helped them design their own welcome home sign for their father's return from an approximate 11-month deployment.
||Lori teaches the children responsibility by enforcing
chores, such as cleaning their rooms, vacuuming their rooms
once a week, doing dishes and feeding Smokey, their cat.
While the children's father is away, Lori does her best to
keep them in contact by writing him letters and making sure
each child has a chance to speak with their father.
“Her effort to keep the children in contact with me helped
keep me going throughout the deployment,” Christopher said.
Lori informed Christopher on what went on with
his children, making him feel as though he was
still with them, according to Lori. While
Christopher was gone, he missed out on events in
his children's life, like when
Nathaniel, Christopher's seven year-old son, learned how to ride his bicycle
“It made me happy to know that my children continued to grow
with the help of my mother,” Christopher said. |
Lori plans to stay during the summer, even after
Christopher's return, to save him money and make it easier
for him to attend staff sergeant school and get promoted to
"Knowing my children were safe and well taken care of helped
make this deployment successful for me by setting my mind at
ease," Christopher said. "Deploying is an important part of
my (military) career, and I wouldn't have been able to do it
without my mother."
Article and photos by USMC LCpl. Courtney C. White
Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort
Marine Corps News
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