When Mom Goes to War
Pregnancy and birthing, frog-filled pockets and pretty yellow dresses, are some of the most satisfying things for a parent to experience. For years American mothers have been sacrificing moments like these to help establish democracy in a country half a world away, true examples of selfless service.
“To be a mother is a true honor and a gift,” said Staff Sgt. Leslee Borges, from Manteca, Calif., a French horn player with the 56th Army Band, Fort Lewis, Wash.
Borges is mother to an 18-month-old boy, Aidan. She arrived, April 22, and is to serve a one-year tour at Camp Victory, Iraq. Unlike most here, this mother has the close physical support of her husband.
Sgt. Todd Borges, from Turlock, Calif., trumpet player, is also here with the 56th Army Band. Together in 2006, they entered the active-duty Army and in 2007, started a family. The couple said they knew they would deploy once stationed at Fort Lewis. Their son, Aidan, was 10 months old.
“He’s personable and full of energy,” Leslee said. “He’s the boy in the restaurant that smiles at everyone around him until they smile back. It’s like he knows that his mission in life is to make people happy.”
Like Aidan, Cpt. Dan Rice, Multi-National Corps-Iraq, Special Troops Battalion, Task Force Courage Chaplain, has a mission too.
“This Mother’s Day I want to celebrate and honor mothers everywhere, Rice said. “One of the best things we can do for them is make time to maintain communication. Remember to send them a note,” he said. “Sometimes they don’t know how much danger we’re not in anymore,” he continued, referring to the progressive stability in Iraq.
Keeping that line of communication is essential to the Borges.
“I see him every day,” said Leslee. “I make it a point to get up at 5:30 in the morning to say goodnight to him no matter what.”
Although Aidan can’t form sentences, Leslee said they still talk.
“I ask him things like, ‘what sound does the lion make’,” she said mimicking her toddler’s voice. “And he says, ‘rooooahr’,” she explained raising her ‘paws’ and roaring with a smile. “I read him books and he kisses the monitor.”
Aiden lives with Leslee’s twin brother, his wife, and their four-year-old son in Citrus Heights, California. The couple agrees they have a great relationship. She says maintaining their routine is sometimes difficult, and would not be possible without the support of her brother and his wife.
Rice said, “Holidays are especially hard on service members in a deployed environment. Out here every day is the same.
Leslee doesn’t expect Mother’s Day to be different than any other day in Iraq, “I don’t know what I’ll do,” she said. “I’ll [video] chat with him like I do every day I suppose.” To show her appreciation to her sister-in-law, she sent flowers and a card.
Rice who has two boys, Caleb, 3, and Luke, 7 months old is still unsure of what to do for his wife.
“I always think of my wife,” Rice said. “I know how much being a mother means to her. I wanted to do something special, which to me,” he said chuckling, “means expensive.”
Story by Sgt. Kathleen Briere
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This entry was posted on Monday, May 11th, 2009 at 2:00 pm and is filed under Original writing, Commentary, Military, Military, Our Best: Military Women. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.