Military Couple Serves Together, Leaves Toddler Home Alone

Julie Ryan Evans

American FlagIt's difficult to ever criticize anyone who chooses to serve our nation's military and put their lives on the line for rest of us, but I can't help but question the choice of an Ohio couple stationed in Afghanistan. They have a 2-year-old son at home in Ohio, and they CHOSE to serve at the same time for almost seven months because they didn't want to be separated from each other.

Chat and Jeff Rice could have gone separately, but they thought they would miss each other too much and felt their marriage would suffer, according to a CNN story. So now their son, Seth, is left Skyping his goodnights to his parents who are in the midst of a war.

I know there are plenty of experts who will say your spouse should come first, that if you don't have a happy marriage, your children will suffer. But when working on your relationship comes with such danger -- danger of leaving your child an orphan -- it seems a bit selfish ... at least at first.

They say he's likely too young to remember. Jeff told CNN, "We were thinking that a 2-year-old wouldn't remember too much of us being gone than if we had to do it when he was 7, when he'd remember the whole thing."

That may or may not be true, but they won't remember those precious years either. Perhaps that makes them even more selfless in the service. When I struggle with putting my daughter in daycare, I always remember something someone told me -- that if you choose to leave your child to work, don't feel sorry for them, they're probably having a great time, feel sorry for yourself. You're the one who's really missing out. And in many cases, I believe that.

Seth is in the care of his grandparents, so he's in loving, trusted hands. His grandparents call it a "blessing" and cherish this involvement in his life. So really it would seem the couple made an incredible sacrifice both for their country and for their family. To provide an example like that for their son is perhaps the best and least selfish parenting ever.

The Rices head home tomorrow, and I can only imagine how amazing their reunion with their son will be. Welcome home to them.

Do you think a couple serving overseas simultaneously is selfish or selfless?

Image via Carissa GoodNCrazy/Flickr

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