Another Open Letter To Congress

Dear Congress,

My son is crying…. He is crying because we moved him from the only school he knew and put him in a new one thousands of miles away.  He’s struggling to fit in and get good grades.  He’s crying because as parents we are insisting that he maintain his good grades and he doesn’t like how we are pushing him.  He wants to go back to his old school and the way things were.  What he struggles to understand in his eight year old mind is that it isn’t possible.  We are a military family and moving is part of our life.  He’s still learning to be resilient and strong and over come the challenges of this life.  As I sit here listening to him pour his feelings out to me, all I can think about it is what disappointments lie ahead for him.

The effects of your sequestration!  He joined a swim team and is making friends (finally!) but they are in jeopardy because your cuts are causing the pools to close.  How am I going to tell him that?  What about my other child?  The one that loves soccer and art?  How do I tell him I can’t promise that there will be teams for him join, or that the art classes he loves won’t be available?  How am I going to tell my children these things?  Moving is already hard and these small benefits make the move a little easier.  But, not now…. No, you couldn’t get your budget passed and now I have to bring more sorrow to my children.  I have to bear the burden of their disappointments.

Along with my children, I also have Navy families to tell about your deep cuts that will be effecting us.  I’m a Navy Ombudsman…. That’s right… The one who tells the families the bad news.  Not you!  You aren’t looking in their eyes and telling them we have no pool or the fitness center has reduced hours or that the Commissary is closing an extra day per week.  I’ll be the one to listen to their frustrations and anger, not you!

The command is preparing for a deployment that could be cancelled at any moment.  Do you know what it takes for families to prepare for that separation?  The emotional aspect husbands and wives and children go through to prepare for it?  The financial burdens they may have to face?  Sure, most people would be happy about staying home but it’s an emotional process and can be hard to recover from.  Did you know that? Do you know how to tell families this information?  To take on that burden?  I don’t but I’m going to have to do it whether I’m ready or not.  But, that’s my job, you know, the one I do for FREE!

I’m doing my job of delivering the bad news now I’m begging you to please resolve your issues and pass a budget!  Please, I’m begging you to do your jobs!


Kate Laing

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