Bedtime stories connect deployed military members to kids - wistv.com - Columbia, South Carolina

Bedtime stories connect deployed military members to kids

Most children can't wait for a bedtime story.

And thanks to USO of South Carolina, parents serving overseas who pass through Camp McCrady first can make those cherished moments a reality.

Lt. Commander Rosen is in the United States Navy, but he's also "Dad" to two young children. While he misses them and everything about home, he understands his duty.

"You said 'Alright, I'm going to stand up for my country and do this,'" said Lt. Commander Rosen. "You accept that you're going to have to be gone for some periods of time."

So before he leaves for Afghanistan, he's recording a story for them onto DVD.

"My son will be Calvin and my daughter will either be Hobbs or Susie and they'll sit there at night reading the comic and they'll act out the parts," he said.

There is no doubt they've had a good example.  This is the second time Rosen is sending stories home for his kids through the USO and the United Through Reading program.

Skype can connect them. But when it doesn't, his recorded stories do.

"Maybe there's going to be a week where I can't do it," said Rosen. "Now they can at least put their disks in and have their inner compatibility - that connection with me they otherwise would not have."

From Calvin and Hobbs, to Dr. Seuss, each parent turns the storybook page with a style all their own.

Army reservist Adela Triguero is reading for her seven year-old son. His missed hugs are hard to bear.

"Listening to him say that he wants to hug me and he can't hug me," said Triguero. "And sometimes he hugs his teddy bear, because he misses me so much."

Triguero days her parents never read to her. The chance to encourage her child to read while she's gone means a lot.

"We get to do something together that we can both enjoy," she said. "He may not want to read, but you know he's still getting read to and he'll learn. It's just a little more time to spend together."

While Sgt. Mike Robinson is home in the midlands on two weeks leave, he prepared for when he went back by recording a story for his new stepdaughter, Maria.

"We're fairly new as a family," said Robinson. "We got married four months ago and most of that time, all of that time I've been away."

While he works to make the nation secure, Robinson and his wife, Alexandria, are working to secure their own strong future here.

"When I'm over there I can never forget about family," said Robinson.

His girls are waiting for the day he comes home for good.

"I always worry about her forgetting, because I am not her biological father,"said Robinson with the 82nd Airborne.  "I was really worried that she'd forget who I was."

But a story told with love can stay with one forever.

"I can read to her a bedtime story or something," said Robinson. "And maybe that will help her and that makes me feel better."

WIS News 10 was with Maria a few weeks later when she received the DVD Robinson made of himself reading to her.

Inside the front cover of the book Maria received, was a tiny DVD with a message from Robinson.

"Hey Tot. I'm here to read to you a bedtime story," said Robinson on the DVD. "Hopefully you'll like it. It's called Alligator shoes."

The story was a good choice because Maria likes alligators.  It was just the first of many times Maria plans to watch. And she won't be alone.

"I have a feeling I might watch it sometimes too," said Alexandria. "Just to see his mannerism and things like that."

Alexandria is also grateful for the DVD because she knows time means something different to her daughter.

"A couple of months to adults is doable, but a couple of months in a child's memory is a long time," said Alexandria. "So I think it will help to see and hear him."

And to continue building their relationship while Robinson's deployed, even as she remembers the memories made during his leave.

"He helps me ride my bike," said Maria.

Until that next bike ride, Robinson's recording is ready for all the days he's away.

"I always worry about her forgetting, because I am not her biological father,"said Robinson.  "I was really worried that she'd forget who I was."

But a story told with love can stay with one forever.

The words Robinson read to Maria will do as much for him as they do for her.

"I can read to her a bedtime story or something," said Robinson. "And maybe that will help her and that makes me feel better."

USO South Carolina started offering the reading service at Camp McCrady last September. The national USO teamed up with the United Through Reading program nine years ago.

USO South Carolina covers the cost.

Copyright 2012 WIS.  All rights reserved.

 

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