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It's been seven months since Kaitlyn, Christian and Renee have been able to give their mom a hug. That's because their mom, Cheyenne, serves aboard the aircraft carrier the USS Eisenhower, stationed in the Persian Gulf. "I cry a lot because I miss Mommy," Kaitlyn says.

In Cheyenne's absence, her husband, Ronn, holds down the fort. "I think Christmastime was the toughest time for them because my wife is really big on tradition and Christmas, so they're used to putting the tree up with Mom, doing the shopping," Ronn says. "They didn't want to put up a tree this year. They didn't want to have anything to do with Christmas because Mom wasn't here."

Although Cheyenne is 6,000 miles away, a special program brings her home every time her kids play a DVD. United Through Reading allows military moms and dads to record themselves reading bedtime stories on DVDs and to mail them home.

Ronn says the kids run to the mailbox every day looking for messages from their mommy, which come about every two or three weeks. "When they're having their down days, they can go in and pop in a DVD and there's Mom," Ronn says. "It's not so much just reading the books, but it's the personal feel because she sends a little greeting. She talks to them like she's sitting in front of them and she sends me a message here and there so I don't feel left out."
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FROM: A Cheers to You Extravaganza!
Published on January 01, 2006

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