Military families live a unique lifestyle that involves both incredible opportunities as well as numerous sacrifices. When it comes to deployment, we often think of the service member, but forget how those left to hold down the home front, especially the children, are affected.

As I type these words, my husband is deployed to Afghanistan for the second year in a row. Consecutively he has missed birthdays, our anniversary, our sons’ last day of school, and most of their summer break.

Instead, he hears about their day as a spectator, through video chats. By the time he returns, they will have grown so much, he won’t immediately know exactly how to relate to who they have become. Time passes and kids grow so quickly. Any military family who has experienced deployment knows this to be true.

A Book To Help Families Talk About Deployment

Deployment: One of Our Pieces is Missing was written by bestselling author, Julia Cook. I was sent three copies by the National Center for Youth Issues, and will be giving away two copies to two lucky Army Wife 101 readers!

But first, let me tell you why our military family enjoyed the book so much.

In a relatable way, Cook paints the picture by likening the military family to a puzzle. Each member is a piece that interlocks with each other. Before deployment, they all have a role, they understand the inner workings of the family dynamic, and they fit.

But things change.

The parents are a dual-military couple (which I love), and it is the dad who deploys. The book discusses the complex emotions of sadness and anger, and the challenges of the extra workload put on the military family.

Excerpt: “It was my job to feed the dog, and my sister had to mow the lawn. But nobody worked as hard as my mom. She had to be REALLY strong.”

Officially approved by Army brats, Asher (7) and Austin (5).

Why My Mil Fam Liked This Book

  • Jackie, Army wife and mother of two: I really liked that this book didn’t only highlight the challenges, but also acknowledged the wonderful elements of military life. Things like having friends all over the world, learning to adapt, change and grow, and even perks for the kids, such as trying on night vision goggles, was a fun element. My absolute favorite aspect of Deployment: One of Our Pieces is Missing is the accurate portrayal of learning to be a family again once the service member comes home. Spoiler alert: dad doesn’t fit in right away, and the entire family has to learn to function again as a loving, cohesive unit.
  • Asher, 7, Army brat: I like that the book makes being a military kid look cool. Even if we have to move a lot and be the new kid in school, we still get to do things that other kids don’t. I also like how the dog was fed twice when the dad came home because he kept messing up. That was funny.
  • Austin, 5, Army brat: I like the part where they have to stretch the frame so that they can all fit together again because they all grew. This book is good for other military kids so they know how to do a deployment and be happy.

AW101 Giveaway of Deployment: One of Our Pieces Is Missing

If you know just one of the 2 million military children who has been separated from their service member parents because of combat deployments, then we recommend you read this book with them.

The National Military Family Association commissioned a study of military children which revealed that kids who experience the deployment of a parent often show higher levels of stress and anxiety than their civilian friends. Deployment: One of Our Pieces Is Missing is an excellent conversation starter and features tips before and during deployment and during the reintegration process.

Get this book for your military family, or as a gift for a family who could use a little extra support.


To win one of two (2) free copies of Deployment: One of Our Pieces Is Missing, here is what you need to do:

  • Share this article to your Facebook. Simply hit the “Share” button at the top of the article.
  • Tag @ArmyWife101.
  • For an extra entry, tag a friend!

Contest runs June 1, 2018 – June 5, 2018. Winners will be contacted via Facebook on June 6, 2018.

For More Information or to Purchase

To learn more about the book’s author, Julia Cook, M.S., please click here.

Get your copy today! Deployment: One of Our Pieces Is Missing is on sale now, and available for purchase here.



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A self-described “Jackie of All Trades,” former Army wife Jackie Toops enjoys exploring the various facets of her personality by chronicling military life, world travels, family, her love of the arts and more. Her academic background is in the fields of Interdisciplinary Humanities, Museum Studies and Nonprofit Management, and she has overseen public relations for museums, galleries and universities. Jackie’s articles have been featured on Army Wife 101, Wall Street International Magazine, SoFluential, HomeAway, Military Biz Connection and FamiliesGo. While stationed in Germany, she regularly discussed her articles on-air with the Armed Forces Network in Wiesbaden. A mother of two, Jackie enjoys coffee, freelance writing, languages and discovering new ways to express herself. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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