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Anchors Aweigh, Mommy's Underway

A Heartfelt Tale of Courage, Connection, and Overcoming Challenges Through the Eyes of Maya, Daughter of a Navy Sailor

I am proud to say that I have a few family members who have served the country, and I had the wonderful opportunity to look up to them as a little girl growing up. While I was completing my master's program in communication science and disorders in Corpus Christi, Texas, I met a student naval aviator who I fell in love with and am now married to. Meeting him changed my entire life and introduced me to the life of being a military spouse.

I experienced firsthand what active duty service members as well as their families sacrifice and face in order to serve the country. I moved across the country when my husband was stationed in Norfolk, Virginia so we could be together. There, I finished my degree and became a speech-language pathologist. Admittedly, it was difficult moving somewhere I had never been, with no family or friends. Although it was daunting, I knew it also opened many opportunities for me to be able to travel and see many places I never would have seen before and meet new people.

My husband had his first overseas deployment in 2021, and this is what inspired me to write a children's book about the challenges and triumphs military families face, particularly when it comes to separation. At the time of my husband's deployment, we didn't have kids and only had the responsibility of caring for our 2 dogs. But as a pediatric speech-language pathologist in a city that has the world's largest naval station, I worked with many families whose children faced these challenges as well. I admired their resilience and strength and felt like their stories deserve to be told because deployment certainly isn't easy for them.

What ties a family together when Mom is thousands of miles away? This is the reality that many military children experience, and this is a theme seen in my upcoming children's picture book named Anchors Aweigh, Mommy's Underway. Statistics show that at any given time, 225,000 military children have a parent deployed. Along with the stress of having a parent away, military children also face the fear that their parent may also be in a dangerous situation. It is rather easy to see how this can put an immense amount of strain on the family unit, from separation, adjusting to life for the child and the remaining parent, to the reintegration when the deployed parent returns home. Anchors Aweigh, Mommy's Underway conveys that through love and laughter, families can truly overcome any obstacles that come their way. I truly wanted to capture the strength and resilience of the daughters and sons of Navy sailors. That is a message I really hope to convey in sharing this story with families of any background. Military families will find connections between their experiences and the story of Maya and her experience of thriving even when obstacles are thrown her way.

Some say laughter is the best medicine. I am hoping that Anchors Aweigh, Mommy's Underway will be a great read for military families who may be experiencing all the challenges that come with military life - frequent relocating, uncertain schedules, deployments, isolation, etc. Not only does this story tackle these challenges, but it shows how Maya and her father are able to use love and laughter to make the most of Mom's time away.

Above all, Maya's story is one that will instill courage and encourage children to embrace challenges with positive attitudes. Through sharing this story with the world, I strive to remind everyone to think of our troops currently overseas and keep them in our thoughts, as well as contribute to a sense of unity and connection amongst the military community.

Anchors Aweigh, Mommy's Underway will be released on October 10th, 2023, and you can follow me on Instagram @thespeechladyslp for updates along the way!

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