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Spouses sacrifice on the homefront
(Right to left) Jason, Tara and daughter Lennon Lange - photo by Submitted Photo

This Mother’s Day, Tara Lange will be celebrated not just as the mother of two young children, but also as one of the millions of military spouses holding down the household while their loved one is deployed.

This is the first deployment for Tara and Jason, a Naval Petty Officer. The couple, who are both in their 30s, have a 3-year-old daughter Lennon, and 2-month-old son Roman.

Neither had grown up in a military family, so the Langes are learning about all the adjustments and toll military life can take on a family.

Tara said she had always thought of the sacrifice of the military person being deployed and the hardships they had to endure. She had never thought about the perspective of the family or spouse left at home. 

“I think this deployment has opened my eyes a lot. I think one of the things I wasn’t anticipating was the amount of work and sacrifice the spouse left behind has to go through.”

She said, “It’s a lot of sacrifice and a lot of accommodating to different types of communication and not knowing when the next time will be when you talk.” She’s also learned to handle the paper work, power of attorney issues, renting, handling transportation, packing, moving and more on her own.

One of the things she’s found is she has to be more deliberate and plan for the times they do talk via Skype or email. “You have to pick your conversation topics and not burden them but also make them feel like they’re a part of the family, too.”

Jason, Salem Class of 1997, had previously been an insurance salesman. But two years ago, as the economy stagnated and housing market tanked, he enlisted in the Navy to find a more financially secure path for his family.

Tara was not happy about the idea initially, because of the extended absences it would mean. Seven months deployment followed by 14 months at home. 

“I was kind of upset about it,” said the Eagles Landing High 1999 graduate. “But we talked about it a lot and did a lot of praying…  It turned out well.”

“I feel like he feels proud of who he’s become and I’m proud of what he’s accomplished as well.” Jason was recently promoted to Petty Officer.

Meanwhile, Tara, now a stay-at-home mom, will be pursing her master’s degree for counseling. “It’s something that I wanted to do but never had the determination to go for… I figured that now that I’m not working and home more, it’d be a good time to do that.”

The couple will reside in the Hampton Roads, Va. area when he returns in June, but for now, Tara and the children are living in Conyers where she and Jason have an extended network of family and friends.

This Friday was also Military Spouse Appreciation Day, recognizing the fact that it’s the whole family that enlists when one joins the military.

Her advice to military spouses? “I know a lot of the military spouses are younger and new moms. I want to encourage them, stick it out and make it work and work on yourself as a person when they’re away.”