Childhood Favorites Help College Kids and Mom Cope Through Long Deployment

August 26, 2020

For Madison Eggert-Crowe, her college experience included the normal trips home on the weekends to visit family, do laundry, and get a taste of home. During her senior year, however, those trips home included something not all that normal — regular Skype calls with her mom, Brigadier General Carol Eggert (Ret.), then on a 15-month deployment to Iraq.

This was the family’s first deployment experience, though there had been plenty of other separations due to their mom’s military service. On Sundays, Madison and her brother Colin would sit and connect with their mom from their home in Pennsylvania and mom’s base in Iraq.

On one of those trips home, Madison arrived home to a package all the way from Iraq. Inside was a DVD and beloved books from when they were little kids — Teddy Bear Picnic, Love You Forever, and Goodnight Moon — books that were staples during their bedtime routine with their mom growing up.

The DVD was a United Through Reading recording of BG Eggert. She made the recordings near the end of a long, difficult deployment, offering support to both mom and her kids.

“You could sit down and focus on something else,” said BG Eggert of her UTR recording experience. “What a great opportunity, it was meaningful.” 

The Eggert-Crowe family read aloud together even through the kids’ middle school years, so watching stories together as young adults brought comfort to the kids. The United Through Reading video-recorded stories took them back to the days of storytime together, creating that common connection. And despite feeling like the recordings may seem “hokey” to her adult children, they were much more. 

“Hearing your mom read a book is a different human connection, it transports you back to being a kid,” Madison said. “I wanted that connection. I remember watching it and being so anxious for that long 15 months to be over. (The UTR recordings) were comforting because it was so familiar.”

The family recently pulled the recordings out again and watched them together. They brought back memories of that time, and they look forward to watching them over the years. One day,  Madison and her siblings will watch them with the next generation to share the story of BG Eggert’s service to her country and the recordings she made for her children while she was deployed to stay connected.