Superheroes present themselves in all shapes and sizes but sometimes a true hero is not the one fighting for a cause but the unseen person in the background.
April is the Month of the Military Child, when children are recognized for the challenges they face and sacrifices they make as their parents serve in the military.
Isaiah Garcia, the son of Warrant Officer Yvonne Ralph, a human resources technician with 1st “Ironhorse” Brigade Combat Team, 1st Cavalry Division, is a well-mannered 10-year-old whose favorite color is blue. He likes to eat Hot Cheetos and enjoys playing basketball, kickball and soccer.
Isaiah is to be an average kid who wants a laser tag birthday party, but also has moved four times in his mother’s more than seven years of service. He also spent 15 months separated from his mom during her deployment to Iraq.
“(Isaiah) said, ‘You’re always leaving me mommy, why can’t you stay?’” Ralph said, describing their goodbye at the airport when she left for Iraq. “That was the hardest part. That was the worst (plane ride) ever. I cried the whole time.”
When his mother is away, Isaiah does his best to assist his aunt, Misty Adams, with household chores and the care of his 3-year-old special needs sister, Samiya Ralph. They keep in contact with Ralph via telephone, Skype and email during her absence for training and deployments.
Ralph said Isaiah experiences difficulties adjusting to new people and has not always gotten along with children from nonmilitary families who don’t seem to understand why he is upset or why he misses his mother.
Isaiah said he does not necessarily feel different from children in nonmilitary families, but he has had different experiences.
Ralph said she believes over the past year they have become closer since they haven’t been separated because of military schools or training events.
“He’s getting older so he doesn’t really let me hold his hand, but he let me hold his hand last weekend when we went on a date to Red Lobster,” Ralph said.