From Chicken Soup for the Military Wife's Soul


An effort made for the happiness of others lifts us above ourselves.

Lydia Marie Child

When my husband deployed, we were given an address where we could mail our letters and packages, but the army initially told us to hold off sending anything until the guys were “settled.” A few weeks into the deployment, the colonel’s wife called me and told me that I could tell the other wives that we had a green light to send mail. After I shared the news, I could practically smell the pencil lead burning through reams of paper all through the Fort Campbell community!

I put together two boxes of mostly snack food. Knowing my husband is a real health nut, I wanted to make sure I was sending stuff that he would eat because he will go without a meal if it is too high in fat and calories. I waited until the girls were up from their naps so everyone would be in good spirits, and we went off to the local post office.

In all my past experiences, I’ve always had to wait in line, and I knew that, with the kids—Hannah is two and a half, and Charlotte is one—it would be interesting. Once I opened the door to the post office, I saw just what I had expected: a long line! I started to panic. Like most moms, I was praying that the girls would stay happy long enough to get to the head of the line so that we could get in and out without some type of tantrum.

Most of the people in line were military wives holding boxes addressed to APO addresses. Most boxes were decorated with stickers and children’s artwork.

Instantly, I got a lump in my throat. The man at the counter yelled, “If you’re mailing something APO, don’t forget your customs form!” The group started to scramble for the necessary forms. I was the only one in the group who had brought children, and, as I said, you have to be brave to take your kids to the post office when you are guaranteed a wait.

When I heard about the customs form that had to be filled out, my face must have shown my stress. I was holding two huge boxes, trying to keep the girls entertained, and looking around frantically for the necessary forms, when my angel appeared.

A very distinguished older gentleman in a three-piece suit came up to me and said in a very kind voice, “Would you like me to hold your baby so you can fill out your forms?”

I looked him over and said, “You must be a grandpa. That would be so helpful, but my Charlotte won’t really let anyone hold her. We can give it a shot. . . .” I handed Charlotte over, and she was actually very content! While he held her in his arms, he took the American flag pin off his lapel and put it on her coat.

As I busied myself with the paperwork, he spoke to both my girls: “Your daddy is very brave to be a soldier, and all of us here sure do appreciate him leaving you two beauties to take care of us.”

I finished filling out my forms, and, when I took Charlotte back, before I had a chance to thank him, he said, “God bless you and your family. Thank you for making the tremendous sacrifices that you do to ensure all our safety, and God bless America.”

After that, he left the post office. Tears welled up in my eyes. Not many people thank me for anything, let alone help a single mommy in a situation like that.

Being in the post office with a bunch of women all holding onto their packages for their loved ones is something that I will never forget.

Naomi Stanton

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