From Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield to the Marine Corps Air Station in Beaufort, thousands of troops are still deployed in Iraq. Left behind are thousands of wives and some newborns their fathers have never seen. We met one family dealing with the separation.
Joan Shultz says it will be hard because this is the first mother's day she will spend without her husband. But she says she is lucky because she has two men in her life to spend it with, a ten-year-old son and three-month-old son. Dawson Shultz was born February 26, but his father, Spec. Desmond Schultz, has never held his son, because he is in the Middle East as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
So this Mother's Day, Joan will celebrate with her sons Xavier and Dawson and, she says, "sit at home and hope the phone rings to hear happy Mother's Day." It's a very different tradition from what the first three members of the schultz family are used to.
"We stay at home and have a family lunch and go for a drive or something," Joan said.
Dawson will be a new addition to the Mother's Day tradition, and Joan tells us this year she is Super Mom, acting as Dad too.
"Lots of school work, outdoor playing with him, and the basketball, doing stuff on the bicycle," she said.
A sign on the door signifies Daddy is gone, but Mommy does have her little helper. Xavier is always there for her.
"When he comes in the evening, he takes over, so I can prepare a meal or do the laundry," Joan said.
And she thinks he is taking over when it comes to Mother's Day too!
"I think he got me a card, cause we were in the PX and he asked for $5 and I gave it to him and he says, 'Don't look, I'm going to get you something,'" she told us.
Joan says that is enough to keep her smiling this Mother's Day.
Joan also has two of her aunts in town this weekend who met Dawson for the first time earlier this week, but she says it is hard to fill the void of her husband.