GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Imagine being 22 years old, pregnant, and your husband is thousands of miles away. A lot of military wives don't have to imagine that scenario; they live it every day.
On our Project Homefront, we recently met Tamara Weiss. Her husband is a Gulfport Seabee, and like so many military folks, this family certainly understands the challenges of dealing with deployments.
"It was rough. I had a lot of problems with my pregnancy, and he was not here for it," Tamara said.
Tamara said back in the spring of 2010, she was pregnant with the couple's first child. Her husband, Robert, was able to come home for the delivery, but a week later it was back to his duty with the Seabees.
Leaving his wife and newborn son was not easy. On his way back to Guam, he called Tamara. For the first time, she heard her husband break down in tears.
"It hurt; I felt bad," she said. "I did not know what to say to him. I did not know how to make him feel better."
Four months later, Robert's deployment was over, so he spent the next year at home with his Tamara and RJ.
"It went by too fast. It was like we blinked, and it was time for him to leave again. As much as we enjoyed every minute we had together, it never seems like it is enough," Tamara said.
This time, Robert, with his fellow Seabees, is in a very dangerous place. Before he left that day, he had to say goodbye to his little boy.
"My husband went upstairs to put him to bed. And I went up there, and he was just crying. The hardest thing he has ever had to do was leave his son," Tamara said, while fighting back tears herself.
"Our son, RJ just does not understand, so when he woke up the next day, Daddy was gone. And he did not know why."
It's the kind of life thousands of military families endure every day. But when you're 16 months, it's hard to understand why your daddy is never home.
"I tell RJ every day, 'Daddy is in your heart, and Daddy loves you,'" Tamara said.
Robert will miss his little boy's second birthday, and he won't be there when RJ opens his Christmas gifts.
But next spring, he will be home. Tamara expects this homecoming, to be just as good as the first one.
"When we saw the buses, I started crying. It was the only thing that I could do, and when he stepped off the bus, you can't even speak."
Tamara and Robert know there will be many deployments still to come. But as difficult as that is for this young family, Tamara told us, it's okay.
"I am very proud of my husband, and I feel like, the least I can do is support my husband. And I will do it in whatever way possible that I have to, I love being a Seabee wife. "
Tamara also expects her husband Robert will make a career with the Seabees.