A Balancing Act

November 3, 2015

At age 11, the world can be an exciting place with a new adventure waiting around almost every corner. It is a time to make friends, enjoy family vacations, learn and experience something new almost every day. However, when the child of a soldier learns that his father is being deployed, that simple, fun-filled life changes and he must face new realities. When Madisyn’s father told his family he was going to deploy with the Army National Guard, Madisyn and her siblings were unaware of the impact deployment was going to have on the everyday life of their family. They soon learned that deployment meant living in a single parent house with all the challenges that come with it. With four kids to care for on her own, Madisyn’s mother, Lindsay, reached out to Our Military Kids. Kaelyn and Brooklyn, 8 year-old twins, received grants- one for dance and the other for figure skating. The youngest child, Greyson, started soccer and swim lessons. Madisyn received a grant to continue her passion for gymnastics. As a virtual single parent, Lindsay often struggled to be in four different places at once to transport her children to and from their activities. Prior to deployment, she and her husband had shared responsibilities involving the children. In a single parent household, time, energy, and money were all stretched thin. Fortunately, the four Our Military Kids’ grants helped to alleviate some of the financial burden of keeping the kids active.Oldenburg3 During the year of deployment, Madisyn started middle school, joined choir, and continued with gymnastics. Madisyn was upset that her father was missing so many important events and milestones, but according to Lindsay, “Gymnastics was her go-to. Madisyn is carefree at the gym. Madisyn “eats, sleeps and breathes gymnastics. The family has a balance beam in the basement and a trampoline in the back yard to supplement her four to five nights a week at the gym during the competition season   All members of the family are involved by cheering each other on. Whether it is Kaelyn’s dance recitals, Brooklyn’s figure skating programs or Madisyn’s gymnastics competitions, mother, brother and sisters are there to cheer and support each other. In an effort to keep her husband involved, Lindsay makes sure to FaceTime and regularly share pictures from meets, concerts and the many other activities the kids are engaged in. The grant awards allow all the kids to share something positive with their father each week.   Madisyn has competed in gymnastics for two years and has won countless ribbons and awards. In 2014, Madisyn placed 3rd all around at the AAU Junior Olympics in Des Moines, Iowa. This year she placed 10th at the MAGA Gymnastics Divisional Meet (which was her first meet back after a broken arm.) That win qualified her to compete this year in the Junior Olympics in Virginia Beach! Madisyn’s father is home now, cheering on all his children. His first weekend back Madisyn had a gymnastics meet and Brooklyn had a figure skating show. The entire family spent time bonding in the bleachers dining on food from the concession stand. Lindsay shared, “They (ALL four children) were so excited that Luke was back and cheering them on again!” The grants allowed the family to come together around activities that better the children’s lives. After the deployment, the activities funded by the grants helped the family to reconnect and bond.Oldenburg1