March 10, 2011

Deployed Military Dad Reads to His Kids

This is SEABURY READS' first guest post!

Wendy Corden Anderson graduated from Seabury and is now the wife of Ryan, who's a Chief aboard the USS Paul Hamilton. Wendy and Ryan are the parents of Cianna, age 5, and Ty, age 3. Reading is an integral part of their family.

I started video taping Ryan six years ago when I was pregnant with Cianna. He was out to sea a lot during my pregnancy and I knew he'd be leaving for 6 months when she was just about 3 months old. I wanted Cianna to hear her daddy's voice while I was pregnant like she did mine since I read a book aloud everyday when I was pregnant, to both my babies. I wanted the babies to hear Ryan's voice too, so I'd play the video of him reading every day so Cianna and Ryan would both be familiar with his voice too when they were born.

Well, when Ryan was gone for Cianna's first year (for Ty right now as well) I didn't want them to forget about their daddy. So I had Ryan read books aloud while I video taped (with my camera, the video camera, even my cell phone). Every night while Ryan is away, my kids get to watch a video of their daddy reading them their bedtime story.

The ship has a reading program also. Ryan has a very large book with him that contains 50 greatest children's stories, and the ship will periodically offer personnel a quiet room to sit and read. They video tape it and send the videos home for us to watch.

It works so well, because Ryan is a part of our everyday life, even though he's gone. I feel it even helps with the transition when he comes home. While other babies screamed and cried upon seeing this strange man coming home, Cianna was so happy, because to her Ryan was as big a star on TV as Barney. lol

This year, as we were doing all of our videos, I found a website called They provide e-books that flip along as a recording of someone reading the book plays. So now, no matter where we go, we can get to "Daddy Books" as we call them. . . Even in a busy grocery store, I can pull up a Daddy Book on my phone and Ryan reads Cianna and Ty a book, while I shop.

Deployments are very long and tough, and this is one way we "see" and "hear" Daddy everyday.