Military mom recognized for Mother's Day 2014

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Tiffany M. Grigg
  • 23d Wing Public Affairs

In our society, strong emphasis is placed on the importance of capturing every 'first' your child has. First word, first walk, first birthday and so on. With the help of technology, our military families are able to capture such moments to re-experience continuously, or in some cases, for the first time, if one parent was unable to witness the 'first', firsthand due to deployment or other military obligations.

However, for military mom, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Amanda Griggs, 23d Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion craftsman, there are just some things that can't be supplemented with video footage.

"I was deployed for just over six months to Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan, when my son [Korbin] was 18 months old," said Amanda Griggs. "The experience of being separated from my family during a critical point in my son's development really hits me when talking about it. It felt like as soon as I left he started picking up on his ABCs, counting and communicating more and that's what I will always remember missing."

Aside from missing his developmental 'firsts', Amanda Griggs also missed out on a few of Korbin's first experiences.

"I missed his first Easter egg hunt and watching his face light up while fireworks [went] off on the Fourth of July," said Amanda Griggs. "... and I missed Korbin's second birthday."
Although she missed so many precious moments with her son, Amanda Griggs cherishes the moment she returned to her family from Afghanistan.

"Stepping off that plane was emotional, exhilarating and exciting," said Amanda Griggs. "I just picked the middle [of the crowd] to start walking toward and as I got closer, there they were. I could see my husband, Aaron, standing tall holding Korbin above everyone else. Aaron pointed at me for Korbin to see, set him on the ground and Korbin came running at me like a little future linebacker!"

After six months of only seeing her family via computer, Amanda Griggs was finally able to embrace her son Korbin.

"I was so nervous about how my son would react to seeing me in person instead of a computer screen," said Amanda Griggs. "All I wanted was for my son to recognize me as Mommy and to not be afraid to let me hold him. [So when] he took hold of me, with no fears or reservations, I cried. When I looked him in the eyes, all I could see was his face, he looked like me, like his dad, but he looked like my baby, just way bigger! He was taller, more agile, articulate and he told me 'Don't cry, Mommy', with the sweetest, most sincere smile. I was mesmerized by everything about him; it was the most amazing feeling in the world next to the day he was born."

To ease Amanda Griggs fears of her son not remembering her, her husband, U.S. Air Force Staff Sgt. Michael Griggs, 23d Component Maintenance Squadron aerospace propulsion craftsman, kept Korbin connected to his mother during her deployment as much as possible over the internet.

"We utilized any avenues we had to [stay connected] so [my wife] could see what he was learning," said Michael Griggs. "I wanted her to be a part of his life as much as possible while she was gone and also so he would still recognize her when she got home."
Having experienced the difficulty of being apart from her child, Amanda Griggs has a few words of advice to her fellow active duty moms.

"Don't try to do everything at once", said Amanda Griggs. "Figure out what is most important to you and your family. It can be very overwhelming trying to keep track of everything you're doing at work and [making time] to play with your kid. Try to find balance."

Noticing his wife's dedication to the Air Force and her family, Michael Griggs nominated his wife to be highlighted for her efforts as a military mom in honor of Mothers Day 2014.

"She does an excellent job at being able to do both, [being in the military and being a mother]," said Michael Griggs. "She has a time-consuming job that can easily cause her to stay late and then she comes home and takes care of the rest of us. [Additionally] she has a baby on the way, so I know that has to be hard to do all those things at one time. She's an excellent wife and mother."

Amanda Griggs is currently 24 weeks pregnant with their second son and both her and her husband plan to keep serving in the Air Force.