Nov 10, 2010 10:35 AM by Hoyt Harris
When Christian Primeaux played football for the Sunset Redskins the other day, his mom, Melissa, was in the stands. But his dad, Chad, was on the other side of the world serving our country in Iraq.
Yellow ribbons in the family's yard and a big banner on the house are constant reminders that this family loves their soldier and are counting the days in great anticipation of his return, likely before the end of the year.
Ever since high school 22 years ago, Chad Primeaux has been a member of the National Guard. Despite being half a world apart, today's soldier family can come face-to-face with their hero.
Internet services like Skype make a "family visit" in cyberspace not only possible but almost a daily ritual.
The best part? It's free, unlike when Chad was stationed in Korea in pre-Internet days.
Speaking to his family via Skype from Iraq, Chad says, "I had a $600 phone bill every month back then. Now I don't pay anything," he says. "I just call."
What's it like for Chad Primeaux to be in Iraq, so far from his family?
Well, for one thing he's staying in shape. When he misses them, he hits the gym and has lost 40 pounds.
"It's keeping me 13 hours at work," he says. "When I get a chance I just go and exercise. Try to keep my mind off of it."
Chad says his commitment to Uncle Sam keeps him overseas. But he's quit to acknowledge that it's hard being away.
"Just not being able to be there, ya know?" he says. "Help the wife go to the football games," and, he adds kiddingly, "beat the kids," but quickly corrects it to "I mean raise the kids."
But unlike soldiers of wars past, Chad knows he and his family are lucky.
"It allows me to at least see the family. They can see me," he says. "Sometimes I think it's a little more important for them to see me. I guess they worry and everything else with me not being around."
And what does 11-year-old Christian miss most about his Dad being so far from home?
"Just seeing him here, relaxin'," he says.
Christian obviously misses his father, but steeling himself against tears, he proudly states what he thinks about his Dad being a soldier.
"I like him being a soldier," Christian says, "because he serves for our country."
With Dad overseas, it means Mom Melissa carries a larger load at home. But until Chad comes home something before the end of the year, Melissa Primeaux knows she, too, is serving the country.
And before she's off to attend Christian's football game, she looks into the compter camera and says to her husband in Baghdad, "Baby, I'll send you a message after the game and let you know what's going on and see if you're still up."