It's all on them now: the kids, the house — a full year's worth of worry. Tara Crooks knows firsthand how they feel.
"You're listening to Army Wife talk radio, the Internet's talk radio program for and by Army wives. My name is Tara Crooks, and I'm your host," she says on her program.
Crooks just talks, one Army wife to another.
"I know you guys are in the same shoes I'm in," she says on the radio.
To her Internet audience, thousands of Army wives, Crooks is both a friend and an adviser. She's part Oprah, part Dear Abby.
She talks about relationships, parenting problems and navigating the military system. Crooks knows all about it: Once again, she's been left behind, too.
Capt. Kevin Crooks, Tara's husband, headed back to Iraq last month. Their 5-year-old, Wrena, will go another year without Daddy.
"Everyone says 'Oh, this is your third deployment. You should be used to this.' You never get used to this, and every deployment gets harder," Tara explains.
Deployment is a shared sacrifice. Spouses are left behind with their loneliness and fears — knowing they'll have to go it alone with every family drama.
Crooks herself is pregnant, due in August. And she's scared.
"I love the Army. I love what we do. But that doesn't mean I have to love that my husband is gone," she says.
She's used to giving advice. Now Crooks is the one looking for it.
"Now I'm asking, 'hey you got to help me out,'" she says on radio.
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