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Living With Grandpa and Grandma

It's tough enough when children have to say goodbye to one parent leaving for military service in the Middle East.

But with some 36,000 single parents in the Army, many children are being left home alone when parents go to war.

CBS News Correspondent Tracy Smith reports that it is faith that many of these families ar relying on to get them through these war-torn-times. It's a comfort, even to 7-year-old Kia.

She prays, "God, please help my mom be safe and let her come home to take care of me, where we can have a lot of fun."

Kia's Mom, Misty, a clerk with the Army and a single parent, left Fort Benning, Ga, for Kuwait, in January. Now, the highlight of Kia's day is getting a letter from her.

"I can not wait to hold you in my arms again," Kia reads. "I hope that you miss me, too. Here goes a kiss on your nose."

Until Kia can receive those kisses in person again, she's living with her grandparents, Thomas and Henrietta Barber.

What's it like for them to take care of a 7 year-old, fulltime?

Her grandfather says, "She's very active, very active! You think she's on the bike this minute ... she's on the trampoline; she's on the swing set."

The Barbers say Kia is a welcome handful and they're adapting to her lively routine.

"She's real sweet," says her grandmother, "until I have to do her hair. That's my only problem, her hair."

Grandfather Barber says Kia is very independent. "She wants to pick out her own clothes. And she wants her hair a certain way and that's the way she want it."

His wife agrees. Henrietta Barber says, "When Grandma wants to put it this way, she gets mad!"

Kia says, "She put it too high, really, really tight."

It's hard for these loving grandparents to play the role of disciplinarian.

Thankfully, Kia gives them plenty of reason to spoil her. She recently made the honor role, and was rewarded with new shoes.

"All A's," Kia says of her grades.

But not a day goes by that the Barbers aren't aware of the incredible responsibility they have in keeping Kia sheltered from the realities of war.

"She'll say, 'Is momma shootin' a gun?'" Henrietta Barber says.

Thomas Barber adds Kia will ask all sorts of questions when she sits with him to watch TV. "Is that where mom is? Is that the unit that Mom's with? And you know, basic questions like that," he says.

"I don't like that she over there at all," Henrietta Barber says. "I miss my baby so much."

Thomas Barber says it is "A little rough for me. I try not to let her see me worry."

For now, worry seems to be the farthest thing from Kia's mind and her mother, thousand miles away, can rest a little easier, knowing this is the picture of life at home.

Thomas Barber says his daughter, Misty, "can do her job and not worry about Kia back here, because she knows she's well taken care of and loved."

The Barbers say Kia has written her mother a letter every single day since she left. And when she steps off the school bus each afternoon, the first thing she does is check the mailbox.

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