COPPERAS COVE - For many families with soldiers deployed, the Christmas and holiday season can be difficult to celebrate without their loved ones.
Chaplain Major Charles Lowman has been deployed to Afghanistan for 12 months, while his wife, Heather, and their four children live at Fort Hood.
It's Major Lowman's third combat deployment and fourth deployment total. This is his fifth Christmas away from his family during his 11 years of active duty service.
"My youngest is the one who he'll say every now and then, 'when's daddy coming home?'," said Heather.
12-year-old Elliott Lowman misses playing video games with his dad and spending time with him on long road trips. Elliot knows his dad is in some dangerous places and prays for him alongside his mom.
"I'm just thankful that he's surviving, that he's being protected," Elliott said.
Elliott is the eldest of the 4 children. His siblings are Lydia, Emmett and Lukas.
As a deployed soldier, Lowman has tried to make the most of his opportunities while overseas.
"At some point I quit counting," Major Lowman said. "I quit counting birthdays and I quit counting holidays. It got kind of depressing if you sat there and counted them all, counted all of them, so we just try and do our best and make it memorable for the kids."
And while dad is away, it can mean something a little different for each family member back home.
"My mom isn't as 'engineer-y' and stuff like that and 'science-y' as my dad. My dad isn't as much help around the housey as my mom," said Elliott.
But, it also means extra responsibilities for the Elliott.
"Vacuum, poop scoop, feeding, giving water to the dogs, dishes, cleaning and setting the table," he listed off.
"I try not to put too much pressure on them, especially my oldest son," said Major Lowman. "We don't have the thing 'you're the man of the house'. We don't put that pressure on him, but I definitely have had the conversation that (the children) need to step up their game."
Heather said it's a challenge as the wife of a chaplain because many soldiers' families look to her for faith and guidance when their soldiers deploy, some pouring their hearts out to her.
"As I'm building friendships, people open up to me probably because I am the Chaplain's wife," she said.
Heather said her biggest ministry is praying for the wives. Faith has played a large role in world's of Heather and her husband, especially during the long deployments from across the world.
Heather said she finds ways to video chat her husband into daily activities with the kids to help him feel like he's there, and Major Lowman will be there with his family through the screen to experience some Christmas memories, too.
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