Happy Birthday to My Daughter … and the War in Iraq

Seven years ago I became a mama-and we went to war.
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Happy Birthday to My Daughter … and the War in Iraq

Seven years ago I became a mama—and we went to war.

-April Daniels Hussar

Iraq War

March 19. On this day in 2003 I held my newborn baby girl in my arms at last. After a night of labor, we had our perfect prize – a beautifully robust and healthy little daughter. And across the ocean, that very same day, my country started a war.

It’s hard to believe that the war has been raging for Isabella’s entire life. I can vaguely remember seeing a New York Times headline the day she was born, but those first few days in the hospital were a fog of bliss and pain and sleeplessness and anxiety and awe. It wasn’t until later that I fully realized what had happened in Iraq. Ironically, those first months of parenthood came to be known in my circle of friends as the “shock and awe” phase. A fellow mother would probably laugh at that. A soldier or an Iraqi citizen, probably not.

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Isabella just a couple of days old; Baking cupcakes for her 7th birthday.

My infant became a little girl. She learned to grasp my finger, to smile, to roll over, to sit up, to crawl, to walk. She learned to babble and say mama and NO and then she learned to speak in sentences and now she can read herself a book. The first day of preschool gave way to kindergarten graduation, and today she’s a great big first-grader who knows how to add and say hello in Spanish and do book reports on mammals and spell “because.”

Throughout all that time, our troops have been in Iraq. That’s how long the people of that country have endured. Can we grasp the magnitude of the bloody and horrifying battles that have been fought and witnessed daily for seven years–far from our eyes, far from our daily lives? It’s so easy for most of us to put it out of our minds.

Seven birthday candles. 5,378 dead U.S. service people. Approximately 100,000 dead Iraqi civilians.

And how many wounded? How many lives destroyed?

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