I re­ally miss my kids’ hugs

The Daily Telegraph (Sydney) - Best Weekend - - MODERN LIVING -

WAR­RANT OF­FI­CER JODI PECK

THE Mid­dle East is a long way from the place Jodi Peck calls home in Aus­tralia and a mil­lion miles from her two chil­dren.

But it is her home for now, while her chil­dren are in Point Cook, near Mel­bourne. “It’s the lit­tle things I miss the most,” Peck says. “I miss the hugs more than any­thing in the world. I know they’re safe and be­ing well looked af­ter but the fact is, their mum isn’t there to give them a hug.”

The only time Peck’s cheer­ful man­ner stum­bles is when she is talk­ing about miss­ing those hugs with Tahlia, 17, and Lo­gan, 16, while she is serv­ing with the Royal Aus­tralian Air Force at a base near Dubai on Op­er­a­tion Ac­cor­dion.

She has been there six months and is count­ing down the days to com­ing home. She takes com­fort in know­ing she will be home in time to help her daugh­ter through Year 12 ex­ams this year.

In the mean­time, the chil­dren are be­ing cared for by a friend who moved from Can­berra to Point Cook for the du­ra­tion of Peck’s de­ploy­ment, leav­ing her own hus­band at home.

“This is why I say that the RAAF is re­ally my fam­ily too,” Peck says. “For me to come away on de­ploy­ment means I get a lot of sup­port from my work fam­ily, which in­cludes the prin­ci­pals of the chil­dren’s schools and all of their teach­ers. I don’t know many other em­ploy­ers who would give me the amount of sup­port that the RAAF has, and where else would you find a friend who was will­ing to sep­a­rate from her hus­band for seven months to re­lo­cate and look af­ter my kids.”

Adding to the chal­lenges, Peck, 42, is a sin­gle mum who has been di­vorced for nine years. She has an am­i­ca­ble re­la­tion­ship with her ex-hus­band, who looked af­ter the chil­dren last Christ­mas while she was away. Peck’s de­ploy­ment came out of the blue a and ds she e had ad to d dis­cuss scuss it tw witht here c chil­dren.d The only ob­jec­tion Lo­gan rais raised was that he wouldn’t agree to her be­ing posted to a w war zone. As a re­sult, sh she is in a safer re­gion at a large supp sup­port base sha shared by US and

Au Aussie forces.

R Royal Aus­tralian A Air Force War­rant Of­fi­cer Jodi Peck w with her chil­dren L Lo­gan, left, and T Tahlia.

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