A Mother’s Day
We were flying into Baghdad in a C-130 at the exact moment Martha Roby’s daughter was in the emergency room in Alabama. Margaret, almost 10, took a bad fall. Her arm was broken in two places.
The break was so severe that they decided to take her to the children’s hospital in Birmingham to put pins in her arm.
“As a mom,” Martha said, “not being there, my heart was broken for my child.”
The thing is, Martha didn’t know what happened until we got back to Kuwait that night:
“My husband called me after she was OK. I had started to think through scenarios of going home right that second. But he reminded me that what we’re doing here is important. Even more than that, it was a reminder to me that our military families go through situations like this all the time, and it’s life-or-death. But they power through and dutifully serve. It was the tiniest of glimpses into their sacrifice, particularly in light of all we’ve been seeing this week about the enemy we’re facing.”
I got a chance to talk to Margaret a little later on. One great thing about my job is getting to know the families. Devin Nunes’s little girls star in one of my videos. And the Roby children, I hear, pray for me before my TV interviews.
Martha represents Alabama’s 2nd District, which includes Maxwell Air Force Base and Fort Rucker. In Congress, she fights for reforms to help workers better balance the demands of life and work. At home, she and Riley have two children, Margaret and George.
On top of all that, for the last four years, Martha has gone to Afghanistan to spend Mother’s Day with our servicemembers and to focus on Afghan women and women’s rights:
“There are places in the world that do not treat women the way they deserve to be treated. There are women who put their lives in danger but do not enjoy the same basic rights, and I think we, as Americans, have an obligation to help and encourage them any way we can.”
On last year’s trip, the third time Martha led the delegation, she returned with high hopes that the Afghan women were becoming more involved and fighting for their place in society. In a joint op-ed, Martha and her colleagues recounted stories of women running for office, reporting in the media, and going to school.
She works tirelessly on this, and like all our mothers, she is somehow tireless.