NEW BERN, N.C. (WITN) - They say being a spouse of a service member is the toughest job in the military and many in our local military communities would probably agree.
But the story of WITN's April Mom of the Month is about the wife of a Marine who went well beyond her call of duty.
"I worked at a daycare," says Celeste Rogers, WITN's Mom of the Month. "I know you're not supposed to have favorites, but he was mine."
She called Ayden "her kid" pretty much from the moment she met him.
At the time, he was just six months old attending a daycare on base at Cherry Point.
"I fell for Ayden first," she explains. "That was a special bond before I even met his dad."
Her love for this little boy would eventually turn into love for his single father, Daniel, a staff sergeant with the Marine Corps.
He says it didn't take him long to realize she was the woman he was meant to marry.
"From day one, she's taken him in as her own and raised him as a mother would, I mean, she is his mother," Daniel says.
Now Ayden is six and their troop has added two more members. Younger brother Jameson is three and little Izabella is a year old.
"6, 3, and 1, we've been busy," Celeste says.
Busy making sure they treasure every story time, every hug, and every kiss, because not every day is spent together.
"They say that's the hardest job in the military is being a spouse of a Marine and I totally agree with that," her husband says. "Whether it's me going on training exercises or deployments or workups, working long hours."
"It has its daily struggles being alone for a lot of it," Celeste tells WITN.
Including Izabella's birth, where Daniel watched through a phone while deployed to Bahrain.
Celeste knows that was hard for him to miss that milestone. "That's got to hurt being so far away."
About a year ago, their family was finally reunited when Izabella was around 4-months-old, but a phone call would put them on a new mission.
"Someone very close to our family had a baby, and that baby was born sick," Celeste explains, saying Social Services was asking if their family would take in the infant boy who was born addicted.
"My son looks at me and says, 'Does he have a swing set?' and I was like, 'No, buddy, he doesn't have anything,'" she says. "Me telling him that this baby, at the time, doesn't have anything, it's like, you know, we need to help him out. He needs a strong family and we're a strong family."
So with three kids of their own, including an infant, Celeste and Daniel take him in.
"It's hard with two infants," Daniel says. "For the mothers with twins, I don't know how they do it."
For four to five months that little baby stayed with them, growing stronger each day until he could be placed with permanent family members.
Now Daniel says he's a healthy little boy, all thanks to one amazing mother who puts each one of her healthy kids to sleep with their own bedtime song.
Each Mom of the Month is awarded $250 from the Ricci Law Firm and a new mom is announced every third Monday of the month.
If you have a special mother in your life, send your nomination letter to email@example.com.