The story behind My Mom's Boots
By Airman 1st Class Anabel Del Valle, 325th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published October 22, 2021
TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. --
Of all of the sacrifices that come with being in the military, leaving family behind for deployments, training, and other tasks is one of the most taxing. Many resources are available to help families with tough transitions, with one in particular authored by a military mother here at Tyndall.
In 2017, then Staff Sgt. Gordon, was tasked with a six month deployment to an undisclosed location. She decided to research resources to help explain her upcoming absence to her two and five-year-old children.
“When I went online, I saw tons of children’s books about dad being away because of the military,” said now 1st Lt. Elizabeth Gordon, 325th Operations Support Squadron airfield operations officer. “I was disappointed in the lack of representation of military mothers. It is stereotypical to think that only men are in the military.”
After Gordon returned from her six turned eight and a half month deployment, which was filled with missed holidays and spotty internet connection, she decided to author her book, “My Mom’s Boots.”
“I wanted my kids to have a book about why mommy was gone,” explained Gordon. “Beyond that, I wanted to give other military mothers that option too.”
Gordon teamed up with Katie Logan, a graphic designer and military wife, to bring her book to life, publishing in 2019. During her time as an enlisted military member, Gordon served as an air traffic controller which is something she was sure she was passionate about having illustrated in the book.
“I love having an air traffic controller in the pictures because it allowed my kids to relate the book to me even more,” Gordon said. “My kids love reading it before bed, especially when it was first finished. They would point in the tower and say, ‘Look mommy, there you are!’”
The children’s book, which features illustrations that represent all branches of the military, has sold around 500 copies and can be found in daycare classrooms on base. One of Gordon’s biggest distributors is her daughter, who makes sure to hand the book out whenever she gets the chance.
“The whole project has been rewarding, but the best moment was when I cross-trained and made friends with another Airman in class. She was also a mother so I offered her a book,” Gordon remembered. “My friend looked it over and said, ‘Oh my gosh, I read this book to my kids at night!’”
As the number of women in the military grows, it is important that women are represented to change the narrative that only men serve.
“It is really nice to know I helped military mothers show their children what they do,” said Gordon. “The payoff here is knowing that mothers have one more option, one more resource to help with difficult topics.”