By Reg Chapman

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – During this Christmas season many military families are preparing for the holiday without their loved ones at home.

Two-year-old Liv loves to look through the family photo album for pictures of her dad. 

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Her father, Michael Siegerson, has been gone for three months.

He is serving with the 204th Area Support Medical Company in Egypt.

Liv’s mom, Lisa, said she is old enough now to know about Santa and get excited about Christmas.

She is also old enough to know her dad is not home with her during this special time of the year.

“She actually said the other day that she wants her dad to come home for Christmas, which obviously breaks your heart a little bit,” Lisa Siegerson said.

It’s the first time in six years this couple is apart for the holidays.

“There is absolutely a void with him being gone,” she said, “but with the holidays, it’s been a little more difficult because holidays are such a time of family and togetherness.”

Lisa said she is thankful for her family, who help her keep it all together.

Her mother, Jane, has not left her side since Michael left.

“She keeps me grounded, she keeps me focused,” Lisa said. “I think it would be really hard if I was doing this without her.”

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Lisa said the help is needed, especially with their second baby on the way.

“It’s been stressful,” she said. “Everything comes on my shoulders, with planning for Christmas and then having baby two.”

Baby Evelyn Grace is expected to arrive in March.

Lisa said her connection to organizations that work with military families has helped her cope with it all.

“The military has some really great support channels for military families,” Lisa said.

Without Beyond the Yellow Ribbon and Family Assistance Centers, many families would fall through the cracks when their loved ones are deployed.

It’s support from these organizations and love of those left here with them that make the holidays worth celebrating, even when that special someone is thousands of miles away.

Lisa said technology has helped keep her, Michael and Liv close.

They use Skype whenever he can find wifi in Egypt.

Although she is sad he will not be home for Christmas, she hopes he will be able to return in March, when their daughter is scheduled to arrive.

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Reg Chapman