Maggie Gallagher

A happy story of noble sentiments, patriotic sacrifice and family love, right? Why else would it appear in a magazine called Family Circle?

Yes, it is a story of all these things, but something more, too. It is an ongoing story about the process of convincing women that there are other, more important bonds than the one we have with our babies. Any mother cannot help noticing what a horror story lies at the heart of this patriotic, upbeat narrative.

No, you cannot blame the Army. It is doing its job, based on policies set by civilians. Nor can you blame Melody for following through on her vow to serve her country in time of war.

So I hope the upbeat ending is true -- that Jacob and baby Jonah do not suffer any permanent damage from Mommy's mysterious six-month disappearance. I know the Army, as it persuades young women to sign up and re-enlist, has no clue whether or not this is true. But surely for Jacob and Jonah, a six-month sentence of suffering is more than enough.

Maggie Gallagher

Maggie Gallagher is a nationally syndicated columnist, a leading voice in the new marriage movement and co-author of The Case for Marriage: Why Married People Are Happier, Healthier, and Better Off Financially.