Nightly News | December 14, 2011
BRIAN WILLIAMS, anchor: As we watch the scenes of Americans coming home from military duty overseas, many of those pictures show dad returning. Of course that's far from the whole picture. A lot of women are coming home to dads who've been holding down the fort while they've been gone. Our report tonight from NBC 's Mark Potter .
Mr. TIM BLAKE: Good morning!
MARK POTTER reporting: At a home in Fort Bragg , North Carolina , it's the start of another busy day.
Mr. BLAKE: Up and at 'em. Get a move on .
POTTER: As stay at home dad Tim Blake wakes his four kids.
Mr. BLAKE: Going to get breakfast out. Make sure you wear a coat today, OK?
POTTER: And gets them ready for school.
Mr. BLAKE: All right. Did everybody get their homework packed up yesterday?
POTTER: Blake is a former high school teacher and football coach married to Army Lieutenant Colonel Devon Blake , who in two and a half years has been deployed to Afghanistan and Kuwait three times.
Mr. BLAKE: You're thinking, 'Oh, I love this person , they're wonderful.' And that's all you think about. And then they're gone and you're like, 'What?' You don't -- you don't know how to deal with that.
POTTER: Blake says raising kids alone is hard but is made somewhat easier by their resilience.
Mr. BLAKE: It's amazing to me to watch my kids thrive. To see them thriving during this time and not just holding their own during a deployment.
POTTER: To make it work, Blake and the kids have a steady routine.
Unidentified Child: "And made cupcakes."
POTTER: Including private time with dad and doing chores, just like when mom is home. On base, Blake is a rare stay-at-home father and jokes he fits right in with the wives.
Mr. BLAKE: I'm just one of the girls . You know, I coupon. I cut them out. I go shopping. I do all those things.
POTTER: He also writes a popular blog about military spouses and the importance of taking time for the family to readjust when the deployed parent returns.
Mr. BLAKE: You've both changed and so the person who's coming home to you is a different person than who left. That's mommy's plane right there, you guys.
POTTER: But when the homecoming finally occurs, as it did this week...
Lieutenant Colonel DEVON BLAKE: Hi. Hello, you guys.
POTTER: ...all that is forgotten for a while.
Lt. Col. BLAKE: It's a huge blessing that they've been so supportive obviously and couldn't do without them and get through it without them.
POTTER: The end of a deployment, where every member of a military family serves their country. Mark Potter , NBC News, Charlotte, North Carolina .