War in Afghanistan splits Brownsville family

The withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq is believed to be one of the largest removal jobs in history.

Almost all remaining forces are set to leave Iraq by the end of this year.

While efforts are being made to hand over power in Afghanistan, it's still unclear when U.S. troops will leave that country.

The effects of the war in Afghanistan are being felt in Brownsville.

That's where Action 4 News found Nelda Atkinson.

Atkinson is a grandma.

Her role is more like that of a mom ever since her daughter went to war.

"She was on maternity leave, said Atkinson about her daughter. They cut that short, and they told her she had to deploy."

Sergeant Roxxanne Valdez is fighting in Afghanistan.

She deployed in February just two months after giving birth to a son, Digiovani.

With weeks before departure and with Digiovani in tow, Sgt. Valdez rushed from Germany to Brownsville, Texas.

"It's the worst thing that you can ever imagine, said Atkinson. It's horrible for her in the sense that she has to come and just drop off the baby and leave."

Atkinson works a full-time job.

She's now a full-time mom as well.

I have no free time anymore, said Atkinson.

The free time Atkinson manages to find is spent posting pictures of Digiovani to Facebook.

She must also be ready to get on Skype at a moment TMs notice.

Atkinson said she never knows when Digiovani's parents will get time to talk.

"They've seen (Digiovani) grow up through Skype| through pictures, said Atkinson. People ask why my Facebook is just plastered with pictures, but it comes down to them."

It's through pictures Digiovani has come to know his parents.

Atkinson hopes Digiovani will see his mom in person for Christmas.

She's unsure if that will happen.

She TMs even more unsure when her daughter will be home for good.

Atkinson said once her daughter comes back to the U.S., her daughter will likely take Digiovani to an army base.

Atkinson said she'll then begin a war of her own, fighting separation from the grandbaby she's come to know as her son.

I believe that when he leaves, that TMs going to destroy me, said Atkinson.