Bree Jaxson didn't want to answer the phone.
The mother of two was approaching one year of deployment at the Mexican border, working as a Director of Operations for Operation Lone Star. And at the end of one particularly long day, she knew that her 7-year-old daughter Addison was calling again to beg her to come home.
"I just lost it," Jaxson, who serves as a Deputy Commander and Captain for Cyberspace Operations in the U.S. Air National Guard when not on deployment, tells PEOPLE. "I just broke down. She was crying and I was crying, and you know, it was just one of those days."
Justin Hammond Bree Jaxson
Certainly, the military member and country music singer-songwriter had long talked to Addison and her brother Jaxson, 9, about how they could always call her when they felt sad, and she would always be there to comfort them the best she could. But when the distance between them tops 1,000 miles, that can certainly be difficult. "I have always told them that I am with you, even if I can't physically be there," says Jaxson, 32.
And after she hung up the phone, she wrote those exact words down, and created the emotional ballad "With You," which PEOPLE is premiering exclusively.
Bree Jaxson Bree Jaxson and Kids
"I really wrote it for them," she says. "I almost didn't release it because I just wanted it to be something for them. But then I thought of all my friends who are in the service and anyone else that must be away from their children for work or for whatever reason."
Born and raised in Baltimore, Jaxson says she'd envisioned a life in the military since she was a teen, especially during some dark years where she knew she needed the foundation a career in the armed forces could provide.
"I was in the ROTC in high school, and the mentors that I had there were amazing," says Jaxson, who now lives in Nashville when she'snot deployed. "They basically helped me through my entire teenage years. I knew, after that, that I wanted to give back."
"With You" Cover Art.
And give back she did. Jaxson entered the military shortly after high school and has now served as a Captain in the Air Force for a decade.
"This is a great country and I think a lot of people take it for granted sometimes," says the Afghanistan War veteran. "I wanted to be able to contribute in some way."
Jaxson met her husband Adam Sedlak when they were both deployed to Afghanistan and soon, the couple was expecting their first child. Their daughter was born 18 months later.
"My husband is retired now — he doesn't deploy as much, so I really get so much support from him," says Jaxson. "I mean, throughout my kids' entire lives, I've deployed or went somewhere multiple times."
She draws in a deep breath.
"It's kind of crazy because with every deployment, you don't know what to expect," Jaxson explains. "You're going into this unknown location for an unknown amount of time and you really don't know when you will be able to talk to your kids or when you will see them next."
Today, Jaxson has found music to be a comfort in those uncertain times, and she hopes that "With You" will help others who find themselves far from their loved ones.
"I give [my kids] so many props, because honestly, they have had to endure so much," she concludes. "They just handle it in stride every time we're deployed. They help do their laundry, they help cook dinner, they help get their stuff for sports. I mean, it's like they're mini teenagers already."