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A dear friend of mine welcomed home her deployed husband this past weekend for R&R. He has been gone a total of 8 months so far. Her son is only a couple of months younger than mine, and I started thinking about all the things her husband missed in their son’s life while he was gone. Birthdays, milestones, first words… a lot can happen in 8 months!
|Adam & his Daddy.|
It made me start thinking a lot about my son, Adam and how he will deal during this upcoming deployment. Adam is 14 months old and he loves his daddy. When he has a choice of who he wants to go to between the two of us, he always picks his daddy. Now I am not sad or jealous, I know he loves me just the same, he just has a real special place in his heart for his daddy who loves him very much.
Because he loves his daddy so much, I am worried about how Adam will deal with him being gone. The last time we were apart, Adam definitely noticed. It wasn’t so much that he cried, but just in the little every day things. I didn’t even see it until we were back together again as a family, but I realized just how much Adam had missed his daddy. I honestly thought that he was too young to really understand or notice, but it saddens me to see that he does even at this young age.
I wish I could protect him. I wish I could stop it from happening just for him. As an adult I can deal with a deployment in my own way, but how can he being a little boy? Even though he knows his daddy is gone, he doesn’t fully understand. And even though he will see daddy occasionally on Skype and maybe even hear his voice on the phone, how do I get him to understand that his daddy will be back? That his daddy has not left for good? That his daddy still loves him very much even though he is far away?
I have tears in my eyes as I write this, because I love my son so much. I don’t want to see him go through the rigors of deployment. I want to shield him as much as I can. But how can I do that? I know there will be other deployments, other times apart. This is what military life is all about. It’s about learning to adapt, learning to press on, and learning that my responsibility is being the best parent I can be while his daddy is gone.
As I thought again about my friend’s son being reunited with his daddy, and as I looked at their homecoming pictures, I saw how happy that little boy was. He didn’t care that is daddy had been gone, he was just happy that he had returned. He wasn’t thinking of all the missed moments, he was looking forward to his daddy holding his hand and playing with him again.
I am confident it will be the same for Adam. My hope is that he will not grow up thinking about all the time his daddy was away, but that he will remember all the good times they spent together. The playing, wrestling, laughing, tickling, and everything else in between. Those are the things that make memories. Those are the things he loves about his daddy.