Over the many years of our military life, we’ve experienced many days, weeks and months without daddy. It’s interesting how children evolve in their understanding. Military kids are quite a breed of their own. They experience things not a lot of other children do, and they adapt in their own ways. One particular time in our life that comes to mind was when my oldest was about 4. Ami was not really aware nor did I think she cared much. At that point in her short little life it was all about mommy. Brian, however, didn’t handle it quite as well. He never wanted to leave me, even to be in the next room at Gymboree. He was sad and cried all the time. He couldn’t, however, explain it to me all that well. He knew daddy was gone and thought he was in the computer. I remember breaking down in Gymboree when my friend was visiting, trying to manage things. Pretending like I had it all together when clearly I didn’t. I think there was some lingering depression and just the fact that I couldn’t help my son. The pressure on moms in general is undeniable. We want to provide stability and happiness to our children; when we can’t it wrecks havoc in our mom brain and heart. I had no other real support do to the nature of our location, and I didn’t have a lot of friends whose husbands were with mine. Most of them weren’t married or were married to other service members. The load was too much to bare and I kept it all in. In turn I think whatever the kids were feeling was compounded by the feelings I thought I was keeping to myself. They are pretty smart little devils aren’t they?
Getting in a little wrestle time
So now, during this most recent time apart I have a 17-month-old, an almost five-year-old and an almost seven-year-old. Phillip is aware in his own way, and I notice it way more than Ami at his age. Every time the phone rings he says “daddy daddy!” He checks the bed and the closed bathroom door. Brian is more talkative and obviously his understanding is way more developed than when he was 4. He discusses it with his school counselor and his other military buddies at school (school counselor = amazing support). Ami, so far, isn’t displaying any issues, verbal or otherwise. However, her relationship with her daddy has recently developed into that typical daddy/daughter thing so we’ll see if that changes.
All I can do is take this one day at a time. My support system here isn’t well developed, but what I do have is wonderful. I recently just met a lady (while volunteering) that lives a similar life to mine. She has young kids and doesn’t have support system that is connected to her husband’s career ( like me), which is different then a separate support system). It was a little God moment. I didn’t have to take this volunteer slot, I didn’t know much about her. I also didn’t know I would need a ride to another metro station because the one where I was at was closed. Sometimes its those little moments that you least expect, that don’t seem all that important, that make all the difference?
Cammo Style Love
I havent done any deployments with kids yet. My best friends husband is gone a lot though and it has been interesting watching how their daughter deals with it. She is 5 now. Each stage has been different when he leaves (and returns).
This weekend we were at the airport and my two year old asked my husband if this is where he worked. When R&R was over, we dropped him off at the airport to go back to work and that's where she associated him being all year.
It's so interesting watching children deal with this. My nephews are finally at the age where they understand when daddy is gone for a long time. To see them reunited fills my heart with joy.
I haven't done a deployment yet. My oldest daughter was 9 months old when my husband left for OCS. She wanted nothing to do with him when he came home even though she would look at pictures of him on the computer and say daddy. I am not looking forward to dealing with deployments. She misses him when he is gone for work now, I can't imagine what it will be like when he doesn't come home at the end of the day.
This is what I fear the most about our future… having kids during deployments! Thank you for posting this… it's so interesting to read different perspectives! 🙂
Your kids are so adorable!