Where’s your Daddy? Or maybe I should be asking… Where’s your Mommy? This is a question that so many children are asked these days. And how do each of us deal with this question? How do we prepare our children for the months and months of seperation? Is there ever a way to fully explain to a child where there loved ones are going? It’s not even the fact that they are going, it’s the fact that they are going to be away from the children. They are not going to be part of the everyday experiences.
My husband has been on 14 deployments so far, however, we have been fortunate that our (now) 7 year old has only had to endure 2 of them. And my 3 year old only 1. We are also lucky that on the last 2 deployments my husband was occasionaly able to get on a computer and do skype with us. It did not always work, but being able to do this, when we never were able to do it in the past was something that even as adults we were excited about, and also allows the small children to still see the expressions that their parents have.
We decided that we would try to help prepare Jaden on the last deployment (he was 4 and Shyla was 10 months) that we would talk about him leaving a LOT. Sean took us to the airport, a day before he was going to deploy because we were going to stay in Ohio (we had been evicted from our rental do to foreclosure) while he was deployed. While we were at the airport, Sean pulled out this guy (a small toy). He was still in his packaging. When you look at the picture you will see that he is not the AF guy that my husband is, and you will see that he is not the equipment operator that my husband is either. We had hoped to find the correct career field, but when you are desperate, you do what you need to do! None the less, my husband… gave this guy to Jaden and Shyla and explained…
This is your Daddy Guy, he will take care of you while I am gone. He will be with you every where that I can not be. He will experience everything with you that I will miss out on, so I will be able to be with you through him. When you see him, you will know that I am thinking of you. You will know that I love you. You will know, that even though I can not be with you, I really want too!
Daddy Guy, went every where with us. He was on the plane to Ohio. He was with all of us the next night when we took a pregnancy test and was able to share that with Sean on the phone before he left on the deployement (positive, that how we have Schyler). He made trips back and forth to Michigan to visit Sean’s family. He then made the trips to Tenn, where Sean’s family relocated. He traveled every where we went, when we were in the car, I placed him on the visor so he could watch everything the kids did. When we got out of the car, he went in the pocket of the diaper bag with his head and arms sticking out so he could see everything. He went to Jaden’s first day of Pre School and to every t-ball game that year. There was absolutely NO where that our Daddy Guy did not go. Daddy Guy, watched TV and the kids kissed him to sleep at night, if they woke up at night he was sitting on the dresser where they could find him and hug him to make the dreams go away (I can not tell you how many times this saved the night). Sometimes Jaden just needed his Daddy, and even though it was not the same, Daddy Guy was there to fill in for the moment until Daddy could call.
When we did the Skype, he came out and sat with us, so the kids knew that Daddy, was on the computer, but Daddy Guy was right there to help show the way. They knew that Daddy and Daddy Guy are 2 totally different things. Daddy Guy even made the trip with us in the car from Ohio to Kentucky to pick up a friend, and then all the way in the car back to Las Vegas. Daddy Guy stayed out with us until Sean returned home the next wk. Then just a wk later we had our baby Schyler. Daddy Guy was put away the moment Sean came home, but they brought him to the hospital to me, where I would stay. Again, Daddy Guy could be everywhere Daddy could not be!
Everytime that Sean has left, no matter what it be for. A short TDY or training, anything related to work. He was leaving every wk, for work we had to bring out Daddy Guy, and again we had to take him every where with us.
I think having this Daddy Guy really made it easier for the kids and for me. They really felt that in spirt Daddy was with them. Infact, just in October Sean left for a wk. to go hunting and Jaden got really upset 2 days into it, that I had not brought out the Daddy Guy. He cried, he said that Daddy would be sad. I tried to explain that it was because Daddy was hunting and not gone for work. UMMMM explaining that did not work, so Daddy Guy had to come back out. That was the only way things were going to calm down in my household.
My kids were proud to show anyone and everyone there Daddy Guy, and I can’t tell you how many times I had to explain to total strangers who and what it was. Most of the time people tear up and start to cry. I think people just don’t understand the total sacrifice made by each family. They think that the military families have to give up everything, and that is so true. However, think about how much each of the Military member gives up themselves. I know that our Daddy Guy, does not really get all the real emotions that Sean missed out on. But when I took him in for the first ultra sound of the baby, and Jaden’s first day of preschool, all the first things that he missed out on. I felt like he was kind of there with me, because he made it known that he really wanted to be.
Don’t your eyes just tear up when you are out and about and someone asks your child…” oh.. is your daddy at work?” then your child says ” no they are in X” That isn’t the part that tears me apart, it is when they look at you with sadness because they are at war, not because they are missing out on the family that they left behind. I am so proud that my husband and all of our FAMILY (military friends) have served this country to provide my freedom and I miss them all so much when they are gone. However, I am so aware of EVERY SACRIFICE that they make…. Thank you.. with every breath I take… Thank you!
So… If you have a way that you share with your child a Mommy girl, or a Daddy Guy. let me know, I would love to share in your experience!