I had forgotten how difficult communication can be when Brandon is deployed. Those first couple weeks after he left… several times a day I would flip open my cell phone to give him a call, forgetting that I could not reach him.

We have to wait for a call or e-mail from him, never knowing when that might come. When he does call, the connection is bad – there’s a delay, and so it seems like we’re talking over each other and most of the time I cannot hear what he’s saying. And of course the calls are never long enough – we talk the big issues fast:

How are the girls? – Fine, How are you? How are you? – Fine, Fine, Where are you? Where? Did you send a check to so and so? … Hello?

Then the call drops and there’s silence.

I don’t mention that Hope’s getting really tall. That she prays for her Angel Cake everyday. That she’s talking back a lot and I’ve got to deal with that and it’s totally new because I’ve never had a child talk back before. That sometimes I just will not do, she just wants her Daddy, and she tells me so. That she is a huge help to me. That she has an incredible memory. That she wants to play the violin… so we better start saving our pennies. That I told her I don’t want her to grow up and turn three years old in 13 days. That she put a patronizing hand on my shoulder and said firmly, “Sorry, Orange Blossom. I’ve got to.”

I don’t mention that Rhema is really beautiful. (He already knows that. But every day I think, Wow, she’s beautiful.) That she’s not sleeping again. That the EEG results are in, and I had to wait all weekend for the doctor to call. That I worry about her relationship with her sister. That she accidentally ate an artichoke!!! That I wonder if she wonders about him and where he is. That she managed to escape again (but don’t worry, I found her). That the other day her teacher said she repeated, “Hope”, “Mom”, “Dad” when looking at our pictures.

I don’t have time to mention all of the gifts and blessings that have been poured out on us. The generosity of people -unbelievable! – the kindness they’ve shown us. That I do get lonely sometimes. And overwhelmed. That I’ve got really, really good friends. That one of our favorite old restaurants opened up in the next town over. That we’ve got our routine, our pattern, things are just fine. That God is so good! That I wear his old Army T-shirts and sweats to keep him close.


Every now and then we get to video chat (using Skype). We’ve only been able to do it a couple times since Brandon’s been traveling in northern Iraq. Before he left, he took with him an extra webcam that Jenn sent us. It has been extremely important in helping us stay connected. (Thank you, Jenn!)

I thought that the video chat would be great for Rhema, especially since she does not do well with phones. It was initially disappointing – when Brandon would skype with us, I could not get Rhema to even look at the screen and see him. (Darn, we sure could use some joint attention!) He would call her name over and over, and I would try to get her to look, “Rhema! It’s Daddy.” She would not look, she’d just run away.

The last several times we got to Skype, I closed Rhema in the room. Even though she was bouncing around, never staying still long enough to attend to the computer screen, I told Brandon just to talk to her. “At least she’ll hear your voice,” I said.

And so he talked.

He told her he loved her and missed her and why he had to go away.

She never once showed any sign that she heard him.

Then, the last time that we skyped, several weeks ago, Rhema actually sat in my lap for a few minutes.

I dangled a popsicle above the computer screen.

She looked.

And she saw him.

And he said, “Hi, Rhema.”

And she said, “Hi.”

21 thoughts on “Connections

  1. That must have been so wonderful for Brandon to hear! I love that you never ever give up – you keep working with Rhema and working with her and then you get a “Hi!”


    Praying that God is with you and your family this week and that He continues to bless you as only He can.

  2. you know, i have found myself here the last few posts with no blessed idea of what to say. when someone said that to me once, i told her to just say, ‘i’m here.’

    that’s all i have right now. i am overcome by emotion. by the love, the beauty, the longing.

    i’m here.

  3. what a priceless moment
    your children sound do wonderful – very sorry to hear about the sleep though
    Actually it seems like you and your lovely lil family has had several precious priceless moments

  4. You can pack so much into one post, woman. Wow. You are amazing. Jack can’t do Skype either. Can’t look at the screen. He hears the voices, but he doesn’t respond to them. Kind of like it’s a tv, not real. I don’t know what this is about. Except that he does have extreme visual problems. You would think Skype would be so much easier for them – to look at a computer screen – but, clearly, it isn’t. ((Big, BIG hugs))

  5. Thats so sweet! Maybe it was just confusing for her, at first, to figure out that her dad was actually on the computer, not just some sort of photo or something. Maybe now she’ll be able to see her dad this way a little more often!

  6. Oh, J, that made me so happy!! Well, you know,the part at the END not your loneliness or the not sleeping or the talking back!! 🙂

    I had a really rough day today. Divorce mediation with the man I thought would be here forever. To think how badly your husband would like to be home tonight with his girls, and mine walked out and moved 6 hours away from two of the most beautiful children in the world.

    My husband fought with me — through a mediator and two highly paid attorneys — for 12 HOURS today about MONEY! Can you believe it. Incredible.

    And we only reached a PARTIAL agreement.

    I will send you a longer shout out soon via email. I am thinking of you every day.


  7. You take me back. The separation, what to tell, what to keep, the missings on our part and his. Thanks so much to you all for the sacrifice. It’s huge. And I -know- Rhema is hearing Brandon’s words.

  8. I’ll bet that “hi” made his day, week, you name it! Even when she wasn’t looking I’m sure she was listening, but how cool that she saw him too :).

    And Hope is too cute, “sorry, Orange Blossom, I’ve got to.” lol

    Happy Thanksgiving!

  9. Pingback: So skype me maybe |

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