When I picked up Hope from the waiting area at school today, she glanced at me across the room, raised her arms as she usually does and ran toward me.

Daddddyyyyyy!!!!!!!” she screamed.

She’s an extremely imaginative girl, and almost daily Hope assigns me a character – be it Orange Blossom, the Grumpy Old Troll, or the Hairy Dragon. Recently, she’s decided I’m “Daddy”.

So I should not have been surprised when she shouted the name. But her enthusiastic greeting unnerved me, and I self-consciously looked around at the other parents sitting in the waiting room.

“Uh… hi, Hope.”

“Daddy, are you ready to ride the train for Hope and Daddy day???” She rambled on about afternoon plans – plans that we did not have.

I looked up at her teacher who hunched her shoulders in a sympathetic shrug. “She’s been saying all day that her Daddy was picking her up from school today. I told her that someday he would…”

At a recent school meeting, one of Rhema’s teachers told about their efforts to decrease her “grabbing.” Faster than Swiper the fox, Rhema will often snatch another child’s lunch or things off her desk as soon as her teacher puts it down. Rhema’s teacher said that they’d been working to keep her hands down at the table and they were tracking a decrease in grabbing. She went on to say that Rhema still grabs during the Family ID program (this is when pictures of Brandon, Hope, and me are placed on the table and Rhema must try to receptively identify us). Rhema only ever grabs and clutches the picture of “Dad.”

We’re doing o.k. here. The house is still standing. Rhema has her everyday challenges. Hope indulges in a meltdown on occassion and has been known to exhibit the three-year old ‘tude. But they have many wonderful people in their lives that help make them happy, well-loved little girls. Autumn and winter have passed for them, full and fun.

But every now and then they show me.

They know.

Someone’s missing.

14 thoughts on “Missing

  1. Ok, not that I had the foggiest idea what I was going to say anyway, but now I’m completely derailed by the simple beauty of Brandon’s comment.

    Hold on to that, Jeneil. He will be home soon, and when he is, you will hear a great big collective sigh from out here in the ether.

    Hang in there, my friend. And lean on us, ok?

  2. Sad and true. You are honest and that’s an important model for the girls to see. Yesterday in school Reid’s emotions were grossly denied so we spent the evening giving examples of “sad” (Baby Bop losing her blankie, Kat losing her job…) REAL life learning.

    The first thing that came to mind is how you and Brandon are one so Hope “deciding you’re daddy” is not so far off. It’s a blessing she senses that reality! Who doesn’t love a good round of imagination and pretend! xo

  3. Lovely. That they both understand. Lovely that Hope is coping with it in her own way. My son loves to assign me as favorite people, too. I’ve often played Uncle Hans for days at a time. Or Chloe. Or Daddy. Even Miss Julie. Used to be I talked so much as “Finger” that my husband would have to remind me that I was using my Finger character voice with him, too.

    And makes me cry to think about how much you have to go through before your man comes home. ((hugs)) Can’t wait to read that post.

  4. You’re making my tough guy husband cry with this.

    Love that each of your girls is finding a way to communicate the missing. The reunion will be so sweet. It’s coming.

  5. I feel for you guys, J.

    And I also am a bit jealous. I envy that your husband is gone not because he wants to be, but because he is doing everything he can to do what he thinks is BEST for his FAMILY, most especially R. He is putting his own safety at risk, assuming duties most people would run from, all so he can give his girl the best services available. He is not running away from problems, but, instead, he is standing tall in the face of adversity.

    You are lucky to have him, as he is you.

    Much love,

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