We’ve been waiting for weeks for Brandon’s official orders to come for his deployment. I’d heard about a number of people who thought they were deploying and then later found out they were not. So I started thinking/hoping Brandon would not have to go because we hadn’t received the orders.
Well, we finally got “the word”.
The good news is he doesn’t have to go until July. The bad news is he has to go in July.
It was time to tell the girls.
We’ve been particularly concerned about how Hope would handle the news. This is the girl who tries to barricade the door when loved ones leave.
Brandon sat her down and told her, and surprisingly she was… fine. She talked about his homecoming after the last deployment and how she wore a bunny costume that day. She said she’d miss their stinky pants fights. (Yes, that’s a game in which they pelt each other with stinky pants, a game in which Mommy does not participate).
Finally she simply asked, “When are you leaving?”
“In a couple months.”
“I’ll miss you, Daddy.”
She hugged his neck and ran up the stairs to brush her teeth.
I looked at him. “Well, that went well.
“Yeah,” he laughed. “She didn’t seem too broken up about it.”
But as I helped her get ready for bed I watched her face grow troubled and sad as the news sank in.
By the time we tucked her in she was almost angry.
“I don’t want you to go! A year is too long. A year is all the way from now until a few days after Christmas!”
It took a minute to realize she was equating New Year’s Day with a year.
“Babe, Daddy will be gone from July to July. That’s a year.”
She looked at me trying to imagine it.
I blabbed on, “You’ll finish kindergarten, and then it will be summer right? So Daddy will be gone from this summer to next summer. He’ll miss the whole first grade. And-”
The pained, horrified look on her face stopped me in my tracks. I turned and saw the same pained, horrified look on his face.
Later I thought about it and I knew what I said was wrong. So I told her as soon as she woke up,
“Daddy won’t miss the whole first grade, Hope. We’ll take pictures and talk on the phone and skype and tell him all the juicy details. He won’t be here here, but he’ll be here.”
“Yeah, I know Mom. It’s kind of like God. Sometimes I don’t see him, but I know he’s with me.”