This Week Sucked

It took until Friday for my daughter to break down. I heard a noise from across the house then nothing. Then I heard it again. I padded across the floor and heard her heartbreaking sobs. I walk into her room and she’s sitting up in her bed, staring at a picture of my husband the words “I want my daddy” tearing from her.

If you think I wasn’t crying right along with her, you’re smoking something. This whole week has sucked. As long as I live, I’ll never forget the sight of my husband standing on the front lawn, waving goodbye as I pulled away to take the kids to daycare. We both agreed we simply could not say goodbye to them in the middle of the daycare, so I shuffled them off while he stayed home to shower and put on the uniform that would carry him into the desert for the fourth time.

My husband is not an emotional man but leaving this time has been brutal on him. And me. But as I sit here writing, I reread my journal from my deployment. I was transported back to Kuwait, to the sand and dirt and stress of getting ready to head north. There’s nothing I can do right now but wait for the phone to ring or hope for an email.

I know my daughters are hurting. My oldest is being a real trooper but there’s a sadness about her. I catch her looking into space and I know she’s thinking about her daddy. The guy who always makes her laugh. And my youngest has been hell this week. She’s had her name written on the board at school twice, screamed every single day I’ve dropped her off at daycare (which is hell on the mommy guilt) and overall has been really bossy (which is actually kind of funny).

I’m kind of proud of myself in that I’ve stayed calm and quiet all week. Those of you that know me know this is NOT my normal operating procedure but I’ve been focused on the kids this week. Hell, its not like my writing career is going anywhere fast.

But I’ve got to tell you, sitting there holding my little girl as she sobbed her heart out damn near broke me. Looking back on 2003 when my husband and I first got pregnant, I NEVER thought we would have gone through 7 years of back to back deployments and still been married to each other. It feels like each homecoming has its own challenges and each deployment brings a new stress. It was tough being home with the girls when they were babies but they didn’t KNOW what was missing in their lives.

This time they know. And the both have a daddy sized hole in their lives that I cannot fill no matter what I try. And trust me, I’m trying. We painted the bathroom together tonight. 3 of us cramped into a tiny little space, the two of them standing on a torn up t-shirt splattering paint everywhere (they actually did a pretty good job). But what got my oldest thinking about Daddy? Mommy screwed up. I suggested that she write to him and tell him about us painting the bathroom. Fifteen minutes later, she’s bawling her little heart out and breaking mine. And she knows its only been a week. She’s still got a year to get through.

It was so much easier when it was projectile vomit and diapers at midnight. This? This is so much worse.