Day 108

October 23, 2008

Just when I was starting to feel good about making it halfway through this deployment, that dreaded thing called "change" has to intervene. Adam told me today that his return date will probably be extended until March (he was originally scheduled to return in January). Nothing definite so I am trying not to get too upset by it. I just hate when plans get changed. We knew this could happen and it is part of the reason we didn't make a countdown chain. Some families make paper chains with links for each of the days until the military member returns home. In theory it sounds nice because it is a visual countdown, but the reality is that return dates are rarely set in stone and when dealing with kids (and mamas who like plans) it can make things feel even worse. I shouldn't be shocked or upset because it is common (especially these days) to have delayed returns or deployment extensions, but I can't help feeling bummed. Changes are such a big part of military life that I should be an old pro at dealing with the unexpected or the dreaded, but I am not.

And regarding this whole deployment thing...Camille is pissed. She has recently been very vocal about her anger. At Sunday School she suddenly made a loud announcement to all of the students and teacher: "I don't like my daddy because he never comes home from work". Not everyone knows our story so I can only imagine what thoughts crossed their minds, but poor Mei-Mei is just trying to make sense of all this. Living with her through this deployment is like witnessing emotional stages of deployment. She has now moved from sadness to anger. And I can understand. Actually in some ways I wish I could be as vocal as she is. Because on many levels I am also angry right now, too. Angry that my dad is really gone. Angry that Adam had to go at one of the worst times possible and that he is still gone. Angry that war happens. Angry that change happens.
Andrea said...

I'm sorry things changed. I give military families a lot of credit for dealing with deployment. I can not imagine how hard that is.

Heather said...

That must be so hard. I can't imagine. I'll be sending some prayers your way.

morninglight mama said...

That kind of change is just no good! Your daughter sounds so precious in her attempts at articulating her feelings. I feel for you guys! May the time until your reunion fly by!

Betsey said...

You are amazing at verbalizing your feelings. Obviously you've passed this on to your daughter :) . I, too, am sorry things changed. I hope the time goes quickly and the reunion is sweet.

Jessica said...

I think I would make a countdown chain that went until, say, August. You still get the fun of counting down and then can burn the rest of it in a fun ceremony when Adam comes home "early". ;)

I'm sorry to hear about the change in plans. Maybe you'll luck out and they will change again in the good way. You never know with the military. Stay Strong!

meredith said...

I did not read this post clearly before. OBVIOUSLY, since I thought Adam was halfway done. I totally, whole-heartedly understand the deployment feelings. I cannot imagine compounding that with the loss of my father. I so badly want to move in next door to you and make crafts with the kids and have these conversations in person. I feel for you.

Dianne said...

I know I am a little late in reading this, but I am sorry about the change, I know how much you are looking forward to him being home.
My dd was 4 and turned 5 during deployment and she was mad. She is now 7 and dh has been home for almost 2 years and he still has to make a daily attempt to get her to do anything with him. It sounds like she is talking about it though, so that is good, my dd tends to keep things in.
I'm wishing the best for your family and hope the rest of the time flies by.

Dim Sum, Bagels, and Crawfish said...

Thanks for all of the supportive comments. You guys are so wonderful.

Laurie said...

I just happened to stumble across your blog by accident today; I hope you don't mind me commenting.

My husband is also deployed, and I absolutely understand how you feel. I have a few thoughts that may or may not work for your family.

RE: the daisy chain - Maybe you could do one but with a LOT of extra links that "mommy" puts in either the first time it's made or about halfway through the deployment. So you always have extra that what you may need, but the kids still have a visual sense of the time getting shorter or closer.

I also recommend calling Military OneSource and asking for the free Sesame Street Deployment/Homecoming Videos. Elmo's dad deploys and returns and they have snippets of real military families in there. It also comes with a booklet that gives some tips to parents. I haven't read the booklet yet, so I can't comment on that, but the dvd was excellent.

On a personal note, I have a Daddy Doll for her with a picture of him in his uniform; I have small picture books that she can flip through with pictures of the two of them together doing things, and we "read" them (she's 28 months) together or she looks at them on her own. I search out books that talk about dads loving their daughters and I'm currently looking for a book about dads who go away to work but come home and miss their families. If I can't find it, I'll write it. I take some of those books and copy pictures of his face and paste them over the dad's face and put copies of her face and paste them over the mom's face. I'm thinking of getting a Flat Daddy. I also tell her every night when I say Goodnight... "mommy loves you, Daddy loves you, God loves you". We have Vonage, so sometimes he calls and leaves a message on our phone and it goes to voicemail, which also sends a wav file to our email. I play that over and over again.

I have tons of other things we do, but I guess i just wanted to be an encouragement to you. I know how difficult it can be. My husband will be gone until July, and we've lost 2 babies, I almost died, his uncle died unexpectedly, there's been an attempted suicide in my extended family (10 year old), my washing machine has overflowed 3 times and we evacuated from a Hurricane... all since he deployed this July. I sometimes feel like a Jerry Springer show reject. But you absolutely can do it!! A military spouse is a warrior in her own right. If there is anything I can do for you to encourage you, please let me know.

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