We are 11 days into this thing. Yes, I count. I wake up in the morning, get out a pencil from the kitchen drawer and update our calendar. I need to do it so I know how many days I've survived so that I know how to ration my stamina.
My best way to adjust during a deployment is to keep busy at the beginning. What I really want to do is turn off the alarm, ignore my kids and just sleep the deployment away. But I have two girls who would never allow that and a husband far away who wants me to keep truckin'. So, I get up, feed the kids, get us all ready and figure ways to fill our day.
Grace always does best with a full schedule anyway, so she's thrilled that we're always out of the house or in the middle of a project. But it's in the quiet moments - either in the car or right before bed that she tells me how much she misses Daddy and asks how much longer until he's home again. It breaks my heart. So I stop whatever I'm doing and just sit with her. We talk about how we feel and in what ways we miss Daddy. Honestly, these talks are as much for her as for me.
I didn't really expect for Grace to be the one that I can be the most open with. She is one of the few who have seen me cry. She understands what I'm thinking about when I'm just sitting in a chair starring off into space. I never thought that my four year-old would be the one who would sympathize the closest with me.
So, she's my little bud right now. We're going to do this deployment together and give each other enough hugs and kisses to get through the next many months. Well, hugs, kisses and plenty of trips to the mall. That's how we get through it.