I’m finally over the two month hump and I honestly feel like I’ve accomplished something! This is the longest that we’ve been apart since we’ve been married and the longest I’ve ever had our daughter by myself. The house, while not quite up to her standards, doesn’t exactly look like a tornado’s blown through either. I think she has little fairy helpers or something, because I don’t know how she managed to work a full day, do our daughter's hair, wash/fold clothes, and still get a decent amount of rest. I helped out a little, but this experience has really shown me how much I hadn’t been doing all these years!
I’ve come to the conclusion that the ability to communicate using various internet resources could possibly be some sort of enemy ploy to drive me crazy! I didn’t realize that internet speeds as slow as they have over there still existed. Most of the time, it’s just enough to tease you into thinking that you’re going to be able to have a decent video chatting session. Other times, it just cuts out for no reason and you’re left wondering if everything is ok. And then, there are the days when you don’t hear anything at all, not even a quick message to say “I love you”. Those are the worst. Sometimes I wish things were like when my Dad deployed to Desert Storm and all you really had were letters in the mail, video tapes sent back and forth, and the occasional phone call. That way I wouldn’t worry as much if I didn’t hear from her for a day or two. Technology creates unreal expectations and can sometimes make you forget that it's still a war zone and communication will never be normal.
I still battle insomnia, but it has gotten a little better. I have some days where I get a little sad. When I have a bad day at work, it’s depressing that I can’t call her on my break to vent. Most of the time, I’m so busy during the day that it doesn’t hit me until it’s close to bedtime. That’s when my wife and I normally have a few moments alone…my favorite part of our busy days. I still haven’t slept on her side of the bed. Not sure why. I guess I’ve just gotten so used to staying on my side of that huge king size bed that it’s natural. I don’t think I’ll get used to rolling over and her not being there.
Our daughter misses her mother dearly. She seems to have taken on some of the characteristics of her mother that our house is missing during this deployment. During the morning drive, she constantly reminds me to drive safely. When I’m cooking, she reminds me to be careful and not burn myself. That toddler has the nagging down to a science! She wants to paint her nails like her mother and style her hair in a similar fashion. I picked her up from daycare today and was pleasantly surprised to find out that the teacher had taken the afro that I dropped her off with and turned it into a nice set of braids! That’s one less thing that I have to do, so to say I was grateful is an understatement. Our daughter seemed to like it, as she smiled and told me that her teacher made her hair pretty….but as soon as we got to the car, she said “Daddy, can you fix my hair, I don’t like it. I want my hair like mommy’s!”. I guess when these braids run their course, it will be back to the afro like mommy.
It hasn’t been all bad though. Yes, I count every day and mark the calendar as if I'm in prison waiting for parole. Sure, I miss my wife like crazy. Still doesn’t get easier to explain to our daughter when she asks “is mommy coming home yet”, that it’s still going to be a while. But it’s also given me a chance to create a bond with our ever-changing little girl. I’m spending more time than ever just being there for her. I’m focusing on projects that I’ve put off for far too long. It’s shown me the things that I haven’t been doing around the house and how to be a better father and husband. This isn’t an easy journey, but I know that at the end of it all, I’ll be a better man and we’ll be a family that can endure anything.