April 3, 2013

Her Bravery

"Because,' she said, 'when you're scared but you still do it anyway, that's brave." 

Maybe it's the first time they've been away, or maybe the fifty-first. Either way, we pretend it's normal to be without them.

But there are some nights it just gets really hard to pretend. 

There is something about the night, isn't there? As the sun sets, there is a realization that we've completed another day of this, but there is a long night ahead yet to go. We curl up on the love seat, wrapping blankets all around, and feel nothing in the world except their absence. Maybe we have held it together for 3 days or 3 weeks. Maybe 3 months. And suddenly, somehow, reaching that third month and one day mark is the arbitrary line where we just don't want to do this anymore. 

And we stare into space, unsure if we should will the tears to stay back, or let them roll down our cheeks. Around our acquaintances, our friends, and even our family, heaven forbid it look like this is hard to do. But when the stars are out and we know our secret is safe with them, it's easier to admit how tired we are. How much it stings sometimes. How we feel so strong and capable most of the time, and how that can wilt into nothing every now and then.

Some nights, I'm reminded that it gets hard for Millie, too. I heard her crying in her bed, and knelt down to ask her what was wrong. It was the familiar complaint of a tummy ache. She reached for her pillow and monkey, and followed me down the hall in her footie pajamas. We climbed into my bed and snuggled into each other.

I began pulling up photos of her as a child and watching movies of her first words, her first steps, and songs she sang to us. When we clicked on one with Sky wrestling with her, I saw her expression change from amusement and into a sad face with her bottom lip sticking out. She said, "My daddy!" Her voice broke like she was going to cry. And then, "I love Daddy. I miss Daddy." I remembered that I wasn't the only one dealing with time apart.

We were able to call him late that night and talk for a minute. She told him she couldn't sleep because her tummy hurt, and she got to hear his voice for a little while. Her breathing slowed, relaxing in the comfort of that phone call. She closed her eyes and fell asleep right afterwards, and I let her drift off in my bed. Her stomach was probably fine all along, but we both pretended it wasn't. That moment with her daddy helped her heart.

April is the "month of the military child". I never think of her as one, to be honest. We don't live on a post, and she hasn't had to live through a deployment in her two and a half years. But I was reminded that night how she is one.

And how's she's so very brave.

11 kind comments from you:

Jen said...

I can't imagine at 2 1/2 years old how hard it must be for her. I hope he will be home soon.

Chantal said...

This brought tears to my eyes. How sweet, but heartbreaking. It must be so hard for her to know what's happening.

applesandglue said...

Very brave indeed, poor thing. I imagine it must be quite the struggle for her. Hugs for her, and you. :)

Steph said...

She is a military child. She misses him the same way any other military child misses him. Hopefully, he will be home soon.

Megan Wadsworth said...

I totally have those nights just by myself, and my poor dog mopes when my husband is gone, so I can only imagine doing it with a child. Thinking of you guys!

Erinn C.D. said...

Millie :( I hope the time goes by quickly for you both <3

Marine Corps Mama said...

Annnd I just cried.

Karen said...

She is most definitely a military child and a wonderful one. I'm so sorry that she has to be away from Sky right now (and that you do too). It's never easy, no matter how old you are. Sending love and hugs your way. And a hug for Millie from Nora :)

Sarah said...

Now that I'm all teary-eyed.... =/

There's a possibility that Joe will deploy sometime in the next 8-9 months and I am NOT looking forward to it. The older Charlotte gets, the more it makes me worry about how it might affect her.

Mrs. B said...

My daughter has been dealing with stomachaches this deployment. We're doing a 1 year that's actually 15 months with 2 months of training AND we only had 5 days notice before he left! She was doing fine until he came home for R&R and then after he left they started...with lots of prayer and talking they've been doing better but Easter without him again spiked a round of them. She's 9 years old and worries about her dad often. I'm looking forward to being done with this deployment and her being done with the stomachaches for awhile!

KristenSmith said...

It's amazing how the littles internalize their battles. *hugs* to your sweet little girl and you.

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