We sat down last night with the girls for the official deployment talk. Ugh.
We hadn’t made any effort to hide it, but we hadn’t told them, either. At their ages, it didn’t make any sense to tell them 6 months out. They can’t understand that kind of time frame. Lately, though, Cate has been asking a lot of questions and making statements along the lines of “Is Dad not going to go away?” or “Are you going to leave me in America, Mom?” or “We will be best friends, Mom, and you’ll never go away. I love you.” She’s no dummy, and she realizes something’s going on. Better to give her the facts.
It went about how I expected it to go. Meg understood it was something to be sad about (probably from Cate’s reaction) but was easily distracted by the positives we discussed (going to visit family.) Cate started to sob immediately. She sat on Chris’ lap and told him she didn’t want him to leave.
We talked about her friends’ dads who have had to deploy, and how they were gone for a little while, then they came home again. She managed to shout out through her tears, “And she MISSED him!” each time we mentioned a friend who has had a dad deploy.
My heart broke for the girls. I know there’s not much I can do to make the hurt go away. I’m here for them, and I will continue to be. That doesn’t really make it any better that dad is gone for 6 months.