Sunday, May 9, 2010

Wars taking emotional toll on children in military families.

I saw this story online from the local newspaper back home. I was online looking for rentals to move into while my husband & my precious children's Daddy deploys for 13 months & I saw the head line & had to read. Now here I am at 4am balling my eyes out. First, I'm going to give a little background on our deployment history & then the link to the article I read this morning.

This one simple sentence in the article hit me like a ton of bricks & I completely lost it.

A single deployment can be half a toddler's lifetime.

Our son, Kyler, will be 3 on June 21st & this is his second deployment. Paul was gone for pre-deployment training for his 1st birthday (we celebrated a week earlier) & he left 1 month & 10 days after he turned a year old, he was gone for 7 months to the day, he returned when Kyler was 20 months old. I know that the deployment affected him, for the first week after his Daddy left I couldn't get him to eat anything. I wasn't prepared for that at all, I knew I would be okay after-all this was my second deployment & I had plenty to keep me busy & I knew my mind wouldn't wonder as much as the first deployment. As time went on we adjusted, not only was he adjusting to his Daddy being gone & our new home (I moved home so I could have help because I was pregnant & [more than likely] having a repeat c-section), but he also had to adjust to having a new baby sister. I remember when Alannah would sleep during her newborn days & Kyler would nap I would just hold him & cry because I felt so awful for not being able to give him all the attention I did before & what thought he deserved. I eventually came to terms with the fact that I was doing my very best to be strong for my husband & to meet all my children's needs. Kyler remembered who his Daddy was, he would point to the pictures all over the house & show me his Daddy, we would watch videos of him & Daddy playing & he was even able to see him on webcam a few times but he was too young to really understand it so it didn't keep his attention long. I know this time will be different because he is older, he understands more now & the deployment is much longer. He really is quite an amazing little boy. He isn't even 3 years old yet & has been through more in his little life than most grown adults have. Our daughter Alannah was born 3 1/2 months after Paul left & she was 3 1/2 months old when she finally met her Daddy on February 28, 2009, now she is almost 18 months old (21 months when he leaves) & preparing for her second deployment as well. He will be deployed for her 2nd birthday & will get home just in time for her 3rd birthday. It's really quite mind baffling to think that Lana will be Kyler's age now when her Daddy can hold & kiss her once again & Kyler will be 4 1/2 & probably in preschool when he returns from Afghanistan. Sometimes it's hard for me to think that far ahead & wonder how much different life will be for us & other days it seems like a pretty natural part of my thought process. Some nights (like tonight & this morning, it's 5am & I'm still awake) I literally cannot sleep because I think of how much my husband will miss in the 13 months he is at War; Thanksgiving 2010, Christmas 2010, New Years 2011, Valentine's Day (which isn't that big of a deal, but it's special to us because he proposed to me on Valentine's Day 2004), my 26th birthday, our 7 year anniversary, Kyler's 4th birthday, 4th of July & his 28th birthday & those are just every year holidays/celebrations, that isn't including our families birthdays, big events in their lives, or the most important things like being able to watch his children grow & change everyday, to see Kyler on his first day of school & to meet new friends that he makes. I cannot even fathom the thought of being away from my babies that long, not hearing their sweet voices or seeing their beautiful faces everyday, I really would go insane. My heart hurts for him, not because I pity him, I know he is fulfilling his destiny & he loves doing what he does. He knows that what he is doing is making a difference, but when it comes down to it, as much as he proudly signed his name on that line & swore in, no one wants to miss out on so much of their children's lives. I guess that's where sometimes your minds gets overwhelmed, you know the sacrifices you are making are changing or at least helping in someway, but it still hurts, A LOT! I know I am not the only mother of children in this same situation & for that I am grateful, not because I would wish any of the stress, anxiety, depression, arguments, frustrations or any of the other horrible things that can come from going through a deployment (not everything is awful, in a lot of ways our previous deployments have actually helped us grow close & remember to not take our days for granted.) but because there really are other mother's & wives who understand my fears & know what I mean when I tell them I literally sob uncontrollably when I read certain stories, her certain songs, see certain pictures or to be in certain places. I'm so thankful for the support system I have not only that I've found in my family, but in our "Military Family", my friends & the amazing online support that I've found. I can only hope & pray that this deployment that we are preparing for will bring us closer as husband & wife & closer as a family. My biggest fear is being apart so long that we grow so much separately that we grow apart, I've seen it happen several times, I do not want that for myself, my husband or our children. Who does?!!?? I refuse to just survive deployments, I will conquer them!

What I'm trying to say is...



Amber said...

Gesh...I know right! They S.U.C.K!!!!! Seriously, this is why I get so freaking bitter about things! People who are NOT military do NOT understand what we scarifice, and MORE importantly, the scarifice that our children make! They miss out on soooo much with their daddys.

Sending hugs!

Reina said...

Sending you happy thoughts and huggies.

Nothing can make that time come back for you, the babies and your hubby. I know that all of your are making such a huge sacrifice. As non-military, civilians do not understand the meaning of sacrifice. So when I say "thank you" on Milspouse day or any other day, it's because I understand and we mil(soon-to-be)spouses get it. And we embrace you through the tough tough tough desperate spots.


kaitlin johnston said...

Ugh I totally know what you mean .. my dad left 2 weeks after i (the first born) was born .. he wasnt gone for too long .. but the point was the same . He missed birthdays, holidays, first communions, confirmations, funerals .
My moms mom passed away on 1.6.06 and my dad left for Iraq on 1.8.06 he missed the viewings and the funeral and all my mom had to deal with on her own .. that was prob the worst .. but when he is home he does SO much .
he coaches jacks baseball and basketball teams i could prob count on 2 hands the games he's missed while at home for all 3 of us combined .
When my brother was pretty young my dad left for a couple months to Kuwait or Singapore (he's been on about 20 deployments so i get them confused . lol) and when he returned jack was afraid of him, wouldnt even look at him when he got off the plane without crying, wouldnt let my dad hold him or anything for a couple days and my dad was heart broken . after that was over (just a week or 2) my brother wouldnt leave his side and has been that way since! whenever my dad is gone jack is "the man of the house" he is the youngest of the 3 of us .. but he does a great job :)
things are different now though .. he sustained a traumatic brain injury in Iraq 2006 and has been dealing with the VA for the past 1 1/2 years .. with tests and what not trying to decide if he can retire now at 47 .. he has 25 years in so he is eligible to retire with full benefits ! *fingers crossed*
however nothing is worth what we are dealing with at this point in time . it could be worse i know .. but this can really get to us .
my bf is the same unit as my dad is too !
anyways sorry my comment turned into a book .. i just wanted to let you know i sympathize with you .. if you need anything please lmk :)