Nick got the call earlier this week that they’re deploying in xxx days. Those days have turned into hours now. We’ve been preparing over and over but it’s not any easier. I’ve thought of how to tell the girls, all week, and now that we are to the very last minute we finally told them.
We took pictures tonight, the Princesses and their daddy. I’ve only had a chance to go over a few of them because quite frankly it’s been hard to see through the tears. After photos Gracelyn asked if we could sit down on a blanket in the dining room and have a picnic. So there we sat three princesses in rain boots, tiaras, pasta sauced faces and giggles as they raced who could eat what the fasted. It only lasted a few minutes before Paityn was climbing Nick, Gracelyn was chasing the puppy and Maisyn was trying to blow milk bubbles out of her nose(I wish I was kidding). It dawned on me, this was our last family dinner and the chaos in front of me is exactly what I needed. The girls being their typical selves not realizing the drastic change coming. It was the last few moments of them being them before we told them the news. As I sat the girls down, Paityn still climbing Nick’s back, Maisyn actively shoveling pasta into her mouth and Gracelyn realizing there were onions in the food but she “hates onions”, I raised my voice to get their attention. All three looked at me wide eyes and a little terrified I’m sure, I don’t typically raise my voice. I looked at Gracelyn and before I could speak a word the tears were welling in my eyes. I said “Baby we need to talk, we need to have a big girl talk about something important okay?” “What’s wrong momma, why do you always cry?” (Okay child, way to call me out like that) I looked at her and said “Gracie, your daddy is going to be going away for a while, a lot longer than normal. We won’t be able to see him but we can still talk to him on the phone.” She looked puzzled for a minute before she spoke. This was an all too familiar memory of my own past so I knew what was coming. “Why? Where is daddy going?” The room was silent and still besides the sniffles coming from the man next to me and the sound of my heart racing in my chest. How do you explain to a 4 year old that her daddy is off to a war that has been going on most of her mommy’s life? I googled tips this week and the tips said to be honest with her, otherwise they got nada. So I told her “Daddy is going to be a good guy and help people. He’s going to *insert country here* and he’s going with a bunch of other people to help get rid of bad guys.” “Why?” She asked completely stone faced. “Because that’s what daddy does, he helps people. He’s a soldier remember? So he helps others.” My smiley, spunky over the top daughters face quickly turned into a sad face with tears in her eyes as it started to click. She curled up on my lap as I continued to try helping her with her questions and her worries, like how her daddy won’t be home for her birthday or Christmas, he won’t be home for the twins birthday in June, he won’t be here to play with her or cuddle her. My baby was experiencing sadness that I couldn’t fix and that is a helpless feeling. I squeezed my girl while the tears fell from my face. As she and I softly cried together, Paityns clung to her dad’s back playing with his ears, as happy as can be. Maisyn was next to me wearing two tiaras now, wearing her Belle Princess dress and her pink rain boots. She was singing her ABC’s while eating more pasta(I’m not saying she’s my favorite child but when it comes to eating, she’s my girl!). The twins don’t understand it and I think that makes it harder. They ask each morning that Nick doesn’t get them up, where’s daddy? How long will it be of them asking before they get upset and throw a fit for him? How long will the tears of the oldest last when she doesn’t get to cuddle him at night? It’ll get worse before better. My heart hurts so bad for my girls but it hurts even worse for Nick. He’s going to be missing out on everything, for a long while. The girls are changing and developing so much at this age, they’re going to be completely different when he comes home. The sooner this starts the sooner it’s over.
Luke Combs wrote a song called Even Though I’m Leaving, the first verse is Nick and G to a T. He chases her monsters away. He protects her and is her safe haven. I know I can do it too, but I’m not her dad. Every girl needs her dad. How do I make this transition smoothest? The answer? There is no answer. It’s trial and error. Tears will be shed from both of us. How do you be strong for your children when you want to cry for them? I say it all the time, I’m fine. Nick compares me to Meredith Grey because I answer everything with “I’m Fine, I’m always fine”. No matter what’s thrown at me, I answer it the same every time. Maybe this time I won’t be fine, but for now I’m doing fine. The next few weeks please bare with me as we face this change, I’m not sure what to expect other than a lot of wine(probably should invest into wine stocks) and a lot of chick flicks. I luckily have an amazing support system and have taken time off to spend sometime with my girls. They need their mommy but their mommy needs them more.