Last week when I told Reece we were going to the airport to pick up daddy he didn’t seem to believe me. Even the night before I said to him, “In the morning we get to go get Daddy!” to which he shrugged it off and said “okay, goodnight mommy.” It was a bit sad but I figured when he saw Kyle his whole demeanor would change. Thank goodness it did.
We brought daddy home and Reece was glued to him like flies on a garbage can. There was no peeling him away. Reece wanted to show daddy this and that and wanted to involve him in EVERY move he made the rest of the day. Luckily Kyle had the following day off of work so Reece got to spend even more time with his hero.
But the first day back to work was hard. Kyle went to PT and came home just as the kids and I were eating breakfast. Reece didn’t even know he had left. Then Kyle showered, put on his uniform and eventually left. Reece was a little unhappy with daddy walking out the door but I wasn’t prepared for how much he would ask for him throughout the day. Every few minutes, “Daddy at work?” which I would answer “yes” then, “Daddy’s not coming home.” And I would have to explain to him that it was a regular work day and in just a few hours daddy would be coming home. I tried to set up a time for me to bring Reece to Kyle’s office so he could see daddy wasn’t away but his work day was so busy there just wasn’t any time.
I figured this was a little hurdle in an otherwise smooth TDY (Temporary Duty) and transition back to normal and so far it has been. A few nights after Kyle got back we decided on pizza for dinner so I placed the order then grabbed my keys, shoes, and Kylee to pick it up. Kyle was cutting the grass as Reece played outside so I figured I would leave them and Kylee and I would go on our own. Reece saw what I was doing and said he wanted to go so without a thought I loaded him up into his seat, then Kylee.
Suddenly Reece started screaming for daddy! When I asked him what was wrong he screamed/cried to me that we couldn’t leave daddy home. Kyle wasn’t going to go (he was still cutting the grass) so I unbuckled Reece and told him I would be back soon. That was too much for him too. Kyle and I explained to him what was happening ten different ways but still he wanted both parents and his sister to ALL go together.
After five full minutes of crying and us explaining to him that I would be back if he stayed and that daddy would still be there when he returned if he went Kyle finally gave up and told me to just go. I hopped in the driver’s seat and took off. Kyle says he cried the entire time I was away saying “Mommy and Kylee left me!”
He has gotten a little better about one of us leaving but still gets noticeably concerned until we are all together again. Kyle and I have decided that we can no longer call his TDYs “work” because it freaks Reece out that daddy is going to “work” on regular days; it confuses him. We have started calling them “missions” in hopes that Reece will be able to prepare himself and know the difference when daddy is on a mission and when he is at work for a normal day. We keep reassuring him that we will always be together and no matter how long daddy has to go away for he will come back. This is turning out to be one of the biggest hardships of military life that we have had to face as a family.
Sadly, we are quickly preparing Reece for another mission that Kyle will be going on in the very near future. We have started talking to him this afternoon about the upcoming trip and all the changes that comes with it. We are looking for a global map so we can track where Kyle is going/has been, setting up a calendar so we can mark the days, filling a jar of Hershey Kisses for nightly kisses from daddy, and keeping up with his routine to make the transition as smooth as possible. I can do my best when it comes to reassuring him (and soon Kylee) but there is only so much that I can do, they are going to feel what they are going to feel and all I can do is be there to comfort them.