Michael has been deployed for a couple months now, and we've finally found a good groove. Our days have a good flow to them, and I feel like these summer days may fly by. But we're definitely missing our lost family member.
We're lucky to be able to talk to Michael a few minutes each day which helps keep our lives from feeling too separate. This has helped Evie tremendously during this first deployment because he still feels like a constant presence in our lives. He may be halfway around the world, but Evie can still see his face every day.
Deployments affect children the hardest.
A massive understatement if there ever was one. Her friends Daddies are gone too which is sort of a silver lining because they talk to each other about the deployments. It helps that Evie's friends are a year or two older because they can comprehend the absence a little better than she does. It is the sweetest yet most heart-wrenching thing to listen to them talk amongst themselves about missing their Daddies. The children didn't sign up for this life, but it will affect them tremendously nonetheless.
Evie has been coping with the deployment very well. Better than I had anticipated, actually. It's not that she doesn't miss Michael. I think it's more that she handles change very well. She knows that he's off working on airplanes, and that he's "far, far away". She knows that he'll be coming back one day.
When she talks about her Papa, you know that he's her hero. I asked her if he was a Superhero, and she gave it serious consideration. I could see the wheels turning in her little head as she tossed the idea around. She even started to agree, that yes he was a superhero. But then she decided that since he doesn't have a cape, there's no way. And besides, superheros don't wear hats. Duh, Mom.
But she did concede that he is a hero even if he hasn't been granted super status. And it's obvious that she believes this wholeheartedly if you listen to her talk.
Her Papa can accomplish anything. I can't find the outdoor push broom? "My Papa will find it when he gets home." Her doll's head fell off? "My Papa will fix that when he gets home." I tell her that drinking her pool water will make her sick. "That's okay. Papa will give me medicine and make me all better when he gets home."
I'm not sure whether to feel offended that my daughter thinks I can't do anything by myself or just smile because she has unending trust that her Papa can do absolutely anything.
Not to mention all the fun things that Evie will get to do when Michael returns. "I get to go to preschool when Papa gets home." And "I'm going to show Papa the butterfly garden when he gets home" since she absolutely loved the Botanica gardens we visited last week--especially the butterfly house.
I may be the one cuddling her while we watch her favorite movies, playing Barbies for hours, and tucking her in at night, but I am not her Papa. No one can ever fill the place of a little girl's hero.