Being a military family means dealing with deployments and separations. I feel extremely blessed that I have never had to give birth without my husband, but the poor guy has had to be away for a lot of our children's lives while they were babies. He deployed to Iraq when our oldest two were just 16 months and 4 months old and was gone for 15 months. You parents know that that is a time of EPIC changes in their lives. It's a pretty big thing to leave a 16 month old and come back when they are two and a half and even more so to leave a 4 month old baby who *just* started rolling, and come back to a toddler who is nearing two years old. He also had to leave to spend a year in Korea when our third baby was 9 months old. Our oldest was a late talker, so my husband has missed all three of them saying their first words and beginning to talk. When his contract with being on active duty ended, I was so relieved that the shadow of deployments wouldn't be something constantly hanging over us. I know the reserve and the guard deploy, too, but they aren't on constant year at home, year away or six months at home, six months away rotations like the active duty army is.
However, just because he isn't active duty, that doesn't mean that he never leaves. There's always that one weekend a month and the stint in the summer. Like I said in a previous post, it seems like as soon as my husband has to leave everything starts happening and even though this has been a MUCH shorter absence, the events inevitably unfolded as they always do. In addition to the poison ivy, me clogging up the kitchen sink and subsequently making a pipe pop off underneath and flood the cabinet, and the stomach bug that doesn't seem to want to go away, there was another big event. Hickory, my precious little 12 month old, took his very first steps this past Friday.
It was certainly exciting, especially since Hickory has had some health issues in the past that we were afraid might have cause permanent developmental damage, but it was heartbreaking that once again John was missing yet another one of his children take on a major life milestone. He was so frustrated and disappointed that these things always seem to happen, but he's such a good dad, and tries to make the most of the time that he does get to spend with the kids.
Did I mention he was also gone over Fathers' Day for the third time? He has also been away for many anniversaries, birthdays, and Christmases. These don't really phase me so much anymore. They are just days on a calendar, but I am really thankful that we live in an age of Skype and smart phones to be able to send videos like the one above. I've been blessed with a good man who takes being a provider very seriously and will do the hard jobs that others don't want to do in order to bless the rest of us. I know that the kids miss him a lot when he has to be away, but I'm glad that they get to see that their dad is a diligent, hard worker and that they can have that example. I pray that my boys would grow up to have the same strong work ethic and servant's heart that their father has.
I love you, honey!! Thanks for being so dang awesome and good lookin' to boot!