Saturday, June 01, 2013

Children and Deployment

January 15, 2013

One of the biggest things I have worried about with this deployment is how it will affect my children.

Will they fail in school?

Will they withdraw from activities?

Will they resent their daddy for serving God and country?

Will the baby remember his daddy?

Will I be the parent I need to be for them?

Will they worry and be scared?

The list goes on.  If you know me, you know how much I love my children, and my biggest fear is that I will screw up big time with them. 

I have to say that two months into this deployment, they are doing well.

Colin is an emotional child. He wears is heart on his sleeve.  He had an extremely hard time at first. So bad, in fact, that he was almost depressed.  We had to have several talks about how it is ok to miss Daddy and be sad, but we can't mope around and let it affect our activities. I explained to him how awful he would feel if he continued with that attitude and how his daddy would feel knowing he was so miserable. I let Colin know to talk to someone, anyone, when he became sad or upset.  He has such a large support system between family, church family, and school.  Our assistant principal has been so good to him through this whole thing and has offered to talk with him anytime.  Colin got out of his funk.  He will let me know when he misses his daddy, and we will talk about it and pray about it. He tried spending the night with a friend one night and called home homesick.  I felt so bad for him.  That is so unlike him.  I was proud of him for being open about his feelings though. 

Carson is SO different than Colin. He does NOT talk about his feelings whatsoever.  I have to watch him carefully.  When Colin was away at Space Camp he became depressed and basically didn't want to do anything but sit at home.  He is a homebody by nature (like his mama), so I have to encourage him to do things. He is involved in scouts, but was sick the last few meetings.  When he misbehaves, I try to remember that he expresses his feelings through his actions.  I have to ask him occasionally how he feels, what's on his mind, things like that. Otherwise he wouldn't talk about it. 

Carter on the other hand is buck wild. Always. He really doesn't know what is going on.  He loves looking at pictures that Jeff sends. He knows the sound of Skype starting on the computer and recognizes the noise from Jeff calling on Skype. He also knows what text messages sound like coming in.  When he hears those noises, Carter immediately wants to know if that is Daddy or he will tell me it is Daddy. 

The kids (and me) love Skype.  Colin likes to take over the laptop.  Carter likes to show off. Carson likes just knowing his daddy is there although he doesn't participate much in the conversations.  He likes to be in the background.  Different personalities means different ways of communication. 

I am proud of my boys. They have continued to do well in school. Colin made Principal's List (all A's) the second quarter of school. Keep in mind this is when we learned Jeff would deploy, then not deploy, then deploy, and he left. This was also the time we were all sick, and we had Thanksgiving and Christmas. It wasn't easy for any of us, but they have done great. Carson is excelling too.  He is continuing do well in school, doing second grade (or higher) work as a first grader.

One thing I have tried to do is keep things consistent.  Being the Sunday school teacher for my class at church has helped with our attendance at church.  Some mornings it would be so easy to stay home, but I know I have that commitment. I also have my commitments as nursery coordinator and worker.  I coached Colin's robotics team which took a lot of time after school.  He has continued with chorus and academic team as well.  Now he is getting involved in STLP.  Carson just likes to hang out.  He wants to be at home doing what he likes to do. He has been going to some scout meetings. We don't have a lot of down time, and I think that is a good thing.  We have our evenings and weekends for homework and family activities.

Being able to communicate with Jeff through Skype, email, and texting has been good for the boys as well.  They have been able to see that he is ok and have some time telling about what all they have been doing.  Christmas break really spoiled us because we were able to Skype EVERDAY for at least an hour or more.  Getting back into our routine was a little rough, but we made it.  The boys used their (and my) Christmas money to purchase an iPad. Colin's email is set up on there so he is able to email Jeff on his own.  We have been very blessed with how much we've been able to "talk" to Jeff. That has helped a lot.

We still have at least 4 more months to go.  Until Jeff walks through the door, the boys (mainly Colin) will continue to countdown the days with their M&M jar.  It started out looking like this...

Now, it is looking like this....
I guess you can say, "An M&M a day brings our Soldier home!"

I am proud of my boys. They are doing well. They are staying focused. They are being (pretty) good. They are praying daily for their Daddy. 

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