My Darling Girls, A Letter on the Eve of Homecoming

My Darling Girls,

I know you’ve had it rough.  The last five months have been so hard.  Everything was starting to settle down after Baby’s blessed entrance into our family.  Life was starting to fall into a routine again.  Then, Daddy got orders.  And before we could catch a breath, he was gone.

And your hearts were shattered.  You didn’t understand.  You were so angry.  You cried for hours at night, and haven’t slept through the night since he left.  We have endured a kidney infection, pneumonia, croup, severe dehydration.  There were two hospital admissions that split us up, and countless doctor’s visits.  We had to vacate the house many times for hours each time while you all were sick, so they could break a hole in our wall and fix a busted pipe.  The same busted pipe that made the house wreak of sewage for months. Strangers walked through our house for days fixing the damage.  You watched your best friends pack up and move away right after your father left.  Your hearts were broken, your family split up, and your health compromised.

But, I hope someday, my darling girls, that you remember this time. And when you do, I hope you smile.

I hope you smile because you did it!  You survived it!  We thought we caught a break with a short deployment.  Instead, we had to earn it.  You suffered greatly in so many ways.  But you did it!  Someday, when life is hard for you and you are tired, you will look at me and say, I can’t do this, Mom.  And I will say, Yes you can, because you’ve done it before.  Despite the struggle and the suffering, you are more resilient.  No, rather, because of it.  Because of the suffering and the struggling and the sacrifice at such a young age, you are resilient.  Stronger, braver.  I hope someday, you remember all that you have walked through and smile.  Because you make me proud.

I hope you smile, too, because we did it.  We took the negative and the suffering and made some beautiful memories.  Between all the hospital runs and sick days, we had some wonderful times.  We packed into the van one early Saturday morning, and had a picnic after feeding the ducks.  We rode the train at the zoo.  We stayed up late for fun , and woke up early to snuggle.  We danced and sang at the top of our lungs.  We took a road trip to Dallas, and had a blast!  We spent late evenings at the pool, and danced up and down the sidewalk in the rain.  We played at the park and jumped into the pool in our clothes.  We rolled around the floor, laughing until we were crying.

We made joy.  We made glee.  In spite of the deployment and all the wounds this one tried to inflict, we fended them off with unadulterated happiness. There were moments when all the stress and sadness fell away and there was just the four of us, laughing.   I felt such happiness in those moments and I wanted it to last forever.

I hope you remember how Mommy could never have survived this without you.  I could never have kept moving forward if I didn’t have your faces and smiles to move towards.  Our prayers together, our life together–it kept me going, it made me feel alive.

I hope you remember.  I know you won’t.  You are so young.  You will forget every thing we’ve done.  All you will know are the stories I’ll tell you and the pictures you’ll see.  But the love and laughter will live on in those precious photos.  In those precious stories.

But, you will remember how much I love you.  You will remember how much I cherish and treasure you.  Because these moments, these adventures will not end when the deployment does.  We will just gain a face in them.  

Because your Daddy is coming home.  

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