Thursday, December 06, 2007

And We Hit a Wall

That's it. My daughter is done. Absolutely and completely done. She actually stood in our house today with her face straining to the roof and bellowed, "I just can't take it anymore!"

I sort of saw it coming. Sort of. You just never know with my daughter. A couple of days ago she told me that she only wanted one thing for Christmas. "All I want is for Daddy to come home."

There isn't much you can say to your child when all she wants is her Daddy back and there is no way he'll be out of Iraq and home in time for Christmas. I find that the straight answer works best. Not even Santa can bring Daddy home for Christmas. Daddy has to stay in Iraq.

Tonight's desperate episode all began when I sent her back to her room to redo her homework.

She stood on the stairs and took dramatic I-can't-believe-my-mom-is-so-mean breaths until I raised my voice. "Enough with the drama. Go!"

She was only gone a few minutes when I heard her desperate wail. Apparently, she just can't take it anymore. At first I didn't even realize what she was talking about. In bewilderment, I asked, "What can't you take anymore?"

"I can't take Daddy being away for one more day!" Then she burst into tears.

It's funny how she misses Daddy the most when Mommy is being mean. But she ran into my arms and sobbed and cried. What could I possibly say?

"I know, honey. I miss Daddy too, but he won't be back for a few more weeks and we have to just keep living our lives day to day."

"I know," she sobbed. "But you don't know what it was like at school today! I missed him so much so I put his picture on my desk. I didn't get in trouble but it didn't help!"

I let her cry it out for a while but my son struggles with that. He hurts to see her hurt and he tries in his own five-year-old way to help.

"Maybe Daddy will be back next week," he says. But I can't let that false hope fester.

"No, he won't, but maybe you could e-mail him."

"No, no," my son insisted. "I saw a big sign that said that a big group was coming home January 2. Maybe Daddy will be home then."

Never mind that he can't read yet.

None of the normal things we military moms do to help our kids with separations are working with her. She doesn't want to write him or send him anything. I'm not sure why. She has been so amazingly mature these last few months that I sometimes have to remind myself that she is only eight-years-old. She wants her Daddy. Nothing else will do.

I did the only thing I could think to do. I sent her to finish her homework.

My son summed up his own feelings then. "I miss Daddy too, but I don't get sad about it."

"Why is that, Buddy," I asked him.

"Because I have so many other people who love me too." He and I are a lot alike.

My daughter has struggled to fall asleep tonight. Her brain and her heart are in overdrive. And that's how she and I are alike.

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