When Daddy is Away…and when He Returns!

Maci girl

As I have mentioned in previous posts, my husband works out of the country for 6 weeks at a time. He has had this job for 3 years now. It’s a tough situation for us all. Over the past year, things have been a lot more emotional for everyone involved. I want to try and share with you how we go about him leaving, how we stay in touch while he is gone, and how we greet him upon his return.

Since 2007, my husband has either been driving to another state for work for a minimum or 2 weeks at a time, or flying out of state or country. I have always dropped him off at the departures gates. I feel that the shorter the goodbye the better. It seems to be easier for us, and less emotional than trying to park, go inside and wait in line with him until its time for security check.

For the first year and a half, I would just drive up and pick him up outside. For the past year and a half, I have decided to park, put my daughter and enough food and toys or gadgets in the stroller and go inside and wait for him at the exit terminal. Orlando International Airport is like a mall. There are shops, a food court and enough things to keep us busy if his flight happens to be delayed or we get there too early.

The hard part was, after my daughter turned a year, she was terrified to say hello to him upon his return. It was heartbreaking for us both to see her like that. Sometimes it took a few days for her to warm up to him. Three returns ago she was “so-so” and was great by the next morning.Two returns ago she didn’t want to hug him, but she gave him smirks and held his hand to go in the elevator and outside. His return home a few days ago was a tear-jerker! I had been prepping her for days that he was coming home. While we were at the airport I kept asking her if she was going to give daddy a big hug and a big kiss when he got there. She repeated me, but I was not confident my almost 2 year understood what I was telling her…until he walked down that long hall towards us as he got off the tram. It took her a minute to spot him, I had to help her. I said “Look it’s daddy! Aren’t you going to go give him a big hug?” She hesitated, then slowly walked towards him and put her arms up to be picked up. She laid her head on his shoulder and gave him the longest, sweetest hug ever. I was nearly in tears and so was everyone around me. I could hear “awwww” coming from multiple people sitting around us. It was so relieving! He had a new toy in his hand waiting to give it to her as soon as he saw her. She hugged that thing all the way home. It was so cute! The entire ride home she would randomly say “Ha, daddy” in the cutest voice. She was definitely happy to see him this time, with only a slight hesitation.

What we do to keep in touch while he is gone, probably helps her a lot. We have all Apple products, and since we can text and face time over the internet, we try and do it as often as we can, and as often as his third world country internet allows. Sometimes it is a TERRIBLE connections. Make that a lot of the time. The other issue is he is 5 hours ahead of us in hours, so between poor internet,  him working and us doing what we do here, some days we aren’t able to FaceTime but I am at least able to text him daily to make sure everything is ok.  Since my daughter has started to become a chatter box and repeat and learn new words and phrases daily, she has learned what I mean when I tell her that we are going to go talk to daddy. Yes, she has her own iPad now that mommy got a new one this past Christmas. I turned the internet off, but she has learned not only how to turn that back on, but she has found FaceTime, and knows how to call daddy! I have many time received a text saying “Maci and I are talking”. I happened to either be doing dishes or cooking not realizing she had stopped playing her games on there to call daddy! I have also walked up because I heard her saying “talk daddy” and caught her calling him on FaceTime. Its amazing the things kids can learn to do! I have to take it from her by a certain time or he is awakened or has missed calls at 1am his time because she was trying to call him. She is able to talk to him, see him, hear his voice and even kisses the screen. I think doing this so often has helped more and more with his returns home. That and of course she is getting older and understands more.

Leaving…that’s a different story. To make things short, when he left 7 weeks ago…I did what I always do. Get out, hug and kiss and help him get his bags out. Then I open the door for him to say bye and kiss her while she stays in her car seat. Well, this last time she CRIED so hard. I know it totally broke his heart, and I shed a few tears as we drove away because I know she doesn’t understand, and she is SO attached to him when he is here. We may have to change our process of saying goodbye pretty soon…and maybe go inside but that is yet to be determined…

The Not-So-Single Mom

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