Emotions and Gunk

What a day. It was a doozy. No – It was BRUTAL.
Deployments suck no matter what. When separated from the one you love and you don’t know where they are, can’t talk to them whenever you feel like it  – it just plain sucks.
It sucks it sucks it sucks.
But you work, you keep busy, you hang with friends, workout, shop, try new recipes, travel – do what you have to do to pass the time. And the time does pass. Homecoming FINALLY arrives and bliss returns.
Then you add kids to the mix and it’s just a whole other deal. This is my first deployment with kiddos and I was so unprepared. I knew it would be hard, but I was completely unprepared for the emotional aspect of watching the kids miss their Daddy terribly, not fully understanding why the heck Daddy can’t be with them, and I can’t do a damn thing about it. I can’t be Daddy. I can’t hug them and make them feel better. I can’t fix it.
And as a mom, that’s all I want to do. That’s my job.  I’m the kisser of boo-boos and it makes it all better. I can’t kiss their little hearts when they are missing daddy. And it breaks mine.
We’ve been meeting with a counselor from FOCUS – an organization that teaches resiliency/coping techniques to military families. I have to say – it has done so much for us. They’ve given us tools that help us all articulate and normalize feelings.  For Jacob this has been so beneficial.
While this program is awesome and I’m so glad to be able to take advantage of what it has to offer, the flip side is that I am more aware of how this separation affects the kids. (And instead of staying busy, I’m having to deal with all this gunk.) Basically it’s emotional hell. It goes back to the frustrating helpless feeling. I’m the mom, but I can’t make it better. The only thing I can do is teach coping skills and normalize big scary feelings.
Before we even got out of bed this morning, Jake was dreaming about Daddy. He does this often and it makes me smile that at least he gets to play with him in his dreams. But this morning he said someone was “shooting daddy”. Not quite sure where he picked that up. And then later in our session with the counselor he expressed his fear that Daddy wasn’t “safe” that he might be “killed”. Didn’t even know he knew that word. Through play he also expressed that he was scared that Daddy wasn’t going to come back.
This is just so hard.
I don’t have any answers for him. I don’t know which magic words to use that make his fears go away. All I can do is trudge through the days with him as best I can. We talk about his fears and feelings, and discuss how we can get back to feeling okay and happy again. I hope I’m teaching him coping skills that he’ll use throughout his life. I guess that’s all I can do – model for him healthy ways to deal with life. That and pray for guidance and know that I’m doing the best I can do.

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