For those who aren't submariners or family members, patrols are about a three month period where Scott is basically out of touch. He isn't gone for a year or 15 months, like some deployments overseas. He's not even gone for six to nine months, like surface ships and their fleets. The biggest difference, in my opinion, is that we have no contact with him. I can send emails. They go out and might get to him, might not. He may or may not have a chance to send a quick note back. But, there are no phone calls, no regular contact via email or postal mail. And we're in the midst of a patrol now.
So, how did Scott and I prepare the kids for missing Dada?
Some families actually video tape bedtime stories or hello messages. We didn't do that, but we did get a recordable book called All The Ways I Love You, that Scott recorded for them. We read it twice the first night he left and several times since. Gracie and Tyler have each pulled it down on their own and read it. Jace hasn't, that I've seen, but he will go sit next to the other two when they're reading it.
We got a selection of cards for the kids to open up every week or so. They're in the "missing you" and "thinking of you" vein. Today we opened out first and it talked about sending a hug for every day of the week. The kids are saving up hugs now for Dada when he returns! Hope he's ready!
I got the kids "daddy" shirts to wear when they miss him.
Toughest job in the Navy"
|"My daddy plays in the water"|
|"Sailor's little girl"|
And, tonight, Jace and I made submarines for dinner. They were messy, but totally fun! Basically, I cooked up some link sausages and let them cool enough to touch. Jace mixed up some pancake mix, but didn't add all the liquid. We then smooshed the pancake mixture around the sausages and baked in the frying pan.
What do you think? We only made eight and they made the rest of the batter, with added water, into regular pancakes. The submarines were messy to make!
But they were totally fun to eat! Jace thought it would be fun to get a black edible marker and paint them black like a real sub and then write "730" on them! (The USS HENRY M. JACKSON is #730 and is Scott's boat.) I think he's quite creative, but I'm glad they're nicely browned and not black!
So, that's what we do...not too much, not too little. We talk about Dada all the time. We look at pictures and share memories about him, much the same way we do with Grandmas and Grandpas, Aunts and Uncles, cousins, friends. We have a lot of loved ones who don't live near us...we make them a part of our lives in little ways, even if they don't know it! We do the same for Scott. We joke about what he might be eating for lunch when we go to the mall and get Kataluma Chai shakes. We wonder if he gets to watch Dukes of Hazzard at night. And we make plans for when he gets back...hiking, playing choo choo, cuddling, reading books. Sometimes we laugh. Sometimes we cry. All of it's perfectly acceptable here.
We miss Dada. Nothing wrong with that! And there are lots of ways to miss him, but this is how we're doing it. How do you you handle your kids missing their loved ones?