Reunion time with the family is quickly approaching, so I find my mind wandering towards how awesome my kids are, and how much fun we’re going to have, and how I’m never going to have to yell at them because of how super duper awesome they are…
In reality, I know things are going to work differently than that, but it doesn’t stop my mind from traveling down the path. I constantly remember all the great times we’ve had. I’ll think about rolling around on the floor and tickling them just to hear them giggle. I recall starting a movie just to fall asleep with a kid in each arm.
With all these memories, there’s no room for the less pleasant parts of parenting. Apparently, I’ve never had to punish them or sit up with them all night while they were sick. Of course, that’s not the case, but good luck getting my selective memory to believe it.
I found out earlier this morning that I’m not the only one with this affliction. Little Dude appears to have it as well.
One of the things that made preparing for this departure easier for me was the thought that Little Dude was too young to really understand. He knew that I was leaving for awhile, but at 3 years old, there’s no way he would have a conceptual understanding of how long 7 months was. It turns out that I was wrong, and he knew exactly what was happening. It made it impossibly difficult to leave.
The positive flipside to this story, however, is that he also understands how soon we’ll be back together, so he’s getting extremely excited. Every time I talk to him, he tells me how close it is and how he can’t wait to see me again. He’s put me on some sort of “Amazing Daddy” pedestal, and it’s become obvious that he only remembers the positives as well.
While video chatting on the computer this morning, he said something that was rather rude, so I said his name in the stern “parenting voice” that we all know and love. He instantly ran away from the computer and started crying.
When he came back a few minutes later, you could almost see the thoughts of betrayal in his eyes. “This is daddy. He’s always fun. He never yells or gets disappointed.”
It honestly broke my heart, but it reminded me of something that I wrote over a year ago. As awesome as they are, reunions are one of the most difficult things about being a military family. You really have to manage your expectations and remember that it’s not going to be all rainbows and puppies.