On Saturday mornings we FaceTime with daddy. Some days it goes well, some days the connection is horrible and we end up nothing but frustrated. I'm grateful for technology, but let's be honest-- nothing's the same as having the one you love here with you.
I have moved out of the crying-every-day stage, and the last two weeks life without Josh has felt "normal". I was telling him on the phone last night that as nice as it is to not cry everyday, I hate that going to bed alone feels normal. I hate that taking the twins to their baseball game alone feels normal. I hate that bedtime stories without Daddy feels normal.
In my low moments (I still have those occasionally... I had one last night...) I think of our brightly colored countdown chain and say to myself, "Who cares? It doesn't even matter. He'll come visit for a week, and then I'll just start this horribleness all over again."
But you know what? It's worth it. Even if every visit is followed by two or three weeks of crying... it will be worth it. To have him here.
To make memories with him, to see him with our boys, to hold his hand.
Right now we let daddy know we love him by sending him care packages. Boxes filled with sticker-covered notes from little boys and loafs of cheese. Packages with Seahawks gear lovingly picked out by his sports-loving son and tuna cause I hate that I'm not there to make his meals.
When he's here we can let him know we love him by hugging him (!), by spending time with him, and by sharing our life in Washington with him. We are all so excited by this prospect! Wyatt wants to take him to the movies. The twins want him to come to one of their games. I want him here for family movie night and at the pool when we swim on Friday night.
This time apart has not been easy for any of us. I don't imagine it's going to get any easier. (Especially after January when #4 has joined us...) But she is exactly what is going to have made this time apart worth it.
That daddy misses his boys,
and those boys miss their daddy...
But when baby girl makes her arrival safely, this time apart will have been worth every second.
To stay connected when he is gone, we talk on the phone everyday. I talk to him sometimes twice a day. The boys talk to him pretty consistently every night at bedtime. Wyatt likes to lay on his bed and rest the phone on his chubby cheek while he tells daddy about his day.
We also FaceTime, as I said, on Saturday mornings.
And in between, we send text messages. Lots of text messages.
Silly emoji messages,
messages painstakingly typed out by seven year old fingers,
pictures sent by an excited baseball mom,
and videos sent of our little shenanigans
(reading our first sentences, laughing with our brothers...)
For a period of time, Wyatt carried around a tiny Lego my sister created that looks just like Josh.
We call him The Daddy Lego, but Wyatt took to just calling him "My Daddy". So every once in a while he'll now ask, "Where's My Daddy?" and we all know he's talking about the tiny Lego guy with a baseball cap and jeans on.
My Daddy watched tablets with Wyatt, went to visit Nanny's house with Wyatt and even slept with Wyatt for a while.
The Daddy Lego made Wyatt so happy that I let it be. Sure, it was a strange attachment, and sleeping with little Legos isn't my idea of "comfort" but it got Wyatt through those first few tough weeks, and for that, I'm so grateful. Now My Daddy has joined the ranks of all other Lego guys, played with regularly, but returned to the box each night. I think he was Wyatt's version of the "cry-every-day-phase" and now he's moved on.
We both still miss daddy, sometimes more than others, but we don't feel it quite so acutely as we did in the beginning.
Other than missing him, I've spent a lot of the last two months contemplating how much more in love we are than the first time we lived apart.
The year was 2011.
Wyatt was 6 weeks old, the twins had just turned three, and my husband was leaving for our Alaska adventure while the rest of us stayed behind to wait for new teacher housing to be built. I look back on that time (ever grateful for God's infinite wisdom, and the baby he knew I'd need to keep me company in Josh's absence) and think "We barely even knew each other!"
It's a strange thought to have.
At that point, we'd been together 11 years, married for 8 and had three children! But it shows me how imperative our time alone in Alaska has been to our marriage. How challenging and strengthening our four years there have been to our relationship. Having only each other to lean on for much of those four years taught us to count on each other in ways that we never had before.
I think at that time (in 2011) I was very immersed in parenting (obviously! with three kids under three) and our relationship naturally took a back burner to the demands of our little boys.
This time (now 15 years into our relationship, 12 into our marriage and our fourth baby on its way), my parenting demands are less overwhelming. Still stressful, but less intense. And my closeness to Josh is immeasurable. My need for him (and his for me) has tipped the charts. It makes being apart so much harder. I can't decide if it's because I actually love him more, or if it's just that I'm less distracted by busy children and think about him more...
Either way, it feels good to feel more in love with my husband as the years have passed. Even if that new depth of love makes the days apart seem longer.