Monday, June 13, 2011

sorry, little girl, I'm not your daddy.

Mommy can’t be daddy.

That is one of the lessons I learned while he was in Iraq.  I had plenty of help; friends and family, and only one kid to chase (while I grew another one.)   But the soldier-shaped hole was obvious, and hardest for me to bear when I saw it near my little girl.

She said her first words, but not to daddy.
She had her first birthday, but daddy did not get a piece of her cake.
Every “first” from about 10months to 20 months, was shared with mommy.  Mommy took pictures and videos and sent frequent reports to daddy, but none of that filled the empty spot in our home. 

Who else cares about all the little details of this particular precious little girl?  Who else could possibly be so invested in her upbringing?  Who else would be willing to soundboard and problem-solve and work alongside me to bring up OUR child in the way she should go?

(For their part, both grandmothers put heroic effort into filling this empty spot, and their love helped tremendously.  Grandmas DO enjoy sharing the funny stories and hearing the details and problem-solving.  But even Grandmas cannot be daddies.)

Snapshots and snippets of our emails during this time:

Walking to the airport
Me: We just got back from our church group…. It is not easy to be around couples.  I miss you terribly.  It is easier when it is just me and Lorraine, but seeing my other friends as wives, not only as mothers, and other couples parenting together makes me ache so badly for you to be home and be part of our day to day life…And seeing Lorraine play with other men, even giving kisses when those kisses should be for you…. Only a few more months, right?  Please Jesus let it be so.

Him: It will be weird to have Lorraine talking when I come home – I hope she’s not too afraid of me.  I know she’s able to recognize me now and all, but it might be frightening for her to have me there in real life.  I hope not.

Read me a book daddy!
Me: She’s been yelling “DADA!” for the last hour and walking around with your picture!
Every night when you read her the “daddy book,” we read the words, “A daddy goes to work… and hugs you when he comes home.”  I’ve been telling her that you give your hugs through mommy right now, but when you get home you’ll give her the biggest and best hug EVER.

And this-- my dear husband’s constant pointing to the love of God for our family and his consistent eternal perspective—this amazed me.:

Him: It is very difficult for me to think of Lorraine growing up while I am away…  God does console my aching soul however with the knowledge that we will be together for eternity in His presence.  Baptism is such a wonderful gift from God… a sign and seal of His love… and a particular gift to parents.

God will keep you safe even if I cannot, dear child.

The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. 57But thanks be to God,who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.

 58Therefore, my beloved brothers, be steadfast, immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, knowing that in the Lord your labor is not in vain.

1 Corinthians 15:56-57

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