We are mere days away from the two-month mark of this deployment, which feels like a significant milestone.
School has started and we’ve fallen into our “battle rhythm,” as Dave told me the other day when I described the way things were flowing by without too much effort. We’ve gotten through our first midnight-puking-child episode of the deployment (Susanna, the two-year-old — she came through fine); survived one morning being late to school (very stressful for my rule-following oldest child). Nora and Soren earned their Gold Belts in karate (a big deal because they had to be tested individually, got their blue jackets and moved into a new class).
Their dad’s absence has sunk in more than before, though. Nora told me one morning that she’d cried in her sleep the night before because she had a dream about how much she missed him. The kids have been mostly very cheerful, though. Kids are incredibly resilient. They chug along. They wake up and eat their breakfast and brush their teeth and chat happily on the way home from school and do their homework. I did send a brief note to each of my older kids’ teacher, though, just mentioning that their dad is deployed and that is why she won’t see him around until mid-January. It wasn’t that I wanted to make excuses for my kids or myself, but I do think it’s helpful for teachers to know when there’s something unusual going on at home, just to be attuned to it. (Also, with Dave never showing up, I get a little self-conscious that people will start saying, “Say hello to your ‘Navy husband’ for me,” making little air-quotes and snickering. I’m not delusional! He does exist!)
We don’t live in a military neighborhood, and we don’t know any other families with a parent on deployment (other than the other members of Dave’s unit), so we were eager to go to the EOD Group One family picnic this morning.
EOD stands for “explosive ordnance disposal,” and since coming to this community I’ve honestly found everyone to be hard-working and friendly, with a great sense of humor. There’s a slightly relaxed vibe with this group, unlike some of the more uptight Navy communities. Being in San Diego helps. 😉
Some of the technicians brought out their robots to do a little demo in the form of a “robot treasure hunt.” Kids could take turns controlling the robots, sending them to a kiddie pool to fish out prizes, and bringing them back.
Here’s Soren, getting a little delivery from the robot (a pair of sunglasses).
Soren got a laugh out of everyone during his turn: he got the robot to pick up about five different prizes in a big, tangled wad, brought them all over to Susanna, and dropped them in a heap at her feet. She chose the pink pony.
I was reminded how helpful it is to go to these kind of events, to chat with people and feel connected to your community. It’s got to be good for the kids, too. Even though only a small portion of the community is on deployment right now (so most of the children had dads around), I think my kids remembered that we are part of something bigger than just a weird job that makes us move every two years and sends their dad away from time to time.