Category Archives: family

Week one with our daughter gone

The first two days we all felt like our daughter would be coming home any minute.

This reminds me of a death in the family. Then you realize that  person is not going to come home for a long time. You miss that person so much. Its painful, but we know it is temporary, but that does not make feel any better.

The morning after our  daughter left  my eldest granddaughter Ivie  was annoyed with her sister and started fighting. When I tried to talk to her she would not look me in the eyes, that’s  when I knew she was upset. After sometime in her room I went to speak to her. She would not look at me and then I deliberately bent down so she would look me in the eyes. And once she looked me in the eyes, she began to cry. I hugged her and told her I was sad also I began to cry with her. I shared with her that I too missed her mother especially because she is my daughter.

I believe you must be honest and share your true feelings even when it hurts to say it.

I think teenagers have a really tough time dealing with  a parent separation. Even though teenagers want to be on there own doing there own thing. But really they want to have their parent around, even if they don’t care for all the rules.

As for children in elementary school. My granddaughter told me she has to be brave. Just hearing those words makes me sad and proud how hard she is trying to adjust. I try and make an effort to really listen when she is talking.

Our military daughter says goodbye to her family

When my daughter Erin deployed 5 years ago and  said good bye to us , it was very different then today.

Five years ago, our daughter and her children came to our  home for Christmas, we all had a wonderful time together. The children then went to visit their father for a week,  since my daughter and he were divorced. Then when their visit was over my ex son in law brought the children to their home and I came and picked them up. We packed up our truck with our granddaughter’s personal belongs, drove to our home and the children came to live with us.

This time when I arrived at our daughter’s hoe it was 5 days before she was to leave. I helped my daughter and her family put up all their Christmas decorations. I think this helped my daughter feel she was a part of their Christmas, knowing she would not be with her family.

My daughter wanted all of us to go to the airport and see her off. I did not want to because I was afraid I would cry, I was trying to be strong for her. But I did go for her sake. The day before she left was  one of the hardest days for everyone of us. My daughter emotions were running high, not wanting to leave her family, and her family was trying to hard to be brave. I was warned by other military families the service member leaving will usually pick a fight with the family because this is a defense mechanism so they can leave their family, when they truly do not want to. But I knew what to do since I had attended Military Yellow Ribbon events. The secret was to not engage in the argument.

I had to reassure her children that the next day, their mother would be acting more like herself. Which was exactly what happened. the next day she was her old self.

The day she was to leave we all got in the car.We did not talk, we could not think of any thing to say. Which was so strange for all of us being so quiet. Once we arrived at the airport and Erin checked in with the ticket agent. She told the Alaskan airline ticket agent she was leaving and could her family go to the gate with her. The ticket agent was so supportive and gave us passes to the gate.

We walked to the gate and waited with her to board the plane. She took pictures of her with her children and husband on her Iphone. The  final call for boarding plane was announced , she looked at me and we tried not to cry.  We hugged each other and she just said, “Thank you mom for everything”. I could not say a word, because I knew I would cry if I spoke. Then she hugged her children one by one. Her children began to cry and my daughter started to cry. She hugged her husband and he whispered in her ear. She turned and began walking down the gateway. She turned around  several times whipping her tears and waving goodbye.

I could not hold back my tears. I broke down crying.   We  embraced each other. Everyone at the gate watched us and knew how painful this was for us.

I think this was harder than before, but it was good for all of us to lean on one another.

Say goodbye is hard for everyone. I think this did help our granddaughters face the reality of their mother having to leave.


How to prepare children for major life changes

I never knew how different military children were until  our granddaughters lived with us during their mom’s deployment.

When I was a kid my parents moved very often. They just liked to move and experience new surroundings. When I graduated from high school I had been to 13 schools. People would ask me” Is your dad in the military?” I never really thought about it until my granddaughters came to live with us.

My parents would tell me we were going to move about 2 weeks before the move. It was hard saying good bye to my friends and teachers. I hated being the “new girl” in school. But I made an effort and made friends quickly. I can say today I don’t have a problem going to events where I do not know anyone.

My daughter prepares her to her children for months in advance. She take about the possibilities of future moves. She would tell them if you were to go live with grandma and grandpa you will be able to go to my elementary school. You would have your own bedroom and live in the house I grew up in. And instead of only seeing your grandparents once a year on vacation you can live with them. So when  our daughter actually deployed  our granddaughters we prepared. They had thought about living with us.

The only problem with this preparation is the children can worry about the separation from their parent. They can become anxious and worry about when that time comes.

My granddaughters did adjust very quickly to living with us. Knew we had rules to follow and the these new rules would be different from their mother’s. they accepted they had to follow new rules and never argued about what our rules were compared to their home.

With our daughter’s future departure just around the corner my granddaughter’s household rules will change. My granddaughter’s are now preparing for those changes and I am too. Thinking about how I can help them when I plan on staying with them once a month.

Looking back at our last deployment  I do think it’s better to prepare a child for separation, like my daughter is doing. It maybe hard knowing my daughter will be leaving ,but adjusting to our new environment I think will be a lot easier.