This was written years ago and I still get emails about it when people stumble upon it. Our daughter is now 9 1/2 and her Sailor Dad is wrapped around her finger still. I’m sharing it again by the request of a few readers.
My daughter is a Daddy’s girl. She is a pixie of a girl who turned six this year. She is my mini me. She walks like me, talks like me, and looks like me. On some days it scares me to death and on other days I find nothing but laughter and joy. My Husband is already worried about boys, dating, and the thought of her growing up. She has my eyes and stubbornness. She is a handful on every level. I can only blame myself. This little girl follows her Dad every where. She asked to go with him on his most recent deployment, explaining that she could be his “helper”. She talks about her Dad every day. She draws pictures, writes notes to him and asks over and over, “when will Daddy be home?” But the other night, this little girl who turns my world upside down on a daily basis made me speechless.
I go in to check on her like I do every night. It’s late, my nine-year old son is sound asleep and I find my daughter holding her “Daddy Wish Bear”. She has a few stray tears running down her face. I ask if she is OK. She says, “No”. She then puts her hand over her chest and says, “Mommy, there is something wrong with my heart.” I asked, “What do you mean? Are you OK?” She replies,” I was wishing with my Daddy Bear (see Daddy Wish Bear Article) and Daddy makes my heart “beep” (She says beep, instead of beat.) really fast and it hurts.” I asked her again where it was hurting, and she said that her heart “moved up” and it hurts. She was pointing to the base of her neck. My eyes swelled up and I too had that feeling. I realized that she was talking about the feeling you get when you are “all chocked up”. Your chest and throat tighten and you physically hurt. She said that she couldn’t make it stop. I explained that her heart hurts because she misses her Dad, and that when we love someone so much, it’s hard to be apart. “I don’t like it”, she replied.
I offered to sing to her and rub her head, promising that the pain would get better if I did. So, I sang to her our own version of “You are my Sunshine” and she fell right asleep. I couldn’t hold back the tears once I knew she was asleep. I hadn’t really cried since my husband deployed. I’ve been too busy to cry. But this moment knocked me right out of my safe place and into reality. I sat on her bed that night questioning the life we have and how my little girl who is only six knows what heartache feels like. I know that there are other Mom’s who have questioned the very same thing. This is one of the hardest parts of deployments for us as Mothers. We can’t stand it when something is hurting our children and we can’t fix it. We can be a positive influence. We can distract our kids and keep them busy. We can love them with all our heart, but at the end of the day we can’t stop the heartache. We can only console them and tell them how much they are loved, missed and adored. I know that my husband is doing the right thing by serving. He loves his job and I support him whole heartily. But, I won’t sugar coat it. Even though most days are great, some days are near unbearable.