As the time draws near for me to deploy I am left with a slight problem: how do I explain to my two year old daughter that I have to leave for a very long time and may never come back? How do I explain to her that I am not leaving her because I don't love her any more? And how am I going to take being away from her for such a long time?
I didn't really know my daughter very well when I returned home from Iraq, as she was born shortly after I was boots to ground in country. I came to know her very well since I have been home, and I am doing my best to be the kind of parent God wants me to be. She has come to know me and love me very much since I have been home.
Whenever I have to leave for my drill weekend, or my Annual Tour she goes crazy looking for me. My daughter will ask her mother when I am coming home, or when she will get to see me again. Sometimes when I call her and my wife puts me on speaker phone my daughter thinks that I am trapped in the phone and cries because she can't get me out.
How much will she grow while I'm gone? How much more will she know? Will she still know who I am when I get home? Will she resent me for having to leave her? These are questions I really didn't ask before on my first deployment; even when I came home on leave she didn't really know who I was nor I who she was.
It breaks my heart that I have to leave her. It breaks my heart even more knowing that I might not come back to see her and play with her again. How broken will her heart be when I leave?