The D word. Day 1

I always swear that I won't cry at send off. It's not helpful for me or the kids, I tell myself. We will play and laugh and hug. There will be no tears from me.

There were tears. When he pulled J in close to tell him to snuggle the baby he won't meet for months, there they were. When they called for five more minutes and suddenly it's real and you wonder how in the world to fit in half a year's worth of togetherness in five minutes, there were tears. Maybe the worst part is seeing the other families. Knowing this heart breaking feeling is far from your own, but is collective. There are newborns in the crowd. Some say they are "lucky." Dad got to see them being born. Spend a few days, maybe weeks with these new lives before they take off around the world. We all know that it isn't lucky though. That their Dads will come back and they'll have no earthly idea who they are. That they will learn about each other and bond then, not now. There are several very pregnant women in the crowd, including myself. Some of us have done this before. It doesn't really make it better. We know for sure what we're getting into. We know what it feels like 5 years later when your daughter recounts the story of her birth and reminds everyone that her Daddy wasn't there.

 But, we make it. We climb into the car, buckle four car seats carefully and watch as the buses drive away. We go home and try to have as normal a day as possible. Lunch and dinner, books and bedtime. We all know what the worst part of each other's day was so we don't ask at the dinner table. When the regularly scheduled witching hour rolls around we're not surprised that someone is crying for Daddy. Into my lap she goes. Tears soak into her blonde hair. "It's not fair." No, it's not. But this is what we do. This is who Daddy is. Tomorrow will be a new day. We make lists of things to do while he is gone. We think of things to send in his care packages. When the sun comes up the next morning I smile to see four little heads all in a row in my bed.